Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Defending Against Animal Cruelty Charges

Norfolk law enforcement recently arrested a teenager who was filmed engaging in sexual activity with a horse at Turner Hill Equestrian Stables. The 19-year-old in question handed himself over to law enforcement and was arraigned on several charges relating to the sexual intercourse and activity with the horse as well as breaking and entering into the stable. 

The suspect was then placed on bail in anticipation of a hearing to assess if he is a danger to the public. The Norfolk Police Department expressed thanks to the public for becoming involved in the case.

Surveillance camera footage taken from the stables showed the individual sexually abusing a horse. The man was spotted on video footage having intercourse with a mare. The stable owner reported that the man unplugged all of the security cameras at the stable except for one. The man is believed to have knowledge about horse handling and might have spent time at the stable previously due to how he secured and distracted the horse during the criminal act. 

The owner of the stable expressed shock and discomfort that the sexual crime had occurred in the pleasant environment of the stable. Forensic data was gathered from the animal, which was not injured during the assault. 

Massachusetts Law Addressing Animal Cruelty

Chapter 272, Section 77 of Massachusetts General Law prohibits people from abusing and neglecting animals. Massachusetts classifies this offense as a felony and anyone convicted of violating this law can end up facing five years of imprisonment in a state prison or two and a half years in a house of corrections. A conviction under this law can also lead to a person facing fines of up to $2,500. 

Common Examples of Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty takes many forms but some common examples of these violations include overworking animals to exhaustion, beating or mutilating an animal, leaving an animal in a parked car on a summer day, or willfully abandoning animals at the side of the road. Animal cruelty can also encompass engaging in any type of sexual interaction with an animal.

Defenses Exist to Massachusetts Animal Cruelty Charges

Like all other types of Massachusetts laws, sometimes people end up facing animal cruelty charges even though they have not committed an offense. In these situations, it is helpful to remember that some important defenses can be raised in response to animal cruelty charges in Massachusetts. 

Sometimes, what might look like animal cruelty was self-defense or a person protecting someone else from an attacking animal. This certainly is not the only defense that can be raised in response to animal cruelty. Other times, mistaken identity might be involved. Law enforcement also might have violated Fourth Amendment or other constitutional rights when arresting the suspect or gathering evidence about how the offense occurred.

Speak With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Being convicted or even charged with a crime can come with various penalties. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.