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Two New Hampshire women get off easy in animal cruelty cases

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Both Shirley Patch, 60, and Caroline Wilkins, 42, her niece, were charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in September, 2012. Based on my source, Mikaela K. Reynolds of on Dec. 18, each of the women received suspended sentences of 365 jail days. The condition of the animals on their Chestnut Hill Road property was reported to police by a concerned neighbor.

Ironically, the women were permitted to keep some of the animals despite the abuse convictions. Many of the involved animals had been surrendered to the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They will be subject to random home visits to check on the welfare of the pets they were permitted to keep for the next three years.

Patch had originally been charged with 12 animal cruelty counts – only two of them were processed. The animals that suffered at her hands were three dogs, two goats, two chickens, hoses and even two miniature horses. All of the animals were starving and were seriously underweight with protruding hips and ribs.

Patch pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for two horses, Swindle and Berry. She has to pay $46,000 in restitution to the NH Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She may never own livestock again and is permitted no domestic animals until five years have passed. The 365-day jail sentence is suspended. Patch may keep her Pinto stallion, a dog, a cat and a mouse. She must prove regular care to the state each six months for three years and be subject to compliance checks.

Wilkins pleaded guilty to one animal cruelty charge for the horse Dolly. Her 365-day sentence was suspended. She must pay $3,000 in restitution. Wilkins may keep her three dogs subject to compliance checks by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She may also have one cat, one cow, and up to three pigs. Horses are off limits to Wilkins unless she receives prior approval from animal control.


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