Marion woman receives 5-year probation, pet ban in animal abuse case

Jan 14, 2021

MARION — More than a year after she was charged with animal cruelty, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, Marion resident Lauren Fisher left the Wareham District Court on Jan. 14 with a five-year probation and congruent ban on owning animals. 

Fisher was arrested on Dec. 11, 2019, and her house on Front Street was condemned after it was found to be the site of years of animal abuse. At her disposition on Jan. 14, 2021, Fisher’s case was continued without a finding as a result of a plea deal. 

A nine-page affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for Fisher's home details that 51 animals removed from the property. According to the document, the home was also the site of years of maltreatment and neglect of animals. 

Filed by Marion Police Detective Scott Smith in 2019, the affidavit relies on observations of officials who inspected the property after receiving complaints and on the testimony of two men who Fisher apparently paid to dispose of dead animals.

The affidavit notes that Fisher was charged with 48 counts of animal cruelty nearly 20 years ago, after a resident at the property reported that he buried a Saint Bernard that had died of starvation and that he was “sick and tired” of Fisher’s mistreatment of animals. 

In that case, more than 80 animals were removed from the property, and Fisher’s six children were sent to live with relatives. 

Evidence suggesting that Fisher was again mistreating animals emerged as far back as 2009 when Police Lt. John Garcia, who went on to become Police Chief and retired in December, was called to the property to deal with a loose cow. Garcia noted that the cow and a nearby horse appeared underfed, the horse to the point that ribs and hip bones were protruding — and that the animals had no clean water. 

Marion Animal Control Officer Susan Connor said in court that among the animals at the house were pigs in pens where the drinking water had frozen over and skeletonized chickens. 

“Many of these animals suffered a long and painful death,” said Connors. 

Since her arrest and the condemnation of her home, Fisher has been living in New Bedford.

Recently, work to restore the home has begun to take shape, potentially saving it from demolition. 

The home, which is now up for sale, was initially set to be demolished in mid-December. But at a Dec. 1 Board of Health meeting, Fisher was given a 30-day extension to make improvements. 

At a Jan. 5 Board of Health meeting, Marion Health Agent David Flaherty called improvements at the property “heartening.”

“It looks a heck of a lot better than it did before,” Flaherty said at the meeting. “I’ve seen the pictures, it’s like 90% better than it was before.”

According to the Jan. 14 decision from the court, the home is also subject to unannounced inspections once per month until it is sold.