Wareham man, former Animal Control Officer charged in separate animal cruelty cases
A Wareham man accused of leaving his dog to die outside the Onset Water Department on a cold winter morning, as well as a former Wareham Animal Control Officer, have been charged with felonies in separate cases of animal cruelty.
Dennis Murray, 72, is charged with 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.
The approximately 13-year-old poodle, named "Chara" by her foster family, was found shivering and whining outside the Onset Water Department on one of the coldest days in January. Water Superintendent Paul Bokoski brought her inside and warmed her, and employees took her to the vet.
Chara 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.
The pup is currently staying with Onset firefighter Rachel Rawlings, whose children named her after the 6'9" Bruins hockey player Zdeno Chára. (Her stature certainly isn't that big — but her personality is!)
Murray will be arraigned in Wareham District Court on April 18.
In a separate case, former Wareham Animal Control Officer Anna Nelson, 51, is also charged with animal cruelty for "failing to provide veterinary care for her diseased and emaciated dog," according to the MSPCA.
The dog had to be euthanized.
The MSPCA said the health of Nelson's 10-year-old terrier mix had declined over a period of several months.
"A veterinary evaluation revealed the dog was suffering from an undiagnosed disease and was severely underweight, such that his ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones were all protruding," the agency said.
Withholding care is a violation of the state's animal cruelty law.
Nelson will be arraigned in Wareham District Court on April 24.
“These cases are especially tragic as the suffering and pain endured by these two dogs was 100 percent preventable had they only been seen by a veterinarian," Charbonneau said in a statement. "It’s encouraging to see both cases moving forward and I’m confident that justice will be served on behalf of the dogs.”