NEW SHARON — Neighbors of a local woman who is under a court-ordered lifetime ban from owning animals because of a history of hoarding say she has dogs, cats and maybe rabbits.

Two dogs, a white Jack Russell terrier and a dog that looks like a brown pit bull mix, recently showed up on the porch of neighbor Craig LeHigh, he said. He believed they came from Carol Murphy’s property and that she has several dogs, cats and perhaps rabbits obtained from another neighbor, he said. 

He lives across the road. His own dogs are now kept in.

“I don’t know if (the loose dogs) are carrying fleas or what,” he said. “I don’t want them around.”

When neighbor Darlene Power saw Murphy carrying a crate with a dog in it Sunday, “my heart jumped out of my chest,” she said. “Animals don’t have anyone to speak for them.”

Murphy was convicted of cruelty to animals in 2005 after state humane agents seized about 70 animals from her home at 247 Lane Road. On Oct. 15, 2009, state agents seized about 45 animals from her property. In 2010, she was sentenced to four years in prison for a premeditated stun-gun attack on a state trooper.

Franklin County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy prohibited Carol Murphy from owning animals. It was the second lifetime ban ordered by the Franklin County court, though Murphy claimed there never was a first order.

When she came home from prison last July, it wasn’t long before LeHigh saw signs of animals there, he said.

Both neighbors claim they have made numerous calls to several agencies, including state police, state animal welfare, the district attorney, animal control and town officials, but nothing has happened.

“They all say they’ll look into it,” Power said.

“I’ve been telling the state and the district attorney every other week,” LeHigh said.

The neighbors have photos and have forwarded them to the district attorney, Power said.

The Franklin County District Attorney’s Office has been working on the case for a while, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said Wednesday.

“Apparently, things have picked up in the last week, as neighbors have seen animals get out,” he said. “We do have a case underway, but it’s not a quick process.”

He said he would deliver the information given to him to the court to see whether it would like to proceed with a contempt case. It would be a civil violation of a court order, he said. Punishment would be limited.

John Bott, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Forestry said Wednesday the department was “well-aware” of the situation and was referring all calls to the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office. The Animal Welfare Office is part of the department.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said his office had not received any complaints about Murphy, but he had gotten a call Tuesday from the Animal Welfare Office about reports of her having animals, he said Wednesday.

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