Franklin Countys First News

Avon man will keep beagles, surrenders puppies to state

FARMINGTON - Six dogs removed from a garage in Freeman Township last month will be returned to their owner, who will not be prosecuted, per the terms of a consent order agreed upon by the owner and state. Three puppies previously surrendered by their owner will retained by the state.

Law enforcement became involved with the dogs after an individual living elsewhere on the property contacted police out of concern for nine beagles in a garage on the Freemen Ridge Road in Freeman Township. Deputy Andrew Morgan of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office responded, reporting to an Animal Welfare Program agent that he had found six adult dogs and three puppies in an unheated garage in separate kennels. The external temperature at that time was recorded at -22 degrees, according to Angela Rogers, the AWP district humane agent.

The dogs had water that had frozen and no food in the kennels, Rogers said. The dogs' owners, David Ellis, 46 of Avon, was contacted due to his name being on the dogs' collars. Ellis reported that he had checked the dogs at roughly 4 p.m. the previous day.

The law requires that dogs such as the beagles be fed and watered once per day - Ellis told investigators that he had been meeting that requirement. Bedding is also required, and there appeared to be straw in the kennels.

The FCSO took the dogs to the Franklin County Animal Shelter, where they were found to have good weight. All of the dogs tested positive for some parasites, such as hookworm or roundworm, and four adult dogs tested positive for Lyme Disease.

Ellis, who later met with FCSO and Rogers at the FCSO office in Farmington, said that he was in the process of setting up new kennels at his residence in Avon.

"Mr. Ellis stated that he checks on the dogs every day and that they all have access to a dog house with bedding," Rogers wrote in a report filed with the court. "However, Mr. Ellis did acknowledge that it was extremely cold, especially for 10 week old puppies without a source of heat."

Ellis voluntarily surrendered the three puppies. FCSO charged him with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.

In a consent order signed on Jan. 12, following a hearing at Franklin County District Court earlier that week, Ellis and the state, represented by Assistant District Attorney Josh Robbins, agreed to a final resolution for the animals and criminal charge. The six adult beagles not previously surrendered by Ellis will be returned to his care, with their care to conform to Maine animal welfare statutes. This includes Robbins receiving "photographic proof" of housing that complies with state statute. Robbins said Tuesday that he had received that proof.

Ellis will pay restitution of $1,025.45 to benefit the AWP by July, with those funds to cover the housing, feeding and veterinary care of the beagles at FCAS from Jan. 3 through Jan. 11.

The criminal charge cited by FCSO hasn't been brought forward yet. When it is, the charge will be filed by the District Attorney's Office. If Ellis pays the restitution and refrains from any other criminal conduct, the charge will be dismissed in July. If those conditions aren't met, Robbins said Tuesday, the animal cruelty charge could be brought back.

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24 Responses »

  1. It is awful hard to be jailed in this town.

  2. Where is this place on Freeman Ridge Road? I have lived on the ridge for 15 years.

  3. They went too easy on this guy. Hope the animal control officer or the Franklin County Sheriffs Dept. keeps an eye on this situation.

  4. It is on rt 145, not Freeman Ridge.

  5. Yep it’s ok to abuse helpless animals in Franklin County but don’t ever get caught without your seatbelt on; you will be strangled with it immediately.

  6. Foster Hill Rd.

  7. Ouch! Punishment/fines seem to be a little stiff for letting a few dogs get a bit chilly in the winter, especially since they had bedding, were fed, watered and checked on daily.

  8. Jorge..Just curious..What country are you from? The dogs had no food..Frozen water dish..-22 degrees..3 little puppies..Not Acceptable to be treating dogs like this. Guy got off easy.

  9. Well....at least the puppies are safe....feel sorry for the 6 adult dogs.

  10. If you don't like dogs ,don't have dogs. Simple,huh?

  11. The dogs were fine they are hunting dogs get a grip. Law inforcement jumping the gun and biased newspaper articles lead people to jump to early conclusion's why not wait until the facts come out. Dave has been a guide for 15 years or so with no issues and lots of repeat business. If he didnt take care of his animals there would of been issues long before this. You can chalk this up to nosey neighbors minding some else's business. For anyone that doesn't know anything about rabbit dogs it is not unusual for rabbit dogs to stay in thebwoods for multiple days when they are hunting and can't be caught the dogs are always fine. I feel bad that he had to go through this anybody with a brain can see this was an over reaction. Good luck Dave getting this BS behind you.

