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Swampscott man pleads innocent to charges tied to dog deaths

Animals’ remains were found last fall

Jason Gentry, who was released on $1,000 bail, faces charges of animal cruelty and killing an animal.
Jason Gentry, who was released on $1,000 bail, faces charges of animal cruelty and killing an animal. (Ted Fitzgerald/Pool)

A Swampscott man accused of running an illegal kennel to train so-called designer dogs has been charged with killing three of the animals and several counts of animal cruelty in two cases in Lynn and Revere.

Jason Gentry, 35, who identifies himself as an animal trainer, pleaded not guilty to all charges in two hearings last week and Tuesday.

The dogs that Gentry is accused of killing — including two puppies found dumped near a Revere gas station in November — were known as Donovan pinschers, a mix of mastiffs, terriers, and other breeds, according to court documents.

Two of the dogs were allegedly killed at Alpha Canine Performance, Gentry’s facility in Lynn where authorities said they found “deplorable” conditions.

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On Tuesday afternoon, Gentry left Chelsea District Court on $1,000 bail. As he left court, a handful of animal lovers, one carrying a poster with images of dead dogs, complained that his bail was too low.

Gentry did not speak to reporters.

His attorney, Ernest Stone, said Gentry was innocent and that he did not hurt any animals.

The breeder of the dogs, Dominick Donovan, 51, of Long Beach, N.Y., was arrested Tuesday in connection with the case.

According to court documents, Gentry blamed Donovan for the death of the dogs found in Revere.

According to a document filed in court by Revere police, Gentry told investigators that he and Donovan had decided to “cull the two dogs . . . since they were not meeting breeding standards.”

Gentry admitted providing two contractor-size trash bags to Donovan, who then wrapped the dead puppies in the bags, Gentry told investigators. A witness, however, told police that he received a call from Gentry who bragged that he “beat the dogs with a baseball bat like a pinata.”

Gentry appeared in court earlier this month in Essex County after authorities searched the Lynn facility and found five dogs in “deplorable” conditions.

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The kennel reeked of stale urine and feces, emitting a “very acrid rotten odor,” according to court records. Officers who examined the space on Sanderson Avenue said they had trouble breathing.

The facility also housed an open sewer pipe, according to Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

A witness told investigators that Gentry had bragged that he had hung a dog for 15 minutes from a pole used to train and control dogs and told him the dog “fought like a champ.”

According to court documents, the witness also said Gentry gave Valium hidden in pieces of a hot dog to the dog before it was put in a crate to be transported to Donovan in New York. The dog died.

A witness also told investigators that Donovan and Gentry had been arguing over thousands of dollars — the amount it cost Gentry to care for Donovan’s dogs.

After the death of the dog, authorities were granted a search warrant.

Gentry’s Lynn facility was shut down earlier this month and a “no trespassing sign” was posted on the front door.

Nick Sideri, an operations manager at Gillian’s Foods, a nearby business, said that other than hearing a few barks, he never noticed anything suspicious.

Gentry faces 10 counts of animal cruelty and a charge of running an unlicensed kennel in the Lynn case and two counts of animal cruelty and two counts of killing an animal in the Revere case.

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His next court date is set for Sept. 3.


Sara DiNatale can be reached at sara.dinatale@globe.com.