A Middleton man who has been convicted of multiple counts of cruelty to animals will never be able to own animals again.
Albert Colburn, 80, was sentenced Tuesday morning at Strafford County Superior Court in Dover.
Colburn was convicted in February on two counts of cruelty to animals after he failed to provide adequate nutrition and shelter for his dogs. Authorities found one malnourished dog and two dead dogs at his home on Route 153 on Feb. 21, 2019.
One of the dogs had wood shavings in its system, and prosecutors say the animal was trying to eat anything available to prevent itself from starving to death.
Colburn had previously been convicted on June 23, 2010, of 11 counts of animal cruelty at Rochester District Court. He was banned from owning or caring for animals for three years at that time.
Court records from 2010 show that Colburn’s pigs were maintaining their weight by eating the body parts of dead animals around the yard in what was described as extreme hoarding conditions.
During his trial this winter, Colburn took the witness stand and insisted that he fed his dogs twice a day, and at noontime they each got a bone. He maintained that even though there was snow and ice built up in front of his outside kennel where the dogs lived, he had cut holes in the wire so he could feed them.
Judge Steven Houran said on Tuesday morning that because Colburn still believes he took care of his animals despite their gruesome deaths, he will not give him another chance.
“I don’t question Mr. Colburn’s belief as to his ability to care for dogs properly but there are two sets of convictions disproving that he has the ability to act properly,” Houran said. “I am not going to give him a third chance.”
Colburn received a prison sentence of one to three years, which is suspended for seven years. He also will be on probation for three years.
After the hearing, Assistant County Attorney Patrick Conroy said the message to the public is that “owning animals is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.”
Conroy told Houran during the hearing that he believes this sentence will provide an adequate deterrent for Colburn, who was still arguing on Tuesday morning that he should be able to take possession of two dogs he owns that are currently living in Maine.