Aug. 18-AMESBURY - How cold is too cold for dogs to be left inside a car? That's the question the attorney for a Merrimac man accused of animal cruelty wants to ask a veterinarian before the case is heard by a jury.
James D. Fuller, 56, of Emery Street was charged with two counts of animal cruelty in January after police say he left two Jack Russell terriers in his pickup for two hours. He was also charged with violating an abuse prevention order and cocaine possession after police said he had dinner with an acquaintance who obtained a restraining order against him months earlier.
In Newburyport District Court on Monday, Fuller's attorney, Anthony Papoulias, asked Judge Peter Doyle for $500 so he could interview a veterinarian about whether the dogs were in any danger.
Fuller left the dogs inside the car when the temperature outside was 30 degrees, according to an Amesbury police report.
Doyle demurred, saying he was not sure the money or the interview were necessary. He told Papoulias that assuming Fuller pleaded guilty to the drug and abuse prevention order violations, the animal cruelty charges would likely be continued without a finding for a period of time.
The judge took no action on Papoulias' request for money and scheduled Fuller's next court appearance for Sept. 25.
The charges stem from an incident in late January when someone noticed the two dogs in the truck and called police about 9 p.m. according to the police report.
When Officer Shawn O'Brien arrived, the windshield was covered with snow and he only saw the dogs by looking through the driver's side window. The truck was unlocked and a door slightly open.
O'Brien was able to confirm the truck belonged to Fuller and that a woman who lived at the house where he parked had a restraining order against him.
O'Brien spoke to Fuller's dinner date, who told the officer she thought she had dropped the restraining order. When asked for paperwork to confirm that, she was unable to give him any.
Fuller was eventually handcuffed and taken to the police station. The woman who Fuller visited brought the dogs into her home, according to O'Brien's report.
About the same time Fuller was arraigned, the woman asked Judge Allen Swan to dismiss the restraining order against him. Swan granted the request.
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