Wareham man, former Animal Control Officer charged in separate animal cruelty cases

By Jaime Rebhan | Apr 06, 2013
Photo by: Jaime Rebhan Dennis Murray of Wareham is accused of abandoning this pup outside the Onset Water Department on a cold January day.

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.”

Comments (14)
Posted by: Peaches0409 | Apr 06, 2013 10:41

Mr. Murray, Your kids must be so proud! Someone should chain you up in the freezing cold and leave you there. This guy should NEVER be allowed to own another pet!  Heartless! As for you Ms. Nelson, aren't you supposed to help animals? You let your dog suffer like that? When your pet looks like a skeleton it's time to go to the Vet! Moron!

Posted by: Joe Singleton | Apr 06, 2013 13:11


See you at the Court House!!

Posted by: totellthetruth | Apr 06, 2013 19:33

This story broke on The Boston news Thursday. It was on Fox Tv and channell5 Thurs. and Fri. A.M.  Where ya' been Jaime? on vacation?

Posted by: joycebakes | Apr 07, 2013 06:54

Dreadful, horrible person! 

But I have to say that the next thing that came to mind is, 'This may explain the non-pet friendly, total lack of tolerance in the dog laws which are up for vote.  Twenty minutes tolerance of barking during daylight hours?  I have waited longer to complain at 3 A.M. about a loud party!  I ask you, is this even enough time to let a dog in the yard while getting babies and groceries out of the car and into the fridge?  No dog parks, nowhere dogs are welcome, crime up... Why not do something to increase responsible pet ownership?  Everyone has a dog and I agree noise can be a problem, but try a little humanity for those of use whose best friend is a dog.

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Apr 07, 2013 07:41

Unfortunately, ToTellTheTruth, I cannot publish information such as this until I can confirm it myself. In this case, it took a couple (frustrating) days of phone tag... only to find that the MSPCA had sent a press release out and we weren't on the list. (Even though we've just begun year 4... there are some folks we don't communicate with often, and still need to get on their release lists.)


My apologies to all for the delay. I broke little Chara'a story right after it happened, and I am disappointed that I wasn't first with new information!


Vacation? I wish! :) That's next month. Don't miss me too much. ;)


Have a lovely Sunday, everyone! And thanks so much for reading and participating on WarehamVillageSoup!




Posted by: barnstorm | Apr 07, 2013 08:22

Thanks for your tireless investigation on this story, Jaime. Doesn't matter who gets it out 1st, but  who gets it right. Disturbing to see two individuals hired to protect animals act in this manner. True justice would be for them to suffer exactly how those pets suffered as "P...0409" points out. And if those two "losers" have children who may have suffered abuse as well! Enjoy your vacation, Jaime.

Posted by: Luke Duke | Apr 07, 2013 17:17

Wow, disgusting... A big thank you goes out to the Wareham animal control for catching these people!!!  TTTT you are as rude now as you were on the hate site.,  Go back to the go nowhere site where you were and belong.   I too drank from the Kool aid but was able to nurse myself off it, never to return.  Thanks Wareham Week for being a credible news source.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Apr 07, 2013 20:04

 Luke Duke:  What happenned there buddy? Did you bump your head one time to many jumping through the open windows of the General Lee, with its welded shut doors?

 One of the persons charged WAS the former Wareham Animal Control Officer! The investigation was conducted by  Officer Charbonneau , of the MSPCA. I didn't see anything rude at all in my previous Post. Just stating facts and asking a question. Furthermore the question was directed at Jaime, evidently she didn't perceive any rudeness there or I'M sure she would have let me know.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Apr 08, 2013 17:31

I don't believe I am rude in any way JB.  You however go over the edge repeatedly and have lost all credibility with me.  Never fear though, you aren't the only one.  There are many more like you.


Have a splendid day.

Posted by: justin beiber | Apr 08, 2013 18:17


You may be one of the nastiest posters on this site.

What sets you apart is your refusal to own up to your ugly deeds.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Apr 08, 2013 18:19

ok, Whatever you say JB.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Apr 08, 2013 18:34

Rudeness is as rudeness does. Thats kind of like the Pot calling the Kettle purple. Don'tcha think J.B.?

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Apr 08, 2013 18:38

JB, why do you think anyone cares about your opinion of who is or isn't rude? You NEVER have anything good to say. Pardon me if you find that rude. Most people posting here know who I am as the owner on the other site "outed" me. Like a real journalist would ever do that! Not that I wouldn't say aything I type here right to your face. Nobody knows who you are which in my book makes you a coward. You talk tough behind your keyboard.

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Apr 09, 2013 07:37

Your comment was deleted, Justin, because it used profanity.


I have deleted it again. If you'd like it to stay on the site, post it without swearing. It's really that simple.


I'd spend all of my working hours moderating comments if I had to spend time considering whether someone might find a particular post "rude." (And I can think of many of your own comments, Justin, that would fall into that bucket.)


I don't think that's a good use of my time, and I think my publisher and most readers would agree. I'd much rather be covering the news.


Alternatively, why don't we all work on being nice to each other? Many of you have introduced yourself to me "in real life," if you will, and you're very polite. Why can't we all work on cleaning up the comments?


As always, thanks to all who read and participate. If anyone would like to discuss this further, tell me, and we'll grab coffee sometime. I'll buy. It'll be a much more productive conversation with caffeine, I feel! :)





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