SALEM — Former dog trainer Jason Gentry of Swampscott will not have to spend time in jail but will not be allowed to work with dogs for the foreseeable future after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Salem Superior Court Judge James Lang imposed a sentence of 2 1/2 years in jail with the sentence suspended for three years, according to Essex District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball Monahan.
Gentry, 38, pleaded guilty in March to 12 counts of animal cruelty and a single count of operating an unlicensed kennel in Lynn.
Gentry received three years probation on five of the cruelty counts, with all the sentences running concurrently, according to the Superior Court Clerk’s office in Salem. Gentry was assessed a $50 fine payable to the city of Lynn for running an unlicensed kennel where Gentry trained dogs.
Prosecutors filed a “nolle prosequi” on four counts of animal cruelty relating to ear cropping, meaning they would no longer pursue these charges, according to a cooperation agreement.
As part of his probation conditions, the judge ordered Gentry “not to have possession, control, own or reside with any animals except” for four dogs in his immediate family.
As part of his plea deal, Gentry testified earlier this summer against a breeder and former business partner from New York.
The case revolved around what Lang had previously described as the “indisputably cruel and inhumane way” two 20-month-old puppies were hanged to death. Their bodies were later found in a trash bag behind a gas station in Revere in November 2014, about three weeks after they died.
Gentry’s co-defendant, Dominick Donovan, 54, was sentenced in July to four years in jail on six counts of animal cruelty in that case.
During that trial, Gentry testified he watched Donovan hang the so-called “Donovan pinschers,” named Livid and Gotti, from a cable until they died inside Gentry’s kennel on Nov. 2, 2014. He also testified that Donovan had cropped the ears of four other puppies without anesthesia. Donovan had denied the allegations and pointed to inconsistencies in Gentry’s accounts.
Prosecutors alleged Donovan hung the dogs because he did not think they met his breed standards due to health and behavioral issues.
A third dog, named Wotan, was given Valium and put in a dog crate to be taken back to Long Island. When Donovan arrived in New York, the dog had died, prosecutors have said.
In March, prosecutors said investigators also learned that Gentry had held the puppies, whose muzzles and paws had been wrapped with duct tape, while Donovan used a pair of scissors to crop their ears, without anesthesia, said the prosecutor. One of those puppies also died.
When investigators visited Gentry’s kennel, prosecutors said, they found more puppies and dogs living in squalid conditions.
Lang on Wednesday imposed a number of probation conditions on Gentry, including barring Gentry from having, controlling or living with dogs, except four: Sabooboo, an old English bulldog owned by Gentry’s girlfriend and cared for by their son; Roman, a boerboel, or South African mastiff, also owned by Gentry’s girlfriend and cared for by their son; a German shepherd named Rex owned by Gentry’s girlfriend and cared for by Gentry’s two daughters; and Fade, a mini bulldog owned by Gentry’s girlfriend.
Other conditions of probation include Gentry’s home being subject to inspection by the probation department, animal control, law enforcement, the Animal Rescue League or the MSPCA if he is suspected of violating the terms of his probation. Gentry was also barred operating any business – either personally or with someone else – involving animals. He was also barred from working with or volunteering where animals are present.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.