Months after the February rescue of 23 Shetland Sheepdogs from a duo of Sheepshead Bay animal hoarders, the canines can now be adopted.
Since the initial bust, the dogs have been held as evidence against the couple. The dogs have been housed at several Animal Care & Control shelters and foster residencies throughout the city. The cost for the care of the dogs at AC&C totals around $85,000.
The couple struck a deal with prosecuters, pleading guilty to a single count of abuse, as opposed to 23 counts. As per the deal, the couple will forfeit all of the dogs over to the state, seek therapy, and never possess another animal again.
At the time of the bust, the couple was also given fines for various violations related to health and safety matters.
Now, the dogs are all able to be adopted through the organization that initiated the bust, the Tri-State Sheltie Rescue group.
“It’s been very stressful during this time worrying about the possibility of them being returned to the hoarder should we lose the case,” said Julie Canzoneri, the founder of Tri-State Sheltie Rescue.
Police rescued the dogs from horrific conditions. They were living in cages in two different homes owned by the couple. The homes were at 2713 Avenue Y, an otherwise empty house that had 10 dogs without heat or hot water, and 4215 Bedford Avenue, where the couple lived with another 13 dogs.
The dogs were found to be starved, flea-infested and infected with various illnesses.
“The conditions were inhumane,” said Deputy District Attorney Dianne Malone, who is in charge of the Animal Cruelty division.
According to animal care groups, the couple has been hoarding dogs since the 90s. Rescuers state that more than 100 dogs may have been abused within the confines of the couple’s two homes.
Canzoneri adds that with patience and the right training, the dogs will make great family members.