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Man convicted of animal cruelty prohibited from owning animals for 3 more years

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 - 12:59 PM
Man convicted of animal cruelty prohibited from owning animals for 3 more years
MIKE GLEASON, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/15/2008 03:05:25 AM EST

Bennington Banner
Saturday, November 15
BENNINGTON A New Hampshire man convicted of cruelty to animals in 2007 after 31 dogs were found in his bus had his probation ended in Bennington District Court on Thursday, with the proviso that he not own any animals until 2011.
Larry Mason, 54, was convicted in January 2007 for two counts of depriving animals of proper sanitation and one count of transporting the animals in an overcrowded vehicle. He was sentenced to four to 12 months, suspended except for five days on the work crew, and barred from owning animals for three years.

Judge John Wesley ended Mason's probation on Thursday, but issued an entry order that continues Mason's prohibition from dog ownership. The order, set to expire on Feb. 26, 2011, also prevents Mason from being in possession of any animals.

Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage said the probation termination came as the result of a defense motion. She said her office did not oppose the motion, as she said the point of Mason's probation was to prevent him from owning animals.

Mason was cited in July 2006 for animal cruelty after police responded to a call about dogs being left unattended near the Top Notch Diner on Main Street in Bennington. When police responded, they found a school bus parked with 31 dogs inside, all owned by Mason. Another dog belonging to Mason was later found in a nearby forest.

Medical exams found the dogs were suffering numerous health problems a number of the dogs were emaciated, while some were said to have waste in their fur and still others had worms. Witnesses testified at trial that Mason's bus smelled strongly of animal waste.
Mason's defense argued that the bus had been cleaned that morning, and that the dogs were not kept in crates for long periods of time.

Shortly before Mason's trial, Judge David Howard ruled in a forfeiture hearing that Mason would have to give up the dogs, citing the condition of the housing for the animals.

Mason appealed his case to the Vermont Supreme Court, but his conviction, and the order to forfeit the animals, was upheld.

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