Owner of local dog kennel charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty

The owner of a local dog kennel has been charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty as a result of a joint investigation after a group of animals were found walking along Route 1 in Rowley last month.

Police launch investigation into North Shore kennel after animals found walking along highway

April Bernhardt, 40, of Rowley who owns the kennel, turned herself into the Police Department on Wednesday morning and was charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty by a custodian and one count of animal cruelty.

On August 27, the Rowley Police Department responded to a report of four goats walking along the Massachusetts highway and worked with Animal Control to round up the goats, which had not been reported missing.

When officials returned the goats to their home at the Hydrant Regency on Newburyport Turnpike, officers noticed some “concerning issues” at the kennel.

Due to a follow-up investigation by police and animal control, the kennel was shut down on Aug. 29, and the animals being housed on the property have been returned to their respective owners, while the goats are in the custody of the MSPCA.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Evidence Response Team assisted the investigation last week, helping to search the property for evidence of deceased dogs.

Bernhardt will be arraigned Wednesday in Newburyport District Court.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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