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Animal Cruelty Trial to Go Ahead

Posted on Dec 6, 2006 - 3:00 PM
Animal cruelty trial to go ahead

December 2, 2006

By PATRICK McARDLE Herald Staff

BENNINGTON A man ordered by the court to give up his 32 German shepherds earlier this week will appeal the judge's decision and continue with a jury trial on charges of animal cruelty, according to his lawyer.

Larry Mason, 52, was cited July 18 after police were called to a Bennington diner and found Mason had about the dogs on a school bus he was planning to drive to the western United States. Police said Mason also had a dog with him inside the diner and another had been accidentally left behind at a camp site.

Police and animal control officers said Mason's German shepherds were underfed, deprived of water and living in unsanitary conditions while they were in his care.

Shortly after the forfeiture hearing against Mason was complete earlier this month but before the judge's ruling, Mason's public defender Frederick Bragdon said he planned to file an appeal with the Vermont Supreme Court related to the case.

The law, which had been updated about two years ago, said the forfeiture would continue even if the defendant appealed the judge's decision. Bragdon said he believed that was unconstitutional because if Mason appealed the verdict and won, he might not be able to get his dogs back in the condition they were in when they were confiscated.

None of the dogs were spayed or neutered. Bragdon said Mason planned to breed his dogs. Animal control officers who had custody of the German shepherds made it clear they wanted the dogs spayed and neutered as soon as possible.

On Thursday, Bragdon said he hadn't found grounds to challenge the state law.

However, Bragdon still plans to appeal the decision by Bennington County District Court Judge David Howard, possibly as early as Monday.

Facing two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, Mason still plans to bring his case to a jury, according to Bragdon. A jury will be drawn next week, according to the schedule for Bennington County District Court.

The case is unlikely to be tried until January, said Deputy State's Attorney Andrew Costello on Tuesday.

Contact Patrick McArdle at Patrick.mcardle@rutlandherald.com




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