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Animal Cruelty Charges

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 - 2:43 PM
Posted: 04/14/2009 02:59:45 AM EDT

Tuesday, April 14
BENNINGTON The following cases were heard Monday in Bennington District Court in front of Judge John Wesley.
A Readsboro woman, facing an animal cruelty charge, was forced to forfeit her dogs on Monday.

Catherine Oldham's two Australian shepherds were placed in the custody of the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Shaftsbury in a ruling by Wesley.

The dogs, and a third, which has since died, have been at the shelter since August, when police seized them from her home.

Oldham, of Bergrucken Lane, was 64 when she pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty in October. Oldham, who was not at Monday's hearing, will face the criminal charge at a later date.

At Monday's hearing, Vermont State Police Trooper Scott Dunlap testified that the house was in "deplorable" condition when he first visited in August, after receiving a complaint.

"I don't think anybody would've wanted to be in a room with one of those dogs," he said on the stand, "wouldn't wanted to have touch them without washing their hands."

Dunlap said the dogs' fur was matted with animal waste, and the home's floor was covered in it. He did say the dogs had food and water and, a back door, which led to a fenced-in yard, was open.

Dr. Anna Worth, a veterinarian at West Mountain Animal Hospital, testified that the dogs had a slew of health problems from living in the waste.

Public defender Marie Wood argued that Oldham was in the hospital with unforeseen medical issues and attempted to have someone take care of the animals.

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