BENNINGTON >> A Shaftsbury couple is facing animal abuse charges for allegedly not getting medical care for an injured puppy.
On Sept. 26, in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division, Jessica L. Caron, 33, and Daniel S. Ferris Jr., 32, both of Shaftsbury, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of aggravated cruelty to an animal. Caron pleaded not guilty to an additional misdemeanor charge of giving false information to police. Both were released without bail while the case is pending. Both are under court ordered conditions that they not possess animals.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Robert Zink, on Aug. 25 Caron contacted police to report that a 12 to 14 week old St. Bernard/pitbull mix she owned had run away about a week before. She heard someone on Buck Hill Road in Shaftsbury had found it and had contacted them, but the woman was now refusing to tell Caron where the dog was.
Police spoke to the Buck Hill Road woman and were told that she found the dog in question beside the road walking with a limp as if injured. The dog was infested with fleas and had scratches on its stomach.
She took the dog to West Mountain Animal Hospital in Bennington after giving it a flea bath. The vet determined the dog was indeed injured and required further treatment.
Caron told police the dog was not injured last she saw it.
Zink then got a call from staff at West Mountain who said the dog is owned by Caron and Ferris, and that on Aug. 23 Ferris had called to ask how much it would cost to treat the dog as it had been hit by a car. He became verbally abusive when told what the cost would be. Caron later called, asking how much to have the dog euthanized. The dog was never brought to the vet by Caron or Ferris.
Zink questioned Caron again, she denied the dog was hit by a car and initially denied even knowing Ferris. She then admitted that the dog had been hit by a motorized bicycle while at her home and was injured.
She claimed that Ferris was only an acquaintance of hers and that she had not seen him for a week. Zink wrote that he learned Caron and Ferris are a couple, live together, and co-own the dog.
Caron told police she lied because she did not want her son to be in trouble for hitting the dog.
Ferris told police that he thought it was the dog's tail that was injured. He could not afford to pay West Mountain, so he called other vets in a failed attempt to find one that would work out a payment plan.
Caron said the dog ran away on Aug. 24 from where they live at the Iron Kettle Motel. According to staff at West Mountain, the dog was too injured to have traveled from there to Buck Hill Road on its own.
Zink wrote that Caron and Ferris have relinquished ownership of the dog to the person who found it.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115