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Killing of Pownal Dog Under Investigation

Staff Reports
iBerkshires Staff
Vermont State Police are investigating the shooting of Cassie, a 2-year-old Corgi/shepherd mix.

POWNAL, Vt. — State police are investigating the killing of a dog in the Burdick Trailer Park.

Troopers were called Wednesday, July 1, at 11 p.m. to the park after a neighbor walking along the railroad tracks discovered the remains of the dog and alerted its owner.

Cassie, a 2-year-old Corgi/shepherd mix, had been reported missing the week before. She sustained what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the head.

State police say they do have some leads in the shooting. The charge would be aggravated cruelty to an animal.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Trooper Thomas Stange of the Vermont State Police at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.


Missing Pownal Woman Found in New York

Rita Sweet

Update: Rita Sweet was found at about 7 p.m. walking out of a wooded area on Route 346, about 200 feet over the state line in New York, by state police.  

Sweet verified her identity with state police and told troopers that she left her home after a money-related argument with family members. She said she had intended to walk to Petersburg, N.Y., to meet unspecified friends and family.  

She further said she purposely lay down in the shade near the Hoosic River and slept during the day and chose to start walking when it cooled off.

Sweet was showing signs of dehydration and had several blisters on her feet but was in otherwise good health. She was brought to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for medical evaluation and there she was reunited with family members.

POWNAL, Vt. — A 71-year-old local woman has been reported missing since Monday morning.

Rita J. Sweet reportedly walked away from a residence on VT Route 346 near US Route 7 on Monday at about 11 a.m. after a verbal argument with family members.

State police were notified Monday night at 10 p.m. she had not located.

She may have been walking north on VT 346 toward North Pownal. She was last seen wearing blue floral-print shorts, blue tank top and blue sandals.

She has gray hair, blue eyes, stands 5-foot-4, weighs 170 to 180 pounds, wears glasses and has a distinct mole under her left eye.  

Officials continue to have concern for Sweet because of her age, minor medical issues and that she is unprepared for inclement weather or for staying out overnight.

Troopers from Shaftsbury were joined by members with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation; Pownal Fire Department; Rennsselaer (N.Y.) County sheriff deputies; Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team; and a fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine for both ground and air searches.

After following up on several tips, all indications are that Rita is in New York; with the last possible sighting in Hoosick, N.Y., at approximately 11 a.m. Rensselaer County deputies continue their search efforts and any leads in that area can be referred to their dispatch at 518-270-5252.


Vermont State Police Investigating Dog Abuse

Update at 10:54 p.m., April 29: The Vermont State Police were able to identify the owner of the deceased dog located in Alta Gardens MHP in the Town of Pownal. After an extensive investigation police found the circumstances of the case not criminal. 

No charges will be filed.

POWNAL, Vt. — Vermont State Police are investigating a case of animal cruelty after finding the body of an emaciated dog.

Troopers were at Alta Gardens Mobile Home Park at about 3 p.m. on Monday for an unrelated incident when a park resident approached them about finding the dog.

The resident told the troopers that a dog's body had been dumped behind one of the trailers. It had been placed in a trash bag and appeared to be hidden in a culvert.

Upon further investigation, the dog was found to be extremely emaciated and showed significant signs of neglect. The dog was a 3- to 5-year-old male pitbull, cream in color. He was found wearing a distinguishable collar and missing his right eye.  

State police are pursuing leads and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously at www.vtips.info or by texting "CRIMES" (274637) to keyword "VTIPS."


North Berkshire Men Injured in Vermont Rollover

Staff Reports

POWNAL, Vt. — A Williamstown, Mass., man may face charges of driving under the influence after a rollover accident early Sunday morning injured himself and a passenger.

Allen Whitney, 23, was operating a 2006 GMC Sierra on Route 346 in North Pownal, near the New York State line, at about 3:27 a.m. when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled over multiple times.

According to the report by State Trooper Justin Walker, "The truck was nearly unrecognizable as it had rolled approximately 500 feet after leaving the roadway."

Whitney was able to exit the pickup truck but his passenger, Brady Kuzia, 25, of Clarksburg, Mass., had to be extricated from the vehicle. Both men were transported to Southwest Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.

Walker said Whitney told him that they were driving home from Hoosick Falls, N.Y., at the time of the crash. The conditions were cold and clear and the road was wet.

Whitney, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered multiple lacerations to his body, face and head. Kuzia, who was wearing a seat belt, also had multiple lacerations an a possible fractured leg.

During the investigation, Walker suspected that Whitney was under the influence of alcohol and he was processed for suspicion of driving under the influence. Blood results are pending as well as other charges in this case. Investigation is ongoing, but the police report stated "speed was also clearly a factor in this crash."


Slick Roads Cause Pownal Rollover

POWNAL, Vt. — A Pownal woman escaped serious injury on Tuesday afternoon after losing control of her sport utility vehicle and landing in a ditch.

State Police Trooper Justin Walker said snow and icy conditions on Madison Road contributed the accident, which occurred at about 3:55 p.m.

Sarah Waters, 20, was driving her 2003 Toyota Highlander along Madison Road near the Hidden Valley Road intersection when she lost traction, slid into a ditch and rolled the vehicle.

Waters, who was wearing a seat belt, was taken to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for precautionary reasons. The Highlander incurred scratches and dents to the front fender. The Pownal Fire Department also responded to the scene.

The Vermont State Police are reminding drivers to use caution and to use proper winter tires as the winter weather sets in. The investigation remains active

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