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Animal abuser faces new charges

Posted on Sep 23, 2009 - 8:58 AM
Times Argus
Article published Sep 21, 2009

Animal abuser faces new charges

By BRENT CURTIS Rutland Herald Staff
A Hubbardton woman who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in February is back in court for allegedly keeping animals in violation of a court order.

Suzanne M. Hegarty, 49, denied a charge that she violated her probation last month by keeping five horses, five ducks and at least four cats on property she owns in Brandon.

Hegarty received an eight-year deferred sentence and was placed on probation earlier this year after accepting a plea deal from prosecutors.

Under the deal, Hegarty, who was charged with animal cruelty after law enforcement officials removed more than 100 animals in varying degrees of neglect from her properties, was restricted to owning 17 animals listed in the court's order.

Hegarty was also forbidden from breeding animals, was required to receive mental counseling and was ordered to allow law enforcement accompanied by a veterinarian onto her property without warning to check on the animals she retained.

She was also ordered to keep the animals she retained on her Monument Hill Road property in Hubbardton.

But during a visit to Hegarty's property on Kimball Road in Brandon late last month, Probation and Parole Officer Mary Stephens said she saw at least a dozen animals not included in the court order.

When confronted about the additional animals, Hegarty said they belonged to her daughter who is leasing the Brandon property, Assistant Rutland County State's Attorney Kathryn Smith said.

Smith said she is dubious of the claim and so are Probation and Parole officials who removed all of the animals except the goats from the property. The goats remained, Smith said, because they were milking animals that couldn't be cared for elsewhere.

The alleged probation violation could mean jail time for Hegarty, who could face up to two years in prison on the offenses she pleaded guilty to.

But Smith said she is hoping that amendments to the probation conditions and cooperation from Hegarty will resolve the issue.

"We just want her to comply with her probation as imposed," Smith said.

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