MAYFIELD — Three dozen animals seized from a Mayfield property in July will be forfeited to humane societies after their owner was unable to post a court-ordered security to pay for their care.
On Sept. 29, Mayfield Town Justice John Papa ruled that defendant Susan Kelly would be required to pay a $235,583 security bond to cover past and future boarding and care costs for animals that had been seized from her property and subsequently have been housed at Ayres Memorial Animal Shelter in Sprakers, Fulton County Regional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Brennan Humane Society. A civil suit from the SPCA and the Brennan Humane Society sought to force Mayfield resident Kelly to pay for the care of the animals.
Papa ruled in the petitioner’s favor on Sept. 29, with Kelly given five days to post the bond in full to avoid forfeiting the animals. According to the Mayfield Town Court, Kelly was unable to post the security bond.
Kelly, 70, was arrested on Aug. 10 and charged with 55 misdemeanor counts of torturing or injuring animals and failing to provide sustenance, with the criminal charges pending after the conclusion of the civil trial.
The dogs that were seized from Kelly’s property in July will now be up for adoption after the bond was not paid.
“They have been forfeited by Ms. Kelly and they now will be placed for adoption,” Fulton County Regional SPCA President Renee Earl said on Friday.
“Their availability to be put into homes will depend on each shelter that houses them, because they have different protocols. Our shelter will not adopt out an animal until it is fully spayed or neutered. They are up for adoption, but they won’t be placed into a home until they are fully vetted, spayed and neutered.”
Earl said she was relieved that all of the animals are now up for adoption, including 35 dogs previously forfeited by Kelly.
“All we really wanted were the animals to be released to our custody so that we could get them the veterinary care they needed and get them adopted into forever homes,” she said.
The chickens, ducks, goats and a horse that were taken from Kelly’s property at 587 State Highway 349 last summer will also be up for adoption.
“They’ve all been released and they’ll either remain or be adopted by their fosters,” Earl said. “The goats and the rabbits are under our care and their foster families have agreed to adopt them.”
During the civil hearing on Sept. 29, the Fulton SPCA had incurred $53,613 in costs for sheltering Kelly’s animals, with the Brennan Humane Society racking up $60,425 in expenses and the Ayres Memorial Animal Shelter incurring $66,054 in costs to board and care for their share of the defendant’s seized animals.
The $235,583 security bond cost included projected future expenses for the three local humane shelters to care for the animals.
During the hearing, the court heard testimony from Marissa Christman of the Ayres shelter who testified that the animals at Kelly’s property had a strong odor of feces and urine and required multiple washes to become clean after they were rescued on July 25.