TAUNTON — A defense attorney for a Berkley horse breeder charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty is asking prosecutors to release “recorded conversations that are related to the case.”
“We’re looking for additional documents and reports that are available,” said Christopher Dearborn, a lawyer with Rankin & Sultan, a Lexington-based law firm.
Dearborn made his request for the information in Taunton District Court on Tuesday during a pre-trial hearing that involves Berkley resident Gary Bolger, 50.
Judge Daniel Hourihan agreed to continue the hearing until Oct. 11 in response to Dearborn’s request.
Bristol County District Attorney's office spokesperson Gregg Miliote said Dearborn’s desire for additional prosecution information “are standard requests during a pre-trial phase.”
“Defendants are entitled to file motions for discovery, and we routinely provide those requests,” he said.
Dearborn said the information sought from prosecutors would help him and Bolger “make fully informed decisions about resolving or litigating the charges.”
“We are focusing on trying to make fully informed decisions by myself and my client on what to do next,” he said.
Dearborn said Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Abbey Barr “has been very professional in her response” to him.
“The prosecutor’s office is making a good faith effort with providing what I’m entitled to,” he added.
Animal cruelty charges 'based on negligence, or failure.'
The animal cruelty charges were filed against Bolger by the Animal Rescue League of Boston following a joint investigation with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Investigators say the charges against Bolger are based primarily on "negligence or failure to care for the ponies properly.”
MSPCA Police Lt. Alan Borga previously said Berkley Police got a phone call on March 6 from a neighborhood resident about a “downed pony” at Bolger’s farm at 33 South Main St., where he lives.
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According to Borga, investigators rescued nine ponies and found three dead ponies and a dead horse at Bolger’s farm.
Bolger could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison on each of the cruelty charges if a jury finds him guilty.
He was arraigned on the animal cruelty charges in Taunton District Court on May 18, and Hourihan allowed him to remain free on personal recognizance.
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The judge ordered Bolger not to possess any animals and to continue receiving mental health treatment while the court case was pending.
Ponies under care by MSPCA, ARL
Investigators previously reported Bolger agreed to surrender nine remaining ponies at his farm to the MSPCA and Animal Rescue League.
MSPCA Chief Communications officer Rob Halpin said staffers provided care to six Connemara ponies at Nevins Farm in Methuen.
"We’re happy to announce that all of the Connemara ponies in the care of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm have been adopted into new homes," he added.
An Animal Rescue League summary previously stated their workers were providing care for three ponies at a shelter in Dedham, and they planned to have them adopted.
ARL officials could not be reached for comment by the Gazette about the ponies' health or adoption status.
Send your news tips to reporter Ed Baker by email at EBaker@tauntongazette.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Taunton Daily Gazette.
This article originally appeared on The Taunton Daily Gazette: Berkley horse farm: Defense asks for records in animal cruelty case