Hydrant Regency dog kennel owner in Rowley charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty

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ROWLEY – Following an FBI search last week, the owner of the Hydrant Regency dog kennel in Rowley has been charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty.

Rowley police announced Wednesday that the charges against owner April Bernhardt were the result of an investigation conducted with the MSPCA and Animal Rescue League of Boston. They said dozens of dogs were left in a storage trailer at the height of the summer heat wave without water or air conditioning and some with no room to turn around.

April Bernhardt.

CBS Boston

Animal control reported the “concerning issues” at the kennel while returning some goats that got loose and were walking on Route 1 on August 27. An investigation followed, and the FBI’s evidence response team was called to search the kennel for evidence of dead dogs, police said.

Bernhardt was at Newburyport District Court on Wednesday as the prosecutor described conditions in the trailer.

“The trailer had two windows and two running fans from each window, but no running AC. Again, that was 90.6 degrees inside that trailer. The officer actually left the building due to the heat, smell and noise,” the prosecutor said. “Dogs that were bigger in size did not appear to have enough room to stand up in the crates or turn around if they wished to stand.”

Thirty-seven dogs were reunited with their owners. Bernhardt’s attorney, Ted Cranney, said the conditions were not humane. “All the dogs when they were transferred to other kennels, it was not reported they were in distress that they were dehydrated…”

However, investigators said numerous people reported their dogs had worms, sores and limps. One fatality was reported.

The Hydrant Regency has been closed since August 29. The MSPCA took custody of the goats. Bernhardt posted $3,000 cash bail and was ordered not to possess any dogs.

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