Webster’s House manager charged with animal cruelty

By Cynthia Prairie
©2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Mary Donaldson and Jessica “Remy” Fecteau have been ordered to appear in Windsor Superior Court on Tuesday, May 24 following a three-month investigation into their practices and treatment of animals at Webster House’s cat shelter in Chester, according to a press release from the Chester Police Department.

Donaldson has been shelter manager for five years; Fecteau is a volunteer.

Charges include cruelty to animals, which could be either a misdemeanor or a felony, and false information to a law enforcement officer, which is a misdemeanor.

Reached for comment, Donaldson said, “It’s hard to react to anything because it is so early in the process. We have to go to court and we’ll see what happens there.” She said she was served with the citation on Sunday.

The shelter has come under scrutiny in the past two months as local police and Humane Society affiliates, one — the Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals — with the authority to investigate cruelty complaints, have looked into complaints about conditions at the shelter. One complaint stated that a cat had been deliberately drowned, according to Chester Police.

One month ago, Donaldson announced that the shelter was being forced to close because the owner of the property where it has been housed for 16 years was evicting them as of July 1, and she needed to find new homes for the remaining 39 cats.

At the same time, the investigation came to light, and a local veterinarian and Humane Society personnel came to examine and catalogue the animals and prepare them for relocation.

As of today, there are no cats left for adoption at the shelter and Donaldson is looking for a new home for herself and her own cats.

Related: Volunteer who found dead cat last year, veterinarian who saw it Friday dispute ‘bucket of water’ claim




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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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