LIVERMORE FALLS — A former local man was charged Saturday on 10 counts of cruelty to animals for abandoning 10 animals in an apartment with no food or water when he moved away a couple of months ago, police Lt. Joseph Sage said.

Parker Foster, 20, who now lives in New Sharon, is accused of leaving two dogs, five cats, two rabbits and a hamster behind when he moved out of a third-floor apartment at 121 Main St., Sage said. His girlfriend who moved with him is not charged.

According to Sage, the five cats were all deceased, with three having been cannibalized by other animals. The rabbits, which were kept in a cage, were also deceased.

The animals were not fed or given water and were not let outside to relieve themselves, he said. There were piles of animal feces in the apartment and neighbors complained to police about the smell.

Animal control officer Travis Conway was called in to assist, Sage said.

Foster denied the allegations of abuse in a telephone conversation with the Sun Journal. He claims he had been going back as frequently as possible to the apartment and was providing food and water for the animals. He has been taking care of his girlfriend, who has serious health issues and has been hospitalized often in the past year, he said.

Foster said he was last at the apartment about a 1 1/2 weeks ago and claims he made sure there was plenty of food and water. They picked up any animal feces and put them in bags, but he said the bags were ripped open when he went back.

It is a very complicated situation, he added.

Foster still pays rent on the apartment, Sage said.

Foster admitted to having had five cats at one time, but only two were left in the apartment. He did not see any evidence of cats being eaten and believes someone possibly took them. One cat was his and his girlfriend’s, while a former neighbor had asked them to watch her cat, but she never returned to pick it up, he said.

“We’re big animal lovers and would never intentionally hurt an animal,” he said, “They were doing the best they could.”

Foster said the landlord offered to take the dogs, one of which has always been skinny and the other being a medium-sized puppy, prior to police involvement.

Sage issued Foster seven summonses on seven felony counts of cruelty to animals for the ones that were abandoned and died. He also issued three summonses on three misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals for the three that were still alive and abandoned, he said.

The two dogs were malnourished and have health problems, Sage said. The hamster, which was also in a cage, was unscathed. All three have been cared for and have new homes, as Foster forfeited his right to own the animals.

A conviction on each of the felony cruelty to animal charges is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine. A conviction on each of the misdemeanor charges carries a maximum 364 days in prison and up to a $2,000 fine.

Foster is scheduled to appear on the charges on Jan. 5, 2022, at Lewiston District Court.

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