MFOA’s Franky’s Law Updates WABI 5 (Bangor) / WCSH-TV 6 (Portland) / BDN coverage of Franky cruelty case.



Justice for Franky group rallies in slain dog’s memory

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ELLSWORTH–  It’s been almost a year since the killing of a pug-terrier mix named Frankyand folks in Ellsworth are still waiting for his killers to face justice.

On Friday morning, nearly a dozen dog-loving members of the Justice for Franky group rallied outside halls of the Hancock County Courthouse.

“We want to try to right an injustice, I think that these two should be held accountable for their actions. And it’s been a year and we’re still waiting. We just want to make sure people don’t forget what happened to Franky. I think it’s important that again we address this and people be held accountable for their actions,” Justice for Franky member Susan Cirard said.

Franky was a 6-year-old pug-Boston terrier mix who was taken on Aug. 24 of last year from the home of six-generation lobsterman Phil Torrey.

The dog’s severely injured and shot body washed ashore in nearby Hancock a couple of days later wrapped in seven layers of black plastic.

Nathan Burke, 38, of Hancock and Justin Chipman, 22, of Steuben and Winter Harbor are each facing five charges in the dog’s death — burglary, theft, unauthorized use of property, aggravated criminal mischief and aggravated cruelty to animals.

Chipman was scheduled to go to trial near the end of May but his appearance was postponed and currently, there are no new court dates scheduled for either of the men.

“I understand that the legal system has to do what they have to do. But again we don’t want it to get swept under the rug because the longer things go by, people forget about them. This is something you really shouldn’t forget about,” Cirard said.

Group members said they won’t rest until Burke and Chipman are behind bars and they will be at every court hearing until it’s over.

Folks demand justice for dog killed in Winter Harbor home invasion–558055321.html?fbclid=IwAR1WKQpaZNPApreDfcvjCs14ivbWoaWo1J3Gl-58M16v9APoEgexRtoYU2Q

ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Protestors showed up at the Hancock County Courthouse Friday to demand justice for Franky the dog.

It’s been nearly a year since Franky was stolen from Philip Torrey in Winter Harbor and murdered.

Nathan Burke of Steuben and Justin Chipman of Winter Harbor have been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.

They’re free on bail.

The dog’s remains were found wrapped in garbage bags.

Becky Sutherland, Organizer, “We are just out here because we want to keep it alive, we don’t want it to get swept under the rug. I always knew the justice system was slow-going but this is ridiculous that they are stretching it out as long as they have and nothing has been done. Something should be done. I mean, here these two gentlemen are walking out on the streets free and I think it might bring some closure to Phil when something happens as well.”

The protestors say they’ll stand outside the courthouse each month until justice has been served.

‘Franky’s Law’ would give animals legal advocates in cruelty cases

Courtsey of Phillip Torrey | BDN

Franky, a dog owned by Winter Harbor resident Phillip Torrey, allegedly was kidnapped and killed while Torrey traveled out of state in August 2018.

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff • May 1, 2019 4:09 pm


A bill that proposes creating a court advocate for the victims in animal cruelty cases would be named for Franky, the Boston terrier-pug mix stolen from his Winter Harbor home and killed last year, if passed into law.

LD 1442, based on a Connecticut law, would allow judges to appoint volunteer lawyers and students at the University of Maine School of Law “to represent the interests of justice,” but not the animals themselves.

The advocates would monitor court proceedings; review records on animals’ condition from animal control officers, veterinarians and law enforcement officers; and make recommendations to judges.

About 30 people either submitted written testimony or attended a public hearing before the Legislature’s judiciary committee Wednesday morning. Those testifying did not include Franky’s owner, Phil Torrey of Winter Harbor.

Democratic Rep. Donna Bailey of Saco, the judiciary committee’s House chair, sponsored the legislation.

The vast majority of people testifying said they supported the bill, including the University of Connecticut School of Law professor who advocated for the comparable bill in that state that led to Desmond’s Law, which took effect in 2016.

“Desmond’s Law was created in response to a confluence of factors: Connecticut’s historical under-enforcement of anti-cruelty laws, recognition of animal sentience, acknowledgement of the link between violence to animals and violence to humans, need to provide law students with experiential learning opportunities, and a tragic animal cruelty case involving a dog named Desmond,” wrote Jessica Rubin, an assistant clinical professor of law and director of the Legal Practice Program at the UConn School of Law.

Desmond was a shelter dog who was starved, beaten and strangled to death in Branford, Connecticut, in 2012, according to the Hartford Courant. The prosecutor recommended prison time for the offender, but the judge imposed a sentence that allowed the charges to be dismissed if he completed certain requirements.

Rubin cited statistics showing that 80 percent of the animal cruelty cases filed in Connecticut courts were dimissed between 2007 and 2017.

Rhode Island also allows court advocates to be appointed in animal cruelty cases.

Portland attorney Bonnie Martinolich, testifying for Maine Friends of Animals, told the panel that the state has strong animal cruelty statutes but limited resources to enforce them. She and others cited data linking animal abuse to domestic violence.

“What if we could break that link and stop animal abusers from becoming human abusers?” she said.

A former animal control officer for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the law would benefit small municipalities by shifting some of an animal control officer’s responsibilities to volunteers.

But support was not universal. The American Kennel Club and the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners opposed the bill.

Liam Hughes, director of the state’s Animal Welfare Program in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said the volunteer advocate program would be unnecessary. His office investigates animal cruelty cases and trains animal control officers and police to gather evidence that can be presented in court.

Investigators from the Animal Welfare Program and animal control officers act as advocates for animals in cruelty cases, Hughes said. Plus, he said the advocates’ role — as representing “the interests of justice” — would be unclear.

“I’m not sure what that language means,” he said.

Hughes said that his office is still working on the case of Franky the dog.

The Hancock County grand jury last month indicted the two men accused of breaking into Torrey’s home, taking Franky, then killing him on burglary, aggravated cruelty to animals and other charges.

Nathan Burke, 38, of Hancock and Justin Chipman, 23, of Steuben are each also facing additional charges of theft, unauthorized use of property and aggravated criminal mischief. Both are being held at the Hancock County Jail after the revocation of bail.

They are scheduled to arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday at the Hancock County courthouse in Ellsworth.



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