Former trainer convicted in animal abuse case sent to jail

·3 min read

Oct. 16—SALEM — A former dog trainer charged with animal cruelty, who had originally avoided jail time by making a deal to testify against his co-defendant, was ordered to serve 18 months in custody Friday.

A Salem Superior Court judge concluded that Jason Gentry, 41, had flouted the terms of his three-year probation sentence, including a requirement that he not own or live with any new dogs apart from the ones he owned at the time of his original sentencing in 2018.

Gentry and a Long Island man named Dominick Donovan were charged with multiple animal cruelty counts after the discovery of two mixed-breed puppies that were found dead inside a trash bag behind a Revere gas station in 2014.

Donovan, 57, was sentenced in 2018 to four years in prison. He lost an appeal of his conviction in August.

Gentry, in exchange for his testimony blaming Donovan for the deaths of the two dogs and for illegally cropping the ears of four puppies during a visit to Gentry's Lynn kennel in 2014, was sentenced to probation.

The two men had begun a business arrangement under which Gentry would be allowed to breed and sell "Donovan pinschers," a type of guard dog Donovan was trying to establish.

Donovan had traveled to Salem with his family and several puppies and, Gentry claimed, was planning to pick up two older puppies, "Livid" and "Gotti," who didn't meet Donovan's "breed standard." Gentry told a jury in 2018 that Donovan then decided to hang the dogs inside Gentry's kennel, and then dropped the dogs in the trash at the Revere gas station on his way back to New York. The dogs were found weeks later.

In June, it came to the attention of his probation officer that Gentry was living in a home in West Peabody with at least two new dogs, after a child in the home was injured when the dogs got into a fight.

It was the first the probation department had heard that Gentry, who reported addresses in Salem and Swampscott, was actually living in Peabody, officials said. After an investigation found that none of his personal belongings were present at the addresses he reported to the officer, a probation violation complaint was filed in July — just weeks before Gentry would have wrapped up his three-year term.

Salem Superior Court Judge Diane Freniere on Friday revoked Gentry's probation and sentenced Gentry to serve an 18-month jail term on one of the animal cruelty counts. She also imposed separate 2 1/2 year jail terms on two other animal cruelty counts, but suspended those sentences and ordered that Gentry spend two more years on probation after his release from jail. If he violates any of the conditions of that period of probation, he could face returning to jail for another 2 1/2 years.

Freniere also ordered that Gentry not live with any animals, including the two new dogs, "Fade" and "Rico," while on probation.

The judge issued an explicit warning to Gentry: The court considers his home to be any place "where you put your head on a pillow any night."

She recommended that Gentry serve his sentence outside of Essex County.

Gentry's attorney, Ernest Stone, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@gloucestertimes.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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