Man faces animal cruelty charges after witness says he punched dog 30 times

Clemintine, a 1 1/2 year old yellow Lab dog, was allegedly punched at least 30 times while sitting in a vehicle at Forest River Park in April (courtesy)

SALEM — A Marblehead man is facing charges that he repeatedly punched a 1 1/2 year old yellow Labrador Retriever named "Clemintine" while the two were in a car at Forest River Park in Salem last spring. 

Kenneth McLean, 48, of 80 Bayview Road, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of animal cruelty in a complaint stemming from the alleged April 6 incident. 

McLean, who was arraigned in the case last month, was in Salem District Court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing in his case, where a prosecutor requested access to veterinary records for Clemintine, the yellow Lab dog. 

On that afternoon, a Salem woman called police to report seeing a man in a Chrysler PT Cruiser punching a dog approximately 30 times, before driving away, according to a police report.  

Police ran the license plate of the car, which the woman had given them, and learned that it was registered to an elderly Marblehead woman. 

The caller later gave a more detailed interview to police, but could not identify McLean in a photo array, instead choosing another person. 

A Marblehead police detective then went to the home and spoke with the woman, in her late 80s, who said McLean is her stepson. Sgt. Sean Brady also noticed two dogs in the home, a gray Terrier and a yellow Lab. The woman said the yellow Lab belonged to McLean, and had turned one in January. 

Brady noted that the dog appeared to be active and in "good overall health." 

A few days later, Salem police detective Charlene Sano made contact again with the woman, looking for McLean. 

The woman told Sano that McLean and the dog, Clemintine, love each other. But she also said that after she spoke to McLean about the earlier visit from Brady, McLean told her he had to "smack" Clemintine in the "behind" to get her into the car. 

The woman called back to tell Sano that McLean had gone to the police station in Marblehead, and was told they did not know what he was talking about, so he left. 

McLean did not return a series of calls from Sano over the next several weeks. In May, after consulting with an assistant district attorney who handles animal cruelty cases in Essex County, Sano requested a warrant to be issued. 

Prosecutor Lynsey Legier on Wednesday requested a court order to access Clemintine's veterinary records from a local vet as well as the Animal Rescue League. 

A status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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