Saturday, August 29, 2015

Massachusetts: Kathleen McHendry and Ronald Richard charged with felony animal cruelty after 280 carcasses found in refrigerators, freezers

MASSACHUSETTS -- The MSPCA filed a criminal complaint in District Court on Friday charging a couple with multiple counts of animal cruelty after an inspection Aug. 11 at an Allen Street home led to the discovery of approximately 280 dead animals stored in refrigerators and freezers and 127 other animals living in squalor, according to the state's report.


Kathleen McHendry, of 402 Allen St., which was the location of the animals, and Ronald Richard, listed by the MSPCA as a co-occupant of the Allen Street address, were each charged with 11 counts of felony animal cruelty, according to the court complaint.

Both are living elsewhere as the house was condemned and ordered vacated by the city.

The two are scheduled for arraignment on Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. in District Court. Daniel Gelb, listed in court records as McHendry's lawyer, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Rob Halpin, a spokesman for MSPCA-Angell, said there were just 22 charges in total, which is geared to pursue the "most proveable" charges.

Meanwhile, McHendry called herself a "fantastic animal care giver," according to an MSPCA investigation report filed with the court.

If convicted, a single count of felony animal cruelty carries a penalty of state prison of not more than seven years or at a house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years, or a fine of not more than $5,000, or fine and imprisonment, according to guidelines.

A report filed with the court by MSPCA Officer Christine Allenberg describes the conditions found by herself and city inspectors on Aug. 11 after receiving an anonymous complaint about there being a large number of animals.

The state report described filthy conditions and numerous animals inside and outside the house showing signs of illness and injury.

"When we entered the home through the front door the stench of urine, feces, filth, decay, and skunk was almost overpowering," Allenberg wrote. "My eyes immediately began to burn and breathing became uncomfortable."

There were cages lining the walls containing cats and a ferret that were unsanitary and had no food or water, Allenberg wrote

The animal cruelty charges said the defendants failed to provide a sanitary environment, failed to provide necessary sustenance (food and water), and "inflicted unnecessary cruelty."

Staff from the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center and from the MSPCA removed approximately 280 dead animals from the property on Aug. 14, including 65 deceased animals from two refrigerators in the kitchen, and 211 animals from three chest freezers in the garage and on a porch, Allenberg wrote.

Allenberg said that the live animals that were taken from the home consisted of 92 cats, seven dogs, one parrot, one ferret, 12 raccoons, 13 skunks and one fox. They were taken to various animal control centers and shelters, and many have been treated for illnesses and injuries, officials said.

In addition, many of the animals have been adopted, but two dogs were euthanized, officials said.

The report describes McHendry as being emotional during the inspection but also defending her treatment of the animals at times.


"[Kathleen] McHendry was adamant that she is a fantastic animal care giver and does not need a veterinarian to tend to her animals," Allenberg said.

According to the report, McHendry called herself an animal rehabilitator.

The MSPCA, in filing 11 counts of animal cruelty, cited animals, it said, "represent the scope and severity of animal cruelty" allegedly caused by the couple.

One of the cats, for example, was emaciated "with severe dental disease, ear mites, heart murmur, and a large open, infected tumor hanging from its chest, according to the MSPCA report.

Another example cited was a dog "with entropion, chronic ear infections, matting, painful walking, hookworms and difficulty urinating, the report said.


When inspectors went into the kitchen, they were "greeted by approximately 40 cats" and the kitchen was "filthy," and "everything appeared to be sticky," according to the report.

"It was difficult to move without encountering a cat," Allenberg wrote.


(MassLive - Aug 28, 2015)

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