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SUPREME COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS, ESSEX

Commonwealth v. Thorton
Massachusetts
Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873).

Case Details
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Summary:   The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog.  The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.

Judge Justice Morton delivered the opinion of the court.


Opinion of the Court:

Indictment alleging that Thomas Thornton, "having the charge and custody of a certain animal, to wit, a dog, did then and there knowingly and wilfully authorize and permit said dog to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering and cruelty, by then and there knowingly and wilfully suffering and permitting said dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by a certain other dog."
 
Before the jury was empanelled and sworn, and before trial, the defendant made in the Superior Court a motion to dismiss the indictment, upon the grounds that no offence known to the law was therein set forth, and that the offence intended to be charged therein was not fully, plainly and substantially set forth.
 
Pitman, J., overruled the motion, and the defendant, after conviction, alleged exceptions.

Morton, J. The indictment alleges, in the words of the statute, that the defendant, having the charge and custody of a dog, did "knowingly and wilfully authorize and permit said dog to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering and cruelty." St. 1869, c. 344, § 2. It further alleges that he did this by "knowingly and wilfully suffering and permitting said dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by a certain other dog." The indictment thus alleges, with certainty, and without ambiguity, the acts charged against the defendant, and we have no doubt these acts constitute an offence within the spirit and letter of the statute.

Exceptions overruled.

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