State seeks forfeiture of animals seized from New Sharon residence

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FARMINGTON — A Franklin County judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on Friday, Oct. 31, for forfeiture of animals the state seized from a New Sharon woman accused of violating a lifetime ban on having animals.

A judge entered a denial to a Superior Court summary contempt of court complaint for Carol Murphy on Oct. 8.

She is accused of having animals since Jan. 1, while under a 2010 court-ordered lifetime ban from having animals.

Murphy has contested the seizure of the 14 animals. She also filed a motion with the court to dismiss the contempt violation.

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The court is also scheduled to hear the dismissal motion Friday.

Seized on Oct. 1 were four dogs, a pot-bellied pig, five chinchillas, including three babies, two rabbits, a cat and a kitten, according to the animal seizure identification log. The animals are in the custody of state animal welfare agents.

Murphy, 70, was convicted in 2005 and 2010 of animal cruelty and ordered both times to never possess animals. She said the first order was not legal because it was not put in the court’s sentencing paperwork.

Murphy refused to enter an admittance or a denial to the contempt complaint on Oct. 8 as directed by Judge Nancy Carlson in Franklin County Superior Court. Carlson entered the denial for her.

Murphy told the court at the time that she objected to the court entering a denial on the complaint and said she was not giving up any of her rights.

She has challenged the state’s jurisdiction and said she was not given due process when a warrant was executed Oct. 1, resulting in the state removing the animals from her property.

The state issued Murphy a citation for contempt of court at the time.

A Franklin County jury convicted Murphy in 2010 on two counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. At the same time, she was convicted of using a 975,000-volt stun gun on a state police trooper who tried to arrest her on a warrant on Oct. 14, 2009, for unpaid fines and fees. She was sentenced to four years for the premeditated attack and nine months on each of the animal cruelty charges to run concurrent with the four-year sentence.

State agents seized approximately 45 animals in 2009 and 70 animals in 2004 from Murphy’s property.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said after Murphy’s court appearance earlier this month that the state did not anticipate any new charges of animal cruelty based on what the state saw of the condition of the animals.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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