Police: Dogs were caged in filthy conditions; owner faces cruelty charges


PITTSFIELD — The three dogs were in small cages, and each had large amounts of feces on it, according to a police report.

When police officer Jeffrey Arena entered the home, he was overcome by the stench of waste.

"The odor was so foul and so strong that I nearly gagged when entering and could only remain in the household for short periods of time," he wrote in his report about the incident.

Matthew Ott, 25, the dogs' owner, is now facing three counts of animal cruelty.

Arena was sent to the home at 57 Berkley St. on the morning of July 3 for a report of dogs barking.

Police were let inside the home and noted the living area was in "complete disarray," with items strewn about the house, stale food on the floor, dirty and grimy counter tops and standing water in the sink that appeared to have, "dirt, mold or fungus in it," according to the report. "The living conditions were poor at best."

The dogs — two males and a female — appeared to have been routinely sitting in their own feces for "extended periods of time," and did not appear to ever be washed or cleaned, based on the staining of the fur on their hindquarters.

Arena estimated there were "multiple" weeks worth of animal waste, "as there was far too much to have been from a single day," and the dogs did not appear to have been provided with water.

Police were told the dogs were caged at all times, apart from being let outside for approximately eight hours each day.

Police said they found no evidence of three dogs being outside for long periods of time.

The dogs were removed and taken to the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter until the city Board of Health can determine the home is safe enough for them to be returned, the report said.

The conditions of the house were poor enough that city Code Enforcement Inspector Mark Blaisdell was called in to evaluate the property.

Blaisdell told the Ott family he would be filing a note of intention to condemn the house.

Attempts to reach Blaisdell on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Ott pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday before Judge William O'Grady.

He was released on personal recognizance with the condition he have no pets apart from a pair of lizards and is due back in court on Sept. 7 for a pretrial hearing.

A conviction of animal cruelty carries a penalty of up to seven years in state prison or 2 1/2 years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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