Accused dog abuser admits 'sufficient facts,' case continued without a finding
The man accused of leaving his dog to die outside of the Onset Water Department in January "admitted sufficient facts" at Wareham District Court on Thursday, April 18, and was ordered to pay a $90 victim witness fee.
East Wareham resident Dennins Murray, 72, was charged with one count of animal cruelty after he admitted to Chris Charbonneau, a law enforcement officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell, that he abandoned his poodle "after telling his family that he was taking the dog to the veterinarian," according to the MSPCA.
Murray's case was continued without a finding until April 16, 2015. If he does not get into any legal trouble before that date, the case will be dismissed.
"I understand the court's decision ... but we were disappointed," Charbonneau said, adding that Murray was "willing to plead guilty, but the judge denied the plea."
Charbonneau noted that the MSPCA wasn't asking for jail time, but did seek restitution for those who cared for Chara.
Medical care for the approximately 13-year-old poodle, named "Chara" by her foster family, has cost more than $1,000, and she will likely be on antibiotics every day for the rest of her life, said Onset firefighter Rachel Rawlings, whose family took Chara in after the incident.
Rawlings, too, was disappointed.
“I’m very disappointed in the court, but not overly surprised. ... The atmosphere in the court wasn’t conducive to justice. That’s what I felt like," Rawlings said, but added that she's happy the dog is now safe. "She’s spoiled rotten. She’s loved. She’s cared for.”
Chara was found shivering and whining outside the Onset Water Department. Water Superintendent Paul Bokoski brought her inside and warmed her, and employees took her to the vet.
She was covered in fleas, blinded by cataracts, and nearly deaf from an infection that started in her mouth and packed her ears. Her nails were so long that they curled under the pads of her feet, preventing her from walking. She had to undergo surgery to remove her teeth.
"This man took this dog, threw it in the snow bank, and left it basically to die," said Charbonneau. "I'm still amazed that dog survived the night."
Rawlings received some donations for Chara's care and wanted to thank those who helped.
“I’m very grateful for those who have stepped up to help," she said, and encouraged that anyone else who would like to donate instead give to an animal shelter. “Animal shelters are suffering so much right now because of the economy."