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Animal Trainer Charged With Stealing Back His Beasts

October 28, 1986

MENDON, Mass. (AP) _ An animal trainer, already charged with cruelty to animals, was arrested Monday and charged with stealing wild beasts that had been taken from him as evidence, authorities said.

Brian Watson, 42, was arrested in New Hampshire after authorities found a camel, six monkeys, an elephant, two tigers, a leopard, several exotic birds, African rodents, a horse, several goats and other domestic animals on his farm in Epping, N.H.

Authorities said Watson took some of the animals from the Southwick Wild Animal Farm in Mendon during a nighttime raid Oct. 7.

Some of the other missing animals, including a Sicilian donkey, two ponies, and two South American guinea pigs, were found Monday crammed into a rickety trailer in a parking lot in Danvers, outside of Boston, said Bob Walsh, a spokesman for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Watson was arraigned in Exeter, N.H., on charges of cruelty to animals, reckless conduct, illegally importing wild animals into New Hampshire and being a fugitive from justice in Massachusetts, a court official said.

He then was brought to Massachusetts, where he was arraigned on charges of breaking and entering at night with intent to commit a felony, larceny over $100 and trespassing, according to Mendon Patrolman Mark Bucchino.

Watson was released on $1,000 cash bail and the case was continued to Nov. 17 for a pre-trial conference. Watson did not answer his home phone.

Witnesses said most of the animals on the farm in Epping had been kept in a small circus tent, many in cages too small for them to move.

Watson once had federal permits to keep animals as an exhibitor, but the permits were suspended earlier this year and later revoked after a hearing, said Walsh.

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