Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Animal Thefts
Posted on May 21, 2010 - 12:54 PM
Suspects plead not guilty to animal thefts
By JAIME CONE / Brattleboro Reformer Staff
Thursday May 20, 2010
BRATTLEBORO -- There may have been no malice intended, but two young people who allegedly stole a miniature stallion, a giant rabbit and more than a dozen chickens from a home in Townshend are facing serious charges.
Steven Streeter, 18, of Brattleboro, and Corwin McAllister, 18, of Newfane, appeared in Windham District Court Tuesday. Both pleaded not guilty to charges of providing false information to a law enforcement officer and fatal animal cruelty. They were also charged with grand larceny and burglary, which are felonies.
Streeter is facing one additional charge of "animal cruelty- restraint" for the treatment of the miniature stallion.
The charge of grand larceny -- imposed due to the theft of the $900 horse -- carries a maximum penalty in Vermont of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Burglary is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Cruelty to animals and providing false information both carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Along with one minor, who is not identified because of his age, Streeter and McAllister allegedly entered the barn of Sara Bernard, who lives on Riverdale Road in Townshend, during the night of May 20.
Bernard noticed in the morning that her horses had been let loose from their stalls and were milling around outside the barn. When she entered the barn, she found that her miniature stallion, Hershey, was gone, along with her 25-pound Flemish giant rabbit and about two dozen chickens.
Some of the chickens were recovered on the Newfane Common that morning. According to the Windham County Sheriff’s Department, they were transported there by car and set free. The minor suspect allegedly told a sheriff’s deputy that Streeter put one chicken in a mail box. Several more chickens were later found dead.
A friend of McAllister and Streeter told Windham County Sheriff’s Deputy Roger Inman that the pair came to his house May 21. They allegedly told him they had "killed all the (remaining) chickens because they were loud," tied the pony to a street sign, and still had the rabbit in McAllister’s car, according to Inman’s affidavit.
McAllister allegedly admitted to Inman that he had taken the chickens to his house, and his dog had "gone after them."
He was afraid the noise of the chickens would wake his father, so he, Streeter and the minor killed them, he said. According to police documents, the minor confirmed that story, stating that six chickens were killed.
According to McAllister, Streeter moved the miniature horse himself, and when McAllister later inquired as to its whereabouts, Streeter told him he tied the tiny horse to a sign in Marlboro.
According to the affidavit, McAllister stated that he "freaked out," and on March 22, he and Streeter went back to Marlboro in an attempt to locate the horse. They stopped at two houses, McAllister said, before they found out the stallion had been returned to its owner.
Two walkers found it tethered next to the road, the sheriff’s deputy said.
Court documents indicate McAllister went back to Bernard’s farm March 23, stating that he was sorry and would do community service.
Inman wrote in his affidavit that the rabbit was recovered after McAllister gave it to a girl at Brattleboro Union High School on March 22. The girl and her father said they were planning on approaching the authorities because the circumstances surrounding the rabbit seemed odd. It was returned to Bernard that day.
Both McAllister and Streeter were released on conditions and will appear again in court at a later date. They are not allowed to enter the area of Bernard’s farm in Townshend and were ordered not to harass Bernard in any way.
Jaime Cone can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.