Alleged dog beater previously abused horse, dog
Carol Pugh, charged with beating her dog, had prior abuse
convictions involving another dog and a horse.Police photo
PORTSMOUTH — A Greenland woman accused of beating and kicking her Bernese Mountain dog was convicted for beating a dog and a horse in 1997. While she awaits trial for the new animal abuse accusation, Carol Pugh, 52, of 685 Portsmouth Ave., retains custody of the dog, according to Greenland police. According to Portsmouth District Court records, Pugh was found guilty of an animal cruelty charge for beating a horse named "Honey" in the neck with a closed fist eight times on April 29, 1997. The charge was amended from a misdemeanor to a violation and she was fined $250. Pugh was convicted of a second animal cruelty charge for holding "a grey and white dog" against a building and striking it four times in the chest, also on April 29, 1997. For that conviction she was fined $200 and the court noted the dog would not be confiscated if there were no similar complaints for a period of one year. A 1998 charge of leasing a horse without the proper Commission of Agriculture license was dismissed. The current charge alleges that on May 17 Pugh "repeatedly" struck the mountain dog in the face and kicked it in the ribs while it cowered and yelped. Based on those allegations and the prior animal cruelty convictions, the new charge is being levied as a felony. According to an affidavit by Greenland Officer David Loconte a witness told police Pugh was angry at the dog because it had run off and she "repeatedly struck" and "continued to hit" the animal in the face with an open hand and closed fist. As she hit the dog, the police complaint alleges, she was "swearing and screaming." Loconte’s affidavit says the witness asked Pugh to stop, at which point she kicked it in the rib area. Pugh was arraigned on the new charge on July 14 in Portsmouth District Court and entered a not guilty plea. She is being represented by attorney Charles Meade and is scheduled to return to the Court for an Aug. 5 probable cause hearing. A Greenland police spokesman said Pugh retains the right to keep the dog because she is presumed innocent until a court finds otherwise.
BRENTWOOD — A Greenland woman was found guilty of animal cruelty for the third time, given a suspended jail sentence and is being allowed to keep her horses. Carol Pugh, 53, of 685 Portsmouth Ave., pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court on Monday to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal. As part of a plea deal with the prosecution, the charge was reduced from a felony. The conviction resulted from Pugh's May 17, 2008 arrest when police said she “repeatedly” struck her Bernese Mountain dog in the face and kicked it in the ribs while it cowered and yelped. A witness said Pugh was angry at the dog because it ran off and she “repeatedly struck” and “continued to hit” the animal in the face with an open hand and closed fist. As she hit the dog, according to police reports, Pugh was “swearing and screaming.” According to the witness, she asked Pugh to stop, at which point Pugh kicked the dog in the ribs. Greenland police charged her with a felony because she was previously found guilty of animal cruelty for beating a horse named “Honey” in the neck with her fist eight times on April 29, 1997. She was convicted of her second animal cruelty charge for holding “a grey and white dog” against a building and striking it four times in the chest, also on April 29, 1997. County Attorney Jim Reams said because Pugh's animals were not taken from her following her latest arrest, “it effectively tied my hands on the animal possession issue.” Noting there have been no subsequent incidents, Reams said his office placed a number of conditions in place to “structure protection for the animals.” Pugh was sentenced to serve a year in jail and prohibited from owning animals, but the jail time and animal prohibition are suspended, providing she adhere to the following conditions for a period of two years:
* Her “meaningful participation and successful completion” of an anger management course.
* Completion of a NH Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals course on “the proper handling and training of domestic animals.”
* Proof of compliance within 30 days prior to the expiration of the suspension period.Pugh was also fined $500.
Reams said Pugh gave the mountain dog to someone and now owns only horses.
Steven Sprowl, manager of the NHSPCA Field Services Division, said he is “appalled at the outcome of this case.”
