Two Greenfield residents face animal cruelty charges

Conrad, a 5½-year-old pit bull mix from Greenfield, is in the care of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Conrad, a 5½-year-old pit bull mix from Greenfield, is in the care of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MSPCA-ANGELL

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

For the Recorder

Published: 08-18-2023 7:57 PM

GREENFIELD — Residents Yarras P. Fletcher, 33, and Aliah K. Rivera, 25, are each facing two counts of animal cruelty, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) announced on Friday.

According to a police report filed Aug. 8 by Sgt. William Loiselle with the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement Department, Greenfield Health Department Director Jennifer Hoffman and Inspector Nicole Ducharme reported to the Colrain Street house on July 12 after several prior visits to condemn the apartment for its poor condition. When they saw Conrad, a roughly 5½-year-old pit bull mix, walk out of the apartment, Ducharme “could see his whole spine and ribs, as well as sores on his back and feet,” the report states. She then contacted the Greenfield Police Department.

Police drove Conrad to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter in Turners Falls before he was transferred to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital (VESH) in South Deerfield.

Witnesses who live nearby allegedly told police they had seen Fletcher beat Conrad numerous times, as well as kick him down the back stairs of the second-floor apartment. According to the police report, one witness also noticed a cut on Conrad’s back, “as if he had been cut with a knife.” Additionally, the witnesses claim Fletcher and Rivera sometimes left the apartment for weeks at a time without someone coming to care for Conrad.

Doctors at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter and VESH reported that Conrad was underweight, malnourished and suffering from a skin disease, a previous fracture in the leg, and an enlarged heart from neglect and long-term cardiac stress.

“Based upon the complete physical exam and diagnostics performed at the time of this patient’s visit to our facility on Wednesday, July 12, it is my expert opinion that this patient was neglected, and as a result, suffering,” reads the medical opinion from Dr. Courtney Codd that is included in the report.

When Loiselle and Greenfield Police Officer Patricia West questioned Rivera on July 18 about Conrad, she reportedly said she had been looking for a new home for the dog “but didn’t want him to go somewhere and be killed” and “gave her dog what she could” from the food pantry, Loiselle’s report reads. After claiming Conrad’s skin condition was the manifestation of a chicken allergy and admitting to leaving the apartment for two weeks, Rivera consented to surrender Conrad to the MSPCA. He was taken to the MSPCA’s Boston Adoption Center.

Greenfield Police Officer Jedadiah Henry also spoke with Fletcher on July 18. According to Loiselle’s report, Fletcher claimed he was “struggling to care for the dog.”

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Veterinarians in the Boston Adoption Center clinic evaluated Conrad shortly after his arrival.

“It appears that Conrad’s rear left leg, tibia and fibula were all broken in the past and never treated, so they healed on their own,” Director of Adoption Centers and Programs Mike Keiley said in a statement from MSPCA. “We also found 20 small rocks in his stomach, which luckily have passed on their own and didn’t need to be surgically removed.”

While in the care of the MSPCA, Conrad had dental surgery and treatment for his skin and ears. He was also put on a careful feeding plan to help him gain weight.

“Conrad was incredibly skinny when he came to us,” Keiley said. “On a scale of one to nine, with one being extremely emaciated and nine being obese, he was only a two.”

According to the MSPCA, the criminal investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who is interested in adopting Conrad can visit the MSPCA’s Boston Adoption Center during open hours, Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. They may also submit an adoption inquiry at bit.ly/3YEN2dS.