Animal cruelty cases in New Bedford and Tiverton linked

By News Staff
Reporting by Rebecca Turco

The New Bedford couple arrested Wednesday night after dozens of animals were found dead and alive in their South 2nd Street apartment were also the owners of farm animals confiscated at a home in Tiverton.

Officials say that 23-year-old Sabrina Harding and 24-year-old Jake Brousseau were renting a property on Bulgermarsh Road to store farm animals but did not do enough to take care of them.

Animal control officers removed more than a dozen animals and several decaying remains on Thursday from the condemned home after founding out the animals didn’t have access to food and water.

“Nobody was living there. Guess they were coming and going feeding the animals as they felt necessary, which obviously wasn’t up to our standards,” said Paul Bell, one of the animal control officers.

The couple was charged with animal cruelty after police in New Bedford found 46 animals in their apartment, both dead and alive. The animals that were alive were severalty neglected and malnourished.

“It’s the highest number of deaths that I heard of working here,” said Erin Pacheco, of Forever Paws animal shelter.

Forever Paws, a shelter in Fall River, has taken in some of these neglected pets, including three kittens and an emaciated German shepherd.

“You wonder why the animals weren’t thought of in that situation,” continued Pacheco.

Police say that Harding and Brousseau had responded to ads for free animals on Craigslist planning to later sell them.

“In my opinion, they’re going to get what they have coming to them. And we’re going to let the court sort it out. My main concern was the animals,” continued Bell.

Many of the animals are now in loving homes, which Officer Bell says are the kinds of endings they like to see.

So far, the couple is facing charges only out of New Bedford, as the investigation in Tiverton is pending.

© WLNE-TV 2015