Oct. 27—A Winchester man charged with animal cruelty agreed in court Thursday to turn over the 27 Labrador retrievers taken earlier this month from what the Monadnock Humane Society has described as “deplorable conditions.”
Tory Frazier, 56, will not be held financially liable for the dogs’ upkeep as part of an agreement in Circuit Court in Keene to permanently surrender them to the humane society’s care. He has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.
Beth Doyle, the Swanzey organization’s humane agent, said after the court hearing in Keene that the nonprofit is pleased with the decision and will be working on next steps to get the dogs adopted into loving homes.
State Trooper Richard Camacho wrote in an affidavit filed in the case that police seized 13 adult dogs and 14 puppies — as well as five deceased puppies — when they searched Frazier’s house Oct. 5. All but four of the dogs tested positive for parasites, Camacho wrote, and five tested positive for Lyme disease.
The Monadnock Humane Society has provided care for the animals, the nonprofit’s executive director, Kathy Collinsworth, said in a phone interview last week. All of the puppies, as well as a nursing mother, have been moved to foster homes, where they can socialize at a crucial age, she said.
Doyle, who completed the investigation with the assistance of law enforcement, first visited Frazier’s property last December, after Winchester police received an anonymous complaint about a very skinny dog there, Camacho wrote in court documents. The affidavit describes Frazier as a breeder and notes he had had trouble selling some of the dogs.
Haley, the dog who the humane society believed the complaint was about, had ribs that were visible “but overall her body condition was not of a major concern at this time,” Camacho wrote. Haley was very itchy and had a sore spot, likely from fleas on the base of her lower back, and Doyle explained the importance of proper care in order to alleviate the dog’s suffering, the affidavit states.
Frazier allowed Doyle to see the other dogs outside at the property — although the affidavit does not say how many — and all appeared to be in good condition except for one yellow Lab who was thin, Camacho wrote.
Doyle returned to the property Sept. 28 with a Winchester police officer after receiving a complaint that a 7-week-old puppy had untreated facial injuries, Camacho wrote. Frazier told Doyle that the puppy was doing fine and continuing to eat, the affidavit states.
The chocolate Lab puppy had a visible deformity to her lower jaw as well as a thick material in her mouth that appeared to be puss, potentially from an infection, Camacho wrote. The puppy and five others in her litter were being kept in a bathroom, Frazier said, because of the injury the puppy had suffered after escaping into a downstairs room with a mother dog, Kiki, and another litter of puppies, according to the affidavit.
Frazier opened the bathroom door briefly so Doyle could see the puppies, and she observed a layer of newspaper on the floor saturated with liquid, Camacho wrote. Frazier said the puppies had had water in the room with them but had spilled it, according to the affidavit. He said the puppy had been bitten around Sept. 18 and that he had an appointment for her at Jaffrey-Rindge Veterinary Hospital on Oct. 6, the affidavit states.
Doyle told him the puppy should have received medical attention immediately after the injury, Camacho wrote. The humane agent then asked to see Kelsey, the injured puppy’s mother, and Frazier agreed, warning that she was pretty skinny, according to the affidavit, which describes the dog as “emaciated.”
Kelsey’s entire spine and hip bones were very prominent, and she had very little muscle mass and virtually no body fat, the affidavit states. Kiki, the mother of the other litter, also was very thin and had hair loss, Camacho wrote.
Frazier was keeping Kiki’s puppies in a bedroom with a layer of newspaper, parts of which were soiled with urine and some feces, according to the affidavit. Multiple dogs were also barking in crates in the main living space of the home, Camacho wrote.
State Police returned to the property Oct. 5 with a search warrant, seized the dogs and turned their care over to the Monadnock Humane Society, the affidavit states. Frazier has been released on personal recognizance and ordered not to own any animals, according to court documents.
The humane society has previously said the cost to care for the dogs — which includes all medical and daily care — is estimated to total tens of thousands of dollars, all of which will be covered by the nonprofit, which is funded entirely by donations. Emily Kerylow, the humane society’s director of operations, said after the court hearing Thursday that the dogs will now have to be spayed and neutered, adding to the costs.
“Financially this is a huge undertaking, but one we’re happy to undertake for the betterment of the animals,” Kerylow said.
Alex Parsons, a public defender representing Frazier, declined to comment. Frazier is scheduled for a review hearing on Nov. 23.
Ryan Spencer can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1412, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @rspencerKS