Exeter couple pleads not guilty to animal cruelty charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An Exeter couple faced a judge Wednesday after Rhode Island State Police said they found more than a dozen dogs living in deplorable conditions at their home.

Donald and Kathleen Perkins pleaded not guilty to 17 misdemeanor counts of cruelty and/or neglect to animals.

State police said they were called to the Perkins’ Ten Rod Road home by a neighbor who complained about barking dogs and said she hadn’t been able to reach the couple for three days.

In their search earlier this month, police claim they found 16 dogs in small crates, with little or no food or water and standing in their own filth.

According to state police, the Perkins operate Ceile Kennel, which was previously investigated for complaints by Animal Control and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). An affidavit obtained by Eyewitness News revealed the couple received several warnings to clean up their house if they wanted to keep the animals.

The couple declined to comment outside of court.

The dogs and a cat that was also living at the home are being cared for by several different shelters as state police continue to investigate.

The Perkins were released on $1,000 personal recognizance. They’re due back in court Jan. 13.

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