BANGOR – A Dover-Foxcroft man accused of cruelty to animals after authorities seized 92 dogs and puppies from his home in April 2005 pleaded no contest to the charge Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court.
Mark Hagelin, 42, also pleaded no contest to perjury, criminal mischief, failure to sign a traffic ticket, and to eight counts of violation of condition of release.
Justice Andrew Mead sentenced a shackled Hagelin to 120 days on the charge of cruelty to animals and to 90 days on all of the other cases to be served concurrently, with credit for time already served. He also was placed on probation for 20 years with the stipulation that he possess no more than one spayed or neutered dog.
Asked by the judge if the negotiated sentence hammered out by Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy and his court-appointed attorney, Randy Day of Garland, was acceptable, Hagelin said, “I’ve got no choice in the matter; I will go along with it.”
In response, Mead reminded Hagelin that the matter could be sent to trial.
“I’m sick of it,” Hagelin replied.
The defendant said he has been incarcerated in the Piscataquis County Jail for more than 130 days and wanted to get the matter over with. In contrast to earlier appearances, Hagelin appeared clean shaven and his hair was cropped short.
Hagelin was returned Friday afternoon to Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft, from where he was released.
The cruelty-to-animals charge, which could have carried a maximum of up to five years in jail, resulted after police executed a search warrant in April 2005 for the home Hagelin shared with his parents, Carol and the late Burton Hagelin Sr., on Gray Hill Road, and a kennel on their property.
State and local authorities said the 92 puppies and dogs were not watered or fed properly. Floors in the residence were found to be covered with dog feces and urine, authorities said. The animals were seized and later put up for adoption.
The perjury charge was filed after Hagelin testified during a later hearing that he had not gone to Appleton with his mother to purchase another dog. His mother testified, however, that her son had accompanied her on the trip. The violations of condition of release were imposed after Hagelin repeatedly was found with a dog – a direct violation of his bail conditions on the cruelty-to-animals charge.
“We feel that this is a reasonable disposition,” Almy said Friday in court. He said Hagelin had not been cruel to the animals in the sense that he had kicked or hurt them; rather, the defendant was unable to care for the number of dogs he had. The prosecutor said two puppies were found dead on the property when authorities conducted their search.
Hagelin got in over his head, Day said in the courtroom. The defense attorney characterized the situation it as an “unfortunate case.”
Regarding his constitutional rights which he said have been violated, Hagelin told Mead that authorities conducted an illegal search of the property he shared with his parents; that his parents were financially responsible for the dogs and not him; that he could prove he had purchased dog food at that time of the search; and that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss.
Hagelin said outside the courtroom that he now would be “going after the state for the wrongful death of my father.”
Hagelin Sr. also was charged with cruelty to animals, but the charge was dropped when he died in October 2005. The son said his family not only lost their dogs, but later lost their home and 25 acres because of the case.
“My father’s blood is on their hands and I can’t forgive that,” Hagelin said. He said he planned to leave the state as soon as he had filed the lawsuits.
“I don’t feel I’ve gotten justice,” he said.
Almy said Hagelin has been ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution, but because he has no money, it is unlikely it will be paid.