Forty-four dogs seized from a Brunswick home as part of an animal cruelty investigation were living in cages stacked three or four high, with some of the cages "full of dogs," police said. Credit: Courtesy of Brunswick Police Department

Although three members of a Brunswick family still face 152 counts each of cruelty to animals following the seizure last August of dozens of animals from their River Road home, civil suits against them have been settled, allowing them to regain custody of some animals.

Homeowners Robert Enman and Nancy Enman, both 61, along with their son Kyle Enman, 34, and his wife, Diana Enman, 29 — who has since been cleared of all charges — were initially charged with 154 counts each of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. The charges specifically accused them of failing to give animals humanely clean conditions, failing to give animals proper indoor shelter, failing to give animals necessary medical attention and failing to give animals necessary sustenance.

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Prompted by a report that a resident of the home had killed a puppy, Brunswick police and state animal welfare agents searched the home on Aug. 10, 2018, and determined that immediate seizure of the dogs was necessary because of “filthy and inhumane conditions” at the home, Brunswick police Officer Kerry Wolongevicz wrote in court documents.

Police and animal welfare agents seized one bird and 44 small- and large-breed dogs, which ranged in age from 6 weeks old to about 13 years old. Officers said the animals had been living in cages stacked three or four high, with some of the cages so full of dogs they were pressed against each other.

According to court documents, seven dogs were housed in a downstairs kennel and 21 in a kitchen kennel. Four dogs were living with Kyle and Diana Enman in a camper on the property.

The dogs suffered “severe skin infections and skin problems like open sores and overgrown claws,” Wolongevicz said in at the time.

The dogs were being advertised locally as “small designer breeds” with a sale price of $500, according to police, who said the couple did not hold a breeder’s license in Maine.

Brunswick police Lt. Martin Rinaldi said in November that at least one dog died after being seized.

The home was then condemned by the town’s health officer, Deputy Chief Jeff Emerson of the Brunswick Fire Department.

State welfare agents that day issued Kyle Enman a notice requiring him to provide adequate food and water for three goats on the property. Later that week, police seized the goats.

Civil charges were also filed against Robert Enman and Nancy Enman on behalf of 38 dogs, one bird, three goats and one cat, and against Kyle Enman and Diana Enman on behalf of four dogs, according to court documents.

Following a bench trial, on Nov. 5, 2018, District Court Judge Maria A. Woodman ordered that the elder Enmans surrender 31 dogs seized by the state, as well as the bird and three goats, but returned seven dogs and a cat to Robert and Nancy Enman, and four dogs to Kyle and Diana Enman.

The court stipulated that Robert and Nancy Enman may have possession of seven dogs, plus one cat, provided they are all spayed or neutered, licensed, vaccinated and microchipped. But they are subject to a lifetime of random checks wherever they live in Maine “to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of these animals and general compliance with the above-outlined conditions.”

Lack of compliance could results in the animals being seized again or the Enmans facing contempt-of-court charges, Woodman ruled.

According to Woodman’s order, she found that “unlike the other animals in the related cases that were seized on the same date from the ‘house’ on the same land, these dogs were clearly cared for and loved.” She noted that animal welfare agents said the four dogs were within the “normal range” for weight and were not dehydrated nor showed other disease.

Later that month, nearly 30 of the dogs were rehomed by Midcoast Humane Society, where they had been placed and cared for after being seized.

Benjamin Donahue, who represented Kyle Enman in the civil case, said Enman no longer lives at the River Road property and is under no stipulations by the court.

“They returned all their dogs to them,” Donahue said Friday of Kyle and Diana Enman’s civil cases. “He was completely vindicated.”

Donahue declined to speak about the pending criminal charges against Kyle Enman, but said, “It’s unfortunate that the proceeding is ongoing against him, especially after both Kyle and Diane were vindicated in the civil matter, and they actually had the burden of proof in that case.”

Clifford Golden, who represents Robert and Nancy Enman, did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Robert, Nancy and Kyle Enman still face 152 counts each of cruelty to animals, and are scheduled to appear in Portland Superior Court on April 25. Prosecutors dismissed all charges against Diana Enman.

In September, the state filed charges against a fifth family member, Callie Enman, who at the time lived in a basement apartment at the River Road home but now lists an address in Caswell. Callie Enman is scheduled for arraignment in West Bath District Court on March 15 on three counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

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