Vermont man accused of animal cruelty pleads no contest

MORRISVILLE, Vt. (AP) — A 50-year-old Vermont man has pleaded no contest after humane workers say they found dozens of malnourished animals inside his home living in boxes and cages.

Russell Goodell, of Eden, entered the plea agreement to two animal cruelty charges on Wednesday. More than 70 animals in his home were turned over to humane workers in February. Goodell was the caretaker for two dogs.

Humane workers say dogs, cats and a duck were found underfed and dehydrated inside the home.

Goodell’s lawyer says he understands “the level of care the dogs received” did not meet society’s standards.

He will serve five years probation with a suspended sentence of up to a year in jail.

Carol Merchant, the primary owner of most of the animals, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges.

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