ROWLEY – Following aLast week the owner of the Hydrant Regency kennel in Rowley was charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty.
Rowley police announced Wednesday that the charges against owner April Bernhardt were the result of an investigation with the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston. They said dozens of dogs were left in a storage trailer at the height of the summer heat wave with no water or air conditioning and some without the ability to turn around.
Animal Control reported the “concerning issues” at the kennel when returning some goats that escaped and walked on Highway 1 on August 27. An investigation ensued and the FBI Evidence Response Team was called in to search the kennel for evidence of dead dogs, police say.
Bernhardt was in Newburyport District Court on Wednesday as the prosecutor outlined the conditions in the trailer.
“The trailer had two windows and two fans running at each window, but no AC power. Again, it was 90.6 degrees inside this trailer. The officer actually left the building because heat, smell and noise,” the prosecutor said. “The larger dogs didn’t seem to have enough room to stand in the crates or turn around if they wanted to stand.”
Thirty-seven dogs have found their masters. Bernhardt’s attorney, Ted Cranney, said the conditions were not humane. “All the dogs when they were transferred to other kennels, there were no reports that they were in distress that they were dehydrated…”
However, investigators said many people reported that their dogs had worms, sores and lameness. One death has been reported.
The Hydrant Regency has been closed since August 29th. The MSPCA took care of the goats. Bernhardt posted $3,000 cash bond and was ordered not to own any dogs.