HOPKINTON (CBS) – The owner of a popular Hopkinton kennel is facing a felony animal cruelty charge over the conditions the dogs were allegedly kept in.

Police said a felony charge has been filed against Louise Coleman, director of Greyhound Friends.

“It was sort of a stunning development. So we’re just coping the best we can and complying the best we can,” said Coleman.

kennel2 Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Director Of Hopkinton Kennel

Louise Coleman, founder of Greyhound Friends. (WBZ-TV)

A cease and desist order has been issued against the facility, and the kennel license has been suspended by the Town of Hopkinton.

“Animal neglect or cruelty will not be tolerated in Hopkinton. Every allegation will be thoroughly investigated and any person believed to have committed abuse or neglect will be prosecuted,” Board of Selectmen chairman Brian Herr said in a statement.

Herr later told WBZ-TV, “We have to get to the bottom of it and we will.”

Alan Borgal of Animal Rescue League Boston said the charge was brought forth after several inspections revealed “continuous unsanitary conditions.”

All dogs from Greyhound Friends kennel have been monitored by the Hopkinton animal control officer, Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Animal Rescue League.

The organizations will continue overseeing conditions at the kennel.

kennel1 Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Director Of Hopkinton Kennel

Kennels inside Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton. (WBZ-TV)

Greyhound Friends employee John Mottern pointed out areas of the kennels that he said were previously in need of work, but have since been addressed.

“When you run thousands of dogs through here, there’s wear and tear,” said Mottern. “So they really did need to be upgraded. Things liker rust down here, and some of these had started to rust away. I think the concern was that maybe a dog would get hurt. No dog was ever hurt by these kennels. But they were rusty and needed to be replaced.”

Hopkinton’s Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on March 4 to determine the future of the kennel’s license.

Coleman said that despite the criminal charges, the community has been supportive of the kennel.

“I thank everyone for their support. People have been very supportive, very giving. That’s very encouraging,” said Coleman.


Comments (13)
  1. Kate Savage says:

    This really is a witch hunt and there is definitely a more than a whiff of greed for the land Greyhound Friends sits on. I am trying to track down more information as I have read twice that one of the investigators (or instigators ?) is also a real estate agent. I have been adopting from Greyhound Friends for 28 years and know Louise well. She would never, ever abuse or neglect a dog. I was so confident in her and the mission of Greyhound Friends that when my husband and I married, we asked for people to give donations to Greyhound Friends instead of giving us gifts.

    The problem with the Animal Rescue League being involved in this investigation is that they are not unbiased. When Louise trusted them to take overflow dogs, they put them down without her permission. One time when one of the overflow dogs was there, Louise called me to see if I could foster him. I walked the 0.5 miles from my house to the ARL with my two dogs to do a quick intro. When I was getting good but not perfect interactions, I asked if I could take him to my house for 5 minutes to see my nervous dog would relax and accept him (it was hard to tell if was the environment or the dog that had her tenser than normal). The manager refused, she said if I took the dog off ARL property they would not take him back. I was shocked as this was so obviously not in the dog’s best interest. I asked again saying I really did not want to have to worry about a dog fight and she again refused. I saw NO compassion for me, the potential foster and more importantly, not for the dogs. All of that happened before I heard the ARL put down Greyhound Friend overflow dogs without bothering to contact Louise. They didn’t even call her when they destroyed dogs, so I don’t see how you can they are unbiased.

    1. John Casella says:

      Kate, this is the first thought that went through my mind when I heard this. Someone wants the land and has many people in their pocket to apply pressure and keep moving the goal post for Louise.

  2. I have respected Louise Coleman for all the many years of her endless work in placing Greyhounds needing adoption. I have known her to be ethical, honest and deeply committed to her work. She has my full love, support and friendship. She has been a voice for these gentle dogs when few chose to speak up or step up. If there were issues at the kennel that needed to be addressed……then they need to be addressed but lets not start throwing out charges with words like “felony” because that is disingenuous and misleading. I’d be curious to know which “residents of Hopkinton” were concerned. If you want to know what motivates people, just follow the money trail. There’s little money in placing Greyhounds so…… look elsewhere.
    Scotti Devens, Save The Greyhound Dogs, Inc

  3. My son got the best birthday present ever when his friends who had adopted a greyhound brought him to meet Louise at Greyhound Friends six years ago. Maggie (greyhound) and I have been all over Massachusetts and whenever we run into another greyhound, they are usually from GHF and the owners sing the praises of Louise. Many have adopted from Louise for decades. I’ll be at the town meeting next Tuesday in support.

  4. Never, never, never would Louise put a dog in unsanitary or unsafe conditions. Hopkinton, I wonder what is going on in your town/real estate market?

  5. Deborah Ross says:

    If the license has been revoked, has the site been closed? Where are the dogs? Do they need temp fosters? Is the meeting on March 14? If so, where and can “outsiders” (non-Hopkinton residents) attend the meeting?)

    1. Kate Savage says:

      The dogs are all safe. Non-residents of Hopkinton can attend the meeting but I don’t think they will be able to speak.

      1. Deborah Ross says:

        Thanks for the info – when and where will the meeting be held – and will it be held with the storm?
        Two of our guys came from there and my friend used to teach new owners dog basic handling. We were surprised to hear about this – didn’t know what was going on and are interested in the fate of the place, especially since we sent so many people there to inquire about a pet! How sad.

      2. Kate Savage says:

        The Tues 3-14 meeting has been canceled but the new date has not been set: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxFfd0aRbNooZXB3TlE5am5VSGZzNHIySWJydkNpUDhiU3FF/view

  6. If allegations are true, this is sad given the fantastic work GHF have done over the years.Both my greys have come from GHF and they were cared for well and ready for ‘retired’ life. However, I do wish people would look outside of this situation and focus some of the outcry against the racing industry that creates these issues and EXPECT others to clean up their mess. Louise has dedicated her life caring for these often fragile dogs and she deserves kudos for that.If this is the right time for her to step back and let someone (???) who can do it better, so be it, but while the tracks are still open this work is needed.

    1. Kate Savage says:

      My understanding is that the felony was for having the turn out yard not cleaned up one or two occasions over the course of several years – maybe 8 since the new regulations went into effect. I adopted my first dog 28 years ago and they only time I ever saw the yard not cleaned up was when dogs were being let out. What I have witnessed is that the yard was normally cleaned up several times a day.

  7. and the verdict was not guilty…. judge cunis noting that the prosecution fell far short in their case…. no surprise to those with direct exposure and interaction with greyhound friends…

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