Saturday September 11, 2010
By Conor Berry
North Adams, MA — A North Adams man was sentenced to four years behind bars after admitting to killing several rabbits in a grisly animal-cruelty case that stunned veteran law enforcement officials and the community.
Northern Berkshire District Court Judge Michael J. Ripps ordered Wayne P. Brackett Jr., 23, to serve consecutive two-year sentences at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction for the June 9 crime.
Investigators said Brackett brutally killed five pet rabbits that were kept in cages on the property of Berkshire County Construction in North Adams.
A surveillance camera captured images of Brackett beating, kicking and throwing the animals after failing to break into a company vehicle, according to North Adams police.
The gruesome case gained national media attention and prompted strong censure from animal welfare groups, which questioned the depravity and senselessness of Brackett’s actions.
The investigation by North Adams police and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals revealed that the rabbits were “brutally killed,” according to court papers.
“In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this. It was horrible,” North Adams Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco said, praising the public for helping to identify Brackett as the culprit.
“Without the information that we received from them, it would have taken us longer to solve,” he said.
On Friday, Brackett, who has a prior criminal record, admitted to five counts of killing an animal and animal cruelty and single counts of breaking and entering at night to commit a felony and wanton destruction of property.
The court ordered Brackett to stay away from the construction company and its owners — John and Tracey Duquette — after his release. He also was ordered to submit to drug and alcohol screening and perform 100 hours of community service.