Dog Breeder Faced Charges in Past 

A Somerville dog breeder accused of aggravated animal cruelty faced similar criminal charges 14 years go, at a time when she was not licensed to breed or kennel animals.

The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel newspapers say Fern Clark was acquitted in 1994 of animal-cruelty charges but was convicted of assaulting a state animal-welfare agent.

Clark, 78, stands accused of operating an unlicensed breeding kennel at her home. Last month, she pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from a Jan. 19 raid in which 71 animals: 66 dogs, four cats and a cockatiel were removed.

Using Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, the newspapers found documents that show 14 reported complaints were filed about Clark’s business from 1997 to 2007.