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(NECN: Julie Loncich, Tewksbury, Mass.) - A 71-year-old woman is facing animal cruelty charges. She is accused of leaving 15 dogs and two cats in a hot van. One of the dogs died. It happened in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
Even for the most seasoned of animal rescuers, the scene Tuesday in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Tewksbury, Massachusetts was a difficult one. Director of the MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center, Mike Keiley.
Tewksbury Police and animal control worked frantically to save the 15 dogs and 3 cats that had been left alone in this blue van in 85 degree heat with no water, no food, and no open windows for 6 hours. Feces and urine filled the air in conditions so bad, one dog ultimately died.
Their 71 year old owner, Margaret Nickerson-Malpher emerged from her hotel room and was arrested.
Twenty-four hours later, she was in court. Her attorney says the woman from South Dakota who travels between Maine and Massachusetts meant no harm.
Nickerson-Malpher was convicted of animal cruelty in Maine last fall. She was sentenced to 5 years in jail, but only served 10 days.
Thin, weak, and frightened, the dogs and cats that did survive, are now recovering in the special care of the MSPCA.
Nickerson-Malpher's bail has been set at $1000. In the meantime she is not allowed to have any contact or be in the possession of any animals. The animals that were rescued are available here for adoption in Methuen at the MSPCA just as soon as they get better.