15 dogs, 2 cats found inside van in Tewksbury
TEWKSBURY, Mass. -- A disturbing discovery at a Tewksbury motel revealed more than a dozen animals in dangerous conditions.
Animal cruelty charges were filed against Margo Nickerson. She appeared in court on Wednesday.
Police said the 71-year-old woman left two cats and 15 dogs locked in her van at the height of midday heat. One of the dogs didn’t make it.
“When the police opened it up I was like…there’s 15 more dogs,” said one man.
Guests said they spotted Nickerson carrying the dead dog into her room and alerted hotel management.
“She was crying. She brought him inside. But it was too late,” said one witness.
“The car there was like at least two inches, three inches, of this feces all like…trash…all in the van was like disgusting,” said Shyke Jarteh, a motel guest.
The MSPCA, Animal Control and police responded to the incident. Nickerson was arrested on the scene.
“When the officer opened the vehicle, the dogs inside were in real bad shape. They all looked like they were suffering from heat exhaustion,” said Chief Timothy Sheehan of the Tewksbury Police Department.
Guests said some of the dogs were foaming at the mouth from dehydration and were too weak to move.
“They couldn’t even stand. The cops were like holding them up and they’d just fall back down,” said James Douglas, motel guest.
Guests said the owner seemed oblivious to just how terrible the conditions were for her animals.
“Inside the van she has the bench seats and she had kennels in the bottom in the back and the middle…the kennels were stacked on top of each other,” said Douglas.
Nickerson is staying at the motel on Tuesday night after posting bail.
(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)