Sterling woman agrees to plea change in animal cruelty case

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

KENAI (AP) The Sterling woman charged with nine counts of cruelty to animals for keeping dozens of underfed, ungroomed dogs has told the Kenai district attorney's office she will enter a guilty plea to one count.

The trial of Carolyn Boughton, 58, had been scheduled to begin in Kenai District Court on Tuesday. The trial was postponed after Boughton said she would plead guilty to one consolidated animal cruelty count.

According to assistant district attorney June Stein, Boughton agreed to the arrangement with the stipulations that she would be placed on probation for five years, make restitution for the cost of caring for 66 rescued dogs and have no more than one dog in her possession. Any jail time or fines would be at the discretion of the court, according to the agreement.

A change of plea hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The animal cruelty charges stem from an Alaska State Trooper investigation of a complaint that Boughton was housing numerous dogs without food or water in a bus in Sterling.

When troopers went to the site on Nov. 5, 2001, they found six dead dogs, including four bouvier des Flandres and two kerry blue terriers, one terrier that had to be euthanized because of its weak and listless condition and one that needed to have an eye removed due to severe infection.

In addition, 65 live dogs, many covered in frozen urine and feces, were found suffering from malnutrition and extreme dehydration.

Boughton told troopers she had been evicted from the property and had no place to take the dogs. She said she was pawning personal belongings trying to feed the dogs but did not have enough money.

She reportedly told troopers she moved off the property in mid-September and had been driving back and forth from North Kenai to feed the dogs twice a day. She also said she was having vehicle trouble and had arranged for people living on the Sterling property to feed the dogs.

Sixty-six dogs were rescued by the Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and all were placed in adoptive homes, according to Diane Zarfoss, clinic coordinator in Anchorage.



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