A Mayfield animal rescue facility was raided Monday and its owner charged with animal cruelty and various counts of welfare fraud for allegedly drawing benefits while at least partially supporting herself through her rescue operation.
Kelly’s Haven on Route 349, owned by Susan Kelly, was raided at 8 a.m. Monday by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and officials of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Capt. Garth Hillier of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday the department had been receiving complaints about Kelly’s operation for some time and ultimately obtained a warrant to enter the property based on the welfare fraud charges.
“We’ve been trying for some time to get her to weed out some of her animals,” he said, noting that Kelly continued to accept animals dropped off at her shelter. “She couldn’t say no ... she got overwhelmed.”
Kelly is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and welfare fraud. It is alleged she defrauded the county out of about $4,000 in benefits by failing to disclose she was paying personal bills from the proceeds of her operation.
ASCPA official Jeff Eyre, Northeast director of field investigations and response, was at the scene for a second day today, working to inventory more than 290 animals — from dogs and cats to livestock and parrots — and arrange for placement in shelters as far away as Florida and the Midwest.
Eyre said the animals were receiving food, but the living conditions on the farm were well below standards. He said stalls and kennels were dirty and filled with cobwebs, creating conditions that caused respiratory ailments and other medical problems.
An ASPCA veterinary team was on the premises, examining each animal, he said. A small number of the animals required emergency care at area vet clinics, he said.