Authorities removed more than three-dozen animals from a dilapidated Northampton mobile home Tuesday evening, including some dogs that were jammed in cages stowed inside a sweltering camping trailer parked behind the residence.
Fulton County Undersheriff Kevin Lenahan said 32 dogs, 11 cats and a rabbit were removed after they were found in deplorable conditions inside the camper and the mobile home on Route 30. He said some of the animals were stacked inside crates that were stowed in a small camping trailer with no ventilation
“The animals did not have food or water, even though food was on the premises,” he said Wednesday, noting that an investigation into the case is ongoing. “Inside the residence were full litter boxes, piles of dog feces and bugs.”
The owner of the animals is likely to face animal cruelty charges once the case is reviewed by District Attorney Louise Sira. Northampton Animal Control Officer Vernon Duesler III identified the owner as Faith Betler, a woman who he had warned about her tendency to hoard animals in prior years.
“You try to work with them and give them a second chance,” he said. “But this was inhumane.”
Duesler said some of the cages stowed in the camper contained as many as four dogs. He said the camper’s interior temperature was in excess of 100 degrees when authorities came to remove the animals around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Conditions in the mobile home weren’t much better, Duesler explained. The home was later condemned by Northampton’s code enforcement officer after it was deemed unlivable.
“I opened the door to the trailer and it almost knocked me over, it was that bad,” Duesler said of the smell.
Betler was reported to authorities after someone visiting the property took note of the conditions. The dogs seized were mostly Chihuahuas but also included three Labradors and a shepherd; