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Woman Pleads Guilty in Animal Cruelty Cases

Posted on Jan 28, 2009 - 6:00 PM
Rutland Herald
Article published Jan 28, 2009

Woman pleads guilty in animal cruelty case
12:25 p.m.
Staff Report

A Hubbardton woman charged with two counts of animal cruelty after law enforcement officials removed more than 100 animals from her farm pleaded guilty and was sentenced to an eight-year deferred sentence Wednesday.

Suzanne M. Hegarty, 49, was spared potential jail time and was even allowed to keep some of her animals as part of a plea agreement reached with the Rutland County State's Attorney's Office.

Hegarty was charged with two misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals after a Vermont Fish & Wildlife warden found animals in various stages of neglect, including a dead goat, while assisting a horse stuck in a fence on Hegarty's Monument Hill Road property in November.

More than 100 animals, including horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, birds and others were taken from Hegarty's property to the Rutland County Humane Society and Spring Hill Horse Rescue after the discovery. The majority of those animals were surrendered by Hegarty and have since been adopted.

As part of the plea agreement, Hegarty must abide by a number of strict conditions, including prohibitions on the breeding of animals, requirements that she spay and neuter the animals she is allowed to keep, monthly veterinarian checks for the 17 animals she is allowed to keep and mandatory mental health counseling.

She must also allow law enforcement accompanied by a veterinarian onto her property without a warrant to check on the animals she retains.

Among the animals Hegarty was allowed to keep are a pair of dogs, five cats, a guinea pig, seven horses and two doves.

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