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Court: Police Can Enter Home to Save Animals


By BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s highest court has ruled that police can under certain circumstances enter a home without a warrant to provide emergency help to an animal.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruling Friday stemmed from a 2011 case in which Lynn police went to a home after someone called to report two dead dogs on a neighbor’s property.

When police arrived, they also found one dog that was barely alive, with no food or water. When no one answered, police acted without a warrant to retrieve the dogs. The owner, Heather Duncan, was later charged with animal cruelty.

The justices were asked whether the case fit under the “emergency aid” provision to the U.S. and state constitutions, an exception that normally applies to people.

The court said police acted appropriately in this case.

A message was left with Duncan’s lawyer.


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