Guilty on 24 counts, fines zero
Two Peabody women facing 24 counts of violating city animal ordinances got a $1,200 reprieve from Peabody Municipal Court judge Bradley Jantz even though Jantz found them guilty on all counts.
Jennifer Henderson and her daughter Taylor Henderson were in court Oct. 26 to answer charges filed against them in August for two dozen violations involving four dogs in their possession each charge carrying a $50 fine.
“The decision to drop city fines was the judge’s decision,” court clerk Jylle Wilson said. “He felt it was more important that they be in a position to pay restitution for the vet bills than to pay city fines.”
Wilson, who also serves as the city’s animal control officer, said that at the end of July an individual contacted her with concerns about dogs suffering from neglect or abuse.
“A police officer and I went to the address I was given and we removed the animals,” she said.
“They were underweight and had severe hair loss because of flea infestations,” Wilson said. “In addition to animal cruelty charges and being in violation of minimum health standards required for domestic animals, the Hendersons didn’t bother to get proper vaccinations and city tags.”
Wilson said the women also were maintaining a “kennel or cattery” where one is not permitted.
When the four dogs were seized, Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke told the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin that “it was an emergency situation concerning the animals. We followed city ordinance and protocol, and removed them to the city pound for the required number of days.”
Burke said after that time, the animals would be transferred to a veterinary facility and restitution would be sought to cover all costs associated with the care and treatment of the dogs.
The total bill for care and treatment of the dogs by a veterinarian was $2,875.44 or $1,437.72 per dog owner.
Each of the women was charged with 12 violations: two each for cruelty to animals, three each for no city tag, three each for no proof of vaccination, two each for city license tax and fees, one each for not adhering to minimum health standards, and one each for maintaining a kennel where prohibited.
Wilson said the dogs are now in excellent shape and will be adopted out.
“The Hendersons are on probation until the bill is paid,” Wilson said. “And they cannot have any pets as long as they are on probation.”