Friday, 08 February 2019 15:59

Animal abuse investigation ongoing

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SKOWHEGAN (WGME) - More than a dozen dogs and cats have been seized from a Skowhegan home as part of a sweeping animal abuse investigation.

The discovery of several dead animals led police to a home on Waterville Road.


State animal welfare agents executed a search warrant at the home on Wednesday with help from the Skowhegan Police Department. They found the animals in rough shape and they said the home was covered in feces.


"The scene was very dirty. It was very unsanitary there," said Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam.


Bucknam said the investigation began with a report of dead dogs being dumped in the town of Canaan and led authorities to the Waterville Road home, where they found 14 animals.


"They looked like they were being mistreated pretty badly. Malnourished. They looked like they were pretty cold," he said.


State animal welfare officials said four dogs, six puppies and six cats were seized.


Bucknam called the condition of the home "horrific.


"The biggest thing for us was the, I guess you could say, the feces and excrement that was everywhere throughout the house, throughout the outside of the house," he said. "It's pretty unsettling to know that there are houses like that with animals in the house or even people in the house."


Bucknam said that one of the residents, Brett Plourde, was arrested on a probation violation in connection with the investigation.


His mother, Laura Plourde, did not want to speak on camera but denied that the animals were malnourished. She said the puppies lost weight because they were transitioning from nursing to kibble.


She did admit, however, that the animals were getting to be too much and she was in the process of trying to find them new homes.


State officials said they want animal owners to know if they get overwhelmed, they can reach out to animal control officers and shelters -- advice echoed by Bucknam.


"We have a lot of resources out here that are available to people and we urge them to reach out for that," he said.


At this point, no criminal charges have been filed but the investigation is still underway. Authorities said the animals are being treated at an undisclosed veterinary hospital.