Former Selectman Headed Back To Court This Week
Oct 03, 2016 01:59PM
● By Bill Gilman
Former Dracut Selectman Cathy Richardson is headed back to court this week, as prosecutors will attempt again to try her on charges of animal cruelty.
Richardson's first trial ended with the judge declaring a mistrial due to the introduction of some surprise evidence, back in February.
Charges against Richardson, 55, stemp from a complaint filed in March 2015, by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). According to an article published in the Lowell Sun, the complaint accused Richardson of mistreating four horses and a mule by failing to provide them with adequate shelter, sanitary conditions, food and water.
According to the MSPCA complaint, two of the animals were not able to access warm shelter in the cold of the winter because of a buildup of ice and manure. The animals were also said to be malnourished and in need of medical care.
Judge Ellen Caulo declared a mistrial in February due to the testimony of Dr. Bryan Parrott, an equine specialist. Dr. Parrott testified that blood tests indicated one of the horses had Cushing's Disease, which could be responsible for several of its symptoms.
Neither the defense nor the prosecution was aware of those blood tests. The mistrial was declared to give both sides a chance to evaluate the new evidence.
At the time she was charged, Richardson was still a sitting member of the Board of Selectmen and steadfastly refused to resign. However, she was unseated in the most recent Dracut Municipal Election.