No charges filed against Berne highway super candidate after investigation

The Enterprise — Noah Zweifel
Barbara Kennedy, of East Berne, kisses one of the goats she cares for at her home-farm.

BERNE — No charges will be filed against Barbara Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for Berne Highway Superintendent, following a sheriff’s investigation into false claims that she abuses and neglects the many animals that she keeps on her East Berne farm.

The investigation concluded that the allegations against Kennedy were “unfounded,” according to a report obtained by The Enterprise through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Earlier this month, Kennedy and the Democratic candidate for Berne Town Clerk, Jean Guarino, were accused of different crimes on an anonymously-administered social media page that’s been heavily interacted with by GOP sympathizers, who largely celebrated that these “crimes” were brought to light.

None of the claims made, however, withstood empirical scrutiny; rather, they appeared to be based on poor interpretations of documents, which, in Kennedy’s case, were photos taken by a scorned former tenant of hers, who did not cooperate with The Enterprise when it conducted its own investigation into the claims. 

While The Enterprise had determined independently that Kennedy was not abusing her animals after visiting her farm, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office also investigated the claims, and the lack of charges stemming from the investigation provides a strong and clear signal: Kennedy is innocent.
The sheriff’s report states that Investigator Michelle Crowley and Nathaniel Bray, referred to as “this writer,” had visited Kennedy’s farm and “observed various animals throughout the property that appeared to be in good condition with food and water.”

“They said I run a good place here and all the animals are happy and in good shape,” Kennedy said, adding that she, too, has to submit a Freedom of Information Law request for the final report. 

The accusations of animal abuse were surprising to many who know Kennedy, including a couple who wrote about them in a letter to the Enterprise editor last week.

“These accusations are false and are undoubtedly politically or personally motivated,” wrote Hetty Jo Brumbach and Robert Jarvenpa, of Berne. “We have known Barbara for 30 years, during which time she has been our regular animal sitter, caring for our horses and smaller pets.”

“They were just trying to ruin my reputation,” Kennedy said this week of her political opponents. “And they can do whatever they want, but in the long run, I love all my animals.”

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