New Bedford Animal Cruelty Suspects Indicted by Grand Jury

Bristol County District Attorney Tom Quinn announced today that a Bristol County Grand Jury has indicted Sabrina Harding and Jake Brousseau on six counts each of animal cruelty connected to the June 10th discovery of dozens of dead or mistreated animals in their South Second Street, New Bedford, apartment.

The grand jury returned its indictments Thursday afternoon, and the indictments were officially filed with the Fall River Superior Court clerk’s office today.

Ms. Harding, 23, and Mr. Brousseau, 24, will now be arraigned on the new indictment in Superior Court on a date yet to be scheduled by the court. The defendants had previously been arraigned in New Bedford District Court shortly after their arrest last month. Ms. Harding had her district court bail set at $500, while Mr. Brousseau’s bail was set at $1,000.

The case was presented to the grand jury and will be prosecuted at the Superior Court level by Assistant District Attorney Erin Aiello, who specializes in Animal Abuse criminal cases. The charge of animal cruelty in the superior court carries a maximum state prison sentence of seven years in state prison.

“The allegations contained in the indictments are very disturbing and extremely offensive to a civilized society. Animals bring great comfort and companionship to many people and deserve to be treated in a humane way,” District Attorney Quinn said. “We will vigorously prosecute these types of cases. I look forward to the opportunity to address these charges in court.”

On the evening of June 10th, New Bedford Police received an anonymous 911 call regarding a foul odor emanating from an apartment at 596 South Second Street. Upon arrival, police found 46 animals in total, half of which were deceased. The surviving 23 animals were in various states of malnourishment. Of the 23 animals discovered to be deceased inside the apartment, 10 were birds, 11 were reptiles, two were rabbits and one chinchilla. The 23 surviving animals are comprised of 11 birds, six reptiles, five cats and one dog. Thanks to the the work of New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel, his staff, the Forever Paws Animal Shelter and other volunteers, 20 of the 23 surviving animals have already been adopted into new homes.

“We were very happy to hear the grand jury will make sure these defendants will have their cases heard at the Superior Court level,” said New Bedford Police Chief David Provencher. “These alleged crimes shocked all of us in the department and throughout the city. I am hopeful that some justice will come to the animal victims in this case.”

All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
Gregg Miliote
Director of Communications