  12. OK so don't believe all you are hearing on this much of what is being said above is FAR from the truth.......And FAR from the whole story!!!

  13. @ Jason Wing..."If he didn't take care of his dogs..There would of been issues before this"? NO..there wouldn't be..He lives back in the sticks..You don't leave dogs out in -22 degree weather with no shelter..food..and water.

  14. He did not live "back in the sticks". It clearly says in the story he was in the process of setting up new kennels at his new address. The house where the dogs were found has been for sale all this summer. Would he have been better off letting them live in a snowbank at his new home ? Not likely. The story also says that he was checking in on and feeding them daily as the STATE LAW says they require food and water ONCE a day. GET OFF HIS BACK. Maybe all the people complaining should go adopt the puppies from the shelter, they definitely don't need more mouths to feed.

  15. Clam down people! Sounds like a "concerned" neighbor who thought dogs were being neglected. Alls well that ends well----right?

  16. @Jesse..Avon and Freeman Are the Sticks..Hate to tell you..

  17. He has a badge therefore they DO NO WRONG . they can do what they want

  18. Had Beagles all my life,They are a hardy beed and they all lived out doors through some of the worst of the worst winters ever. Used to give them a little extra bulk food like meat and fat for the real cold spells .They loved the winter and would hunt right through even in deep snow. a lot of fun had with them over the years.They would run off from time to time and we would leave one of our jackets and a blanket where we started from and sure enough they would be there in a day or so waitng to go home. The important thing with the dogs is an outside dog should live out and an inside dog should live in . as long as they are DRY and can get out of the weather they will be fine . Used to build their house with a baffel door and insulation and some nice pine shavings on the inside . Great dogs alot of fun!!

  19. Anyone missing the point: There were 3 defenseless puppies...frozen water dishes...need I say more?? Unacceptable!!

  20. @Kee DO NOT be putting down the twin cities of Phillips/Avon! we love our dogs! They sometimes stay outside when they act like you big city folk.
    Dave is a good guy, The dogs where in a garage, Frozen water? its cold out.no food? does your dog eat all its food when served?
    yes, it is a overblown story. Fact.
    Some of you need to stop saving the planet, your wrecking humanity.

  21. I read that the dogs, including puppies, were in an UNheated garage which registered 14 degrees below zero. I've had dogs all my life, and I am quite sure that these dogs would have preferred not to be shivering and left alone overnight with frozen water (which was also reported). It doesn't matter if these were "hunting dogs." I have friends with hunting dogs, and those dogs are allowed INSIDE (and on couches and beds) during the winter months. There is no need for pets' water to freeze - there are heated dishes available for people who truly care about their animals, just like there were much better options for these dogs.

  22. The large overhead door was open facing the northwest wind at -22 air temp. Not exactly shelter for puppies.....Ever work in an unheated warehouse?

  23. What some of the people said in David's defense about the dogs doing ok in the cold and being just fine on a multi day hunt is true. But dogs on a hunt are running and walking around producing lots of internal body heat. However these dogs were not free to roam in the garage or even huddle in a dog pile to keep warm, they were in SEPARATE kennels. When I first read this story I imagined the dogs huddled together to keep each other warm in a fenced off area of the garage, but to now know that they were in separate kennels just kills me. Also what hunter in this state goes on a hunt at -22 degrees? Not one that needs a guide! That would be the job of an extreme survivalist hunter! Perhaps some Maine laws need new amendments to cover these sorts of cruel incidences... that should never happen in the first place! I guess some peoples level of caring about animals is colder than -22...

    https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Kind

  24. @Captain Planet...Yes and my employer was not prosecuted for making me work in that unheated warehouse in Dryden.

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