SALISBURY — As the case against Seacoast Canine owner Jennifer Ford continued in Newburyport District Court on Tuesday, a police report filed at the time of her Aug. 15 arraignment sheds more light on the charges cruelty to animals that she faces.
Ford, 34, of Byfield, faces three counts of animal cruelty but has denied the charges, writing in an email to clients that at ‘no time’ did she abuse or harm dogs.
At arraignment, Ford was deemed dangerous to society and her alleged victims, but released on $5,000 cash bail with several conditions.
Conditions include staying at least 100 feet away from working/working animals; not work with or own any animals other than those she currently owns (three dogs, two cats, six goats, four alpacas, and chickens); allow law enforcement, animal control and/or the MSPCA at the property to enforce the court order; do not mistreat any animal; and stay away from and have no contact with witnesses except for written communications on employment/business matters.
Seacoast Canine has two locations, one in Salisbury and the other in Byfield.
The alleged incidents were filmed, shared on social media and broadcast on television. Ford said the videos, which show her repeatedly kicking a dog in the stomach, and in another video grabbing another animal by the neck and kicking it into a kennel, lacked context .
Tuesday’s court proceedings, held by videoconference, ended in two minutes and saw Ford’s attorney, Joseph Brodigan, request more time to obtain information from the district attorney’s office. Ford is due back in court, also by videoconference, on June 28.
Acting on an animal abuse report from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Salisbury Police opened an investigation which uncovered three alleged incidents dating back to 2021.
Much of the case against Ford stems not only from the two videos, but also from interviews with three former and current Seacoast Canine employees. They were interviewed by Salisbury Police Detective Brian Verney in late March and early April.
“Each witness was concerned about possible retaliation by Ford and wanted to remain anonymous,” Verney wrote in his report.
The first witness detailed another incident when Ford lifted a customer’s dog by the neck and pushed it against a wall before dragging it into a severed area called an “airlock”. Ford did this to prevent the dog from attacking one of his own dogs. The incident prompted a staff member to submit a resignation letter to supervisors, according to Verney’s report.
Another witness told Verney of three incidents involving Ford mishandling or injuring a dog, including one when Ford grabbed another dog by the neck and dragged it out of the building.
“Witness 3 said they had been concerned about Ford’s behavior for some time, but were focused on ‘doing his job the right way.’ Witness 3 said Ford’s treatment of the dogs was constant and not a one-time incident,” Verney wrote in his report.
A phone call to Brodigan seeking comment was not returned.
Dave Rogers is a reporter for the Daily News in Newburyport. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.