Dozens of purebred dogs whose owner faces animal neglect charges will remain at an animal rescue facility in Mayfield — whose owner also faces animal abuse charges — for the time being, Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said.
The dogs will remain at the facility until charges of animal abuse against their owner, Tirzah Henry, are resolved in court, Lorey said.
Henry was charged last week with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance and unlawful disposal of dead animals.
The rescue facility is Kelly’s Haven for Friends and Animals. Owner Sue Kelly herself faces one count of misdemeanor animal abuse and three counts of welfare fraud. She has pleaded innocent to the charges and faces a trial in Fulton County Court in August.
The charges against Henry followed the discovery of three dead dogs in a house she was renting at 395 Progress Road in the town of Mayfield. Sheriff’s deputies were serving an eviction notice on Henry when they made the discovery.
The Sheriff’s Department did not seize the remaining live dogs, which total 34, because all but one was found to be in good health and Henry refused to surrender them to authorities, Lorey said. He said the one dog will be treated by a veterinarian.
Henry had the animals first taken to a pet grooming facility in Gloversville and then to Kelly’s facility. Henry remains in the Fulton County Correctional Facility, unable to make bail.
While at Kelly’s facility on Route 349 in Mayfield., the Sheriff’s Department will be able to monitor the animals at any time under a court order signed by Fulton County Court Judge Richard Giardano.
Lorey said his office frequently inspects Kelly’s facilities and his records indicate no recent issues at her property.
“It is a good solution because the county has no money or place to put them,” he said of the dogs. “She [Kelly] is a lover of animals and will take care of them.”
Kelly’s animal abuse charge stems from the discovery of a dead pigeon in a cage and three welfare-fraud related counts based on allegations Kelly used some of the donations to her shelter to support herself.
Kelly was charged last year after authorities raided her facility and found 300 dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs and other animals on her property. She surrendered the animals to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which shipped all but six of the animals to other shelters.
The James A. Brennan Memorial Humane Society is working with the Sheriff’s Department in the case of Henry’s dogs. It issued a statement saying it would “take on any and all animals [Kelly] was willing to surrender to the shelter. We also provided avenues for surrendering her several cats and rabbits. She did take us up on that offer, but refused any offers to assist with the other animals. And if Ms. Henry is willing to surrender any at this time we will take them.”
Lorey is trying to get Henry to surrender the animals either to the society or to Kelly.