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Defense in Mad River dog trial to present case today
by Heather Muller , 9/20/2007

After a third day of testimony Thursday in the Mad River dog trial, Deputy District Attorney Eric Heryford from the Trinity County DA’s Office neared the end of his case.

Only one prosecution witness remained, Heryford said. He planned to call to the stand today Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Whitman, who was the Mad River resident deputy when the surviving dogs were discovered in August 2006.

On Thursday, Humboldt County Public Guardian Ramon Herrera testified, Heryford said. Herrera was the owner of record for the property, previously owned by Roberta Bugenig, from which 13 surviving dogs were recovered Aug. 11, 2006, by Shannon Miranda, owner and operator of Miranda’s Animal Rescue in Fortuna.

Miranda also testified Thursday and spent two hours on the stand describing the events leading up to the rescue, as well as narrating dramatic video footage shot by volunteers as they arrived at the kennels that ringed Bugenig’s former property.

The trial, taking place in Trinity County Superior Court in Weaverville, will decide the fate of John and Stacy Malcolm, who are each charged with 41 felony counts of animal abuse and one additional count related to a small marijuana-growing operation found on the property.

The charges stem from the discovery of the surviving dogs and an as yet undetermined number of dead dogs on and around the property located only a few miles across Humboldt County’s eastern border on Highway 36.

The Malcolms have denied responsibility for the deaths and for the condition of the surviving dogs, most of which subsequently died.

Heryford said he plans to interview Whitman briefly today, and then the defendants’ attorney, Timothy Noal Gray, will present his case to the jury of 10 women and two men.

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