“She was charged with two counts of animal cruelty for hitting a horse and a dog several years ago and she never learned from that experience,” he said. “That's why New Hampshire has made it a felony for second offenses. For a court prosecutor to just ignore her past record and let her off easy and retain her animals is just appalling to me.” Sprowl said he received a call from a prosecutor a couple weeks ago inquiring about the agency's thoughts about a plea deal.“I told him if it allows her to keep her animals, it should go to a full trial and at that time, he told me it probably would,” he said. “I cannot fathom why the prosecutor in this case wanted to make a plea arrangement instead of taking it to trial with two very good witnesses that were going to testify against Pugh and leave it up to the judge after the conviction to determine the outcome of the animals.” Sprowl said he believes Pugh “learned nothing.” “She can still beat her animals and most likely, nothing will become of it,” he said. “What a shame for the animals in her care and custody.”
GREENLAND — Prosecutors were unable to charge a habitual animal abuser with a felony because of a lack of proof, County Attorney Jim Reams said Thursday. The criminal history for Carol Pugh, 53, of 685 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland, could not be substantiated in one instance, he said, because Portsmouth District Court staff could not provide a certified copy of one of her animal cruelty convictions. "We were told it was too old and could not be located," said Reams. A second one of Pugh's animal cruelty convictions could not be used in consideration for charging a third as a felony, because it was a violation-level offense which by statute is not a crime, said Reams. By law, the cruelty charge can be brought as a felony if there are two previous convictions. Reams also responded to earlier criticism by Steven Sprowl, manager of the N.H. SPCA Field Services Division, who said the county attorney's office should have ensured Pugh's animals were taken from her custody. "No one, including the N.H. SPCA, made an attempt to remove the animals in the three months between the investigation and when the case was transferred to my office," said Reams. "So there is very little likelihood that a judge would remove the animals 15 months after the incident. Any request at this late date would be treated as unreasonable by the judge." Greenland police told the Herald following Pugh's arrest that her animals were not removed then because she was innocent until proven guilty. Sprowl said the N.H. SPCA was "not involved in the investigation from the beginning." "I received a complaint from two witnesses a few days after the incident and also received a call from the officer investigating the incident as I had instructed the witnesses to file a complaint with the local Greenland Police Department," he said. "Since several days had passed since the dog was beaten, and the officer was not able to observe any injuries on the dog, the dog was not seized. If the dog's beating had been reported immediately that day to the local police, they could have removed the dog into protective custody under the criminal code and had a vet examine the dog for injuries. Several days later would have required them to get a search warrant for the dog's seizure." Sprowl said the N.H. SPCA was not involved in any other case involving Pugh, adding, "We just can't go onto someone's property and remove their dogs for no reason." "Perhaps if the case had come to court before 15 months had elapsed, the judge would have not considered the removal of the animals 'unreasonable,'" he said. "I respect the Rockingham County prosecutors office and have worked well with attorney Reams and his staff in the past, and I understand their problem with not having a certified copy of her criminal record available." Pugh pleaded guilty Monday in Rockingham Superior Court to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal. The conviction resulted from her May 17, 2008, arrest for "repeatedly" striking her Bernese mountain dog in the face and kicking it in the ribs while it cowered and yelped. As she hit the dog, according to police reports, Pugh was "swearing and screaming." A witness said she asked Pugh to stop, at which point Pugh kicked the dog in the ribs, the reports state. Greenland police charged her with a felony because she was previously found guilty of animal cruelty for beating a horse named Honey in the neck with her fist eight times on April 29, 1997. She was convicted of her second animal cruelty charge for holding "a grey and white dog" against a building and striking it four times in the chest, also on April 29, 1997. Pugh was sentenced to a year in jail and prohibited from owning animals, but the jail time and animal prohibition are suspended, providing she adhere to the following conditions for two years:
Her "meaningful participation and successful completion" of an anger management course.
Completion of an N.H. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals course on "the proper handling and training of domestic animals."
Proof of compliance within 30 days prior to the expiration of the suspension period.Pugh was also fined $500. "We can only hope that the dogs she has in her custody at this time are better taken care of," said Sprowl, "and that she gets the counseling she needs to stop beating on her dogs."
Animal abuser avoids felony charge due to lack of proof
Woman guilty of animal cruelty allowed to keep horses
County attorney: Proof against animal abuser lacking