A New Sharon woman convicted of animal cruelty is facing a contempt hearing because, according to police, she again has violated a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Carol Murphy, 70, of Lane Road, was summoned for contempt of court after Maine State Police, Franklin County sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers executed a search warrant at her home Wednesday and seized four dogs, a cat, a pig, chinchillas and a rabbit, according to Assistant District Attorney Josh Robbins.

Murphy, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, has been in a contentious dispute with local, state and federal officials for nearly a decade about her treatment of animals at her property. She has represented herself in all previous cases, which included lawsuits against judges.

The new summons against Murphy isn’t a criminal charge, but it initiates court proceedings to determine whether Murphy complied with a previous court order prohibiting her from having more animals, Robbins said. Prosecutors are able to seek jail time or a fine as punishment if it is found that she violated a court order, he said.

Robbins said the district attorney’s office received previous reports that Murphy had violated the ban, which led to the investigation and search warrant Wednesday.

In 2005, Murphy was convicted on one count of animal cruelty and four counts of possession without a permit after officials had seized dozens of pets from her home. She was sentenced to 24 hours in jail, ordered to pay restitution and banned from owning animals.

The state said Murphy’s animals were being abused, were living in unhealthy and inhumane conditions where the air quality was poor and reeked of ammonia. Few animals had water or food in their cages, and a pig’s cage was so small the pig could not turn around, prosecutors said.

In 2010 she was convicted again of animal cruelty after law enforcement officers had found more than 40 emaciated pets at her home.

In February 2009, U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. issued an order forbidding Murphy to file lawsuits in federal court without his explicit permission.

“She has not gone quietly,” Woodcock wrote of Murphy, in the order. “She has repeatedly resorted to federal court alleging a wide array of constitutional violations that she claims have been perpetrated against her as a consequence of state and municipal enforcement actions. Ms. Murphy’s lawsuits can each be characterized as frivolous, prolix, and contentious nonsense. Further, whenever a judge rules against her in any matter, great or small, she tends to threaten to sue or actually sue the judge.

“Ms. Murphy has more than had her day in court. In an effort to contest the state’s determination that she was cruel to animals and possessed them without a license and has thereby relinquished her right to possess them, she has availed herself both in state and federal court of every imaginable means to challenge the decision. She has lost at every turn. Rather than accept the judgments of her fellow citizens, she has concocted conspiracy theories … and has caused the state and federal governments to expend untold time and money defending against her merit-less claims.”

In the 2010 trial, Murphy also was convicted of assaulting a state trooper who went to her home during the initial 2009 investigation in the case. According to a prosecutor at the time, Murphy used a stun gun on a state trooper’s neck when he tried to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines.

The trooper was investigating a report that Murphy possessed animals in violation of the lifetime ban.

Murphy, in a 2012 court filing describing that incident, claimed the trooper was trespassing on her property “and attempted to unconstitutionally curtail my liberty by handcuffing me.”

“I resisted the unlawful arrest and attempted to Taser him. I missed,” Murphy wrote. “As can be heard on the patrol car’s audio, the Taser went off in the air followed immediately by the cop’s voice. The cop claimed the Taser ‘grazed’ his neck. But he had no burns. … I had a right to defend myself.”

When Murphy was searched at the jail, she was found to be carrying a 4-inch double-bladed knife, officials said.

According to a March 2012 U.S. District Court order, Murphy continued to battle authorities by making claims against “certain medical providers relating to her dental treatment and back pain issues while incarcerated as a prisoner at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, Maine.” It’s not clear why Murphy was being held at the prison, though the order said she was no longer incarcerated there.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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