State seeks ownership of 26 neglected animals

By Jenna Lookner | Feb 14, 2013
Photo by: Bane Okholm Knox County Courthouse in Rockland.

Hope — In an Ex Parte order filed Jan. 29, the state requested that a district court judge authorize the state to take ownership of 26 domestic animals from a jailed Hope resident.

Margaret Tracy, 55, has been jailed since Jan. 25 when she made an initial appearance in Knox County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to two counts of violation of condition of release. The original charges stemmed from a domestic violence assault charge in September 2012. Tracy also was arrested for operating under the influence during September, according to previously published reports.

The animals include two cockatiels, six cats, eight chickens, two dogs, three ducks, two horses, two donkeys and a single goat, according to court documents. The document filed by the state indicates the animals are in poor condition; "maimed, disabled, diseased, dehydrated, malnourished injured or have been cruelly treated" by Tracy.

According to an affidavit filed Jan. 29 in Rockland District Court, Hope Animal Control Officer Suzanne White made a visit to the Tracy homestead after receiving a Jan. 25 call from a concerned Hope resident regarding the condition of the animals. The resident expressed knowledge of Tracy's absence due to recent incarceration. The caller said Tracy had expressed concern about the fate of her animals prior to being incarcerated.

White stated in the affidavit that after communicating with the concerned resident she also spoke with Tracy. Tracy indicated she was unsure of the length of her incarceration, expressed concern about the care of her animals, according to the affidavit. She then said she did not want to keep the animals any longer and requested they be removed from the premises, according to the affidavit.

Tracy was granted pre-conviction bail in September under the condition she not contact her husband, young daughter, and others, according to previously published reports.

On Jan. 22, Tracy reportedly violated the conditions of her release when she visited Waldo County General Hospital to see her dying husband, who passed away the same day, according to previously published reports. Tracy was arrested for the violation and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald requested bail be revoked. Tracy's attorney made a motion to allow her to attend the funeral but the motion was denied, according to previously published reports. Tracy has remained in jail ever since.

According White's affidavit, she and fellow Hope Animal Control Officer Court Bennett arrived at the premises around 9:15 a.m. Jan. 26. The two were later joined by several other parties including Knox County Sheriff's Office Deputy Paul Spear, who observed the process.

The animals in the house and barn were in poor condition without food or water, the water vessels provided for the animals were frozen, the house was cluttered and unheated, and the stench of dog feces was strong. "Animal feces of all kinds" covered the floor of the barn, the affidavit stated.

During the initial response, the animals were given water to quench their extreme thirst, according to court paperwork. White stated in the affidavit that animals left in an unheated home during "some of the coldest weather in years" for any additional period of time, sans care or heat, would become ill or die.

The affidavit states the smaller animals that could be caught at the scene were taken to Pope Memorial Humane Society (formerly Knox County Humane Society.) At the time of the court filing, the horses remained on the premises and were being cared for by volunteers until a veterinarian could assist in transporting one of the animals who was not tame, according to the affidavit.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at jlookner@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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