RUMFORD – A Stratton man was charged Monday evening with leaving six puppies in a sealed container on April 12 in Rumford.

Investigating officer Douglas Maifeld said Robert Scribner, 21, was issued a summons for six counts of cruelty to animals. He is slated to appear in Rumford District Court Tuesday, June 3.

Maifeld said that while the six puppies were placed in a sealed blue plastic tote basket, the basket was not put in a Dumpster behind American Legion Post 24 on Lowell Street.

Clarifying earlier stories, he said the basket was placed in the area of the Dumpster between a white van and a small Jeep.

“The puppies were not put into a Dumpster or recycling bin, but rather on the ground beside it,” Maifeld said. An unidentified good Samaritan “took the lid off the basket, then came running over to the Police Department and we brought it to the station.”

The puppies were then picked up by Marsha McKenna, Rumford’s animal control officer, and taken to her McKennel’s Animal Adoption Agency on Hall Hill Road in South Rumford.

After the story was picked up by the media, Maine Trooper Scott Stevens, who works out of Augusta, contacted Rumford police at 3:30 p.m. April 15, telling them that Scribner had confessed to dumping the puppies in Rumford.

Scribner “has been fairly sympathetic. Stevens said Scribner was going to take the puppies to the kennel, but he was afraid of the fee and couldn’t pay for it, so he decided to leave them in a populated area. However, where he chose to leave them – behind the Legion – isn’t a populated area,” Maifeld said.

After conferring with the district attorney, police opted to pursue criminal prosecution on the cruelty to animals charges rather than civil prosecution, Maifeld said.

According to Maine law, a person may be arrested or detained for the crime of cruelty to animals in accordance with the rules of criminal procedure. However, no person may be arrested or detained for the civil violation of cruelty to animals.

Cruelty to animals is a Class D misdemeanor. If convicted, Scribner could face a $100 fine for each violation.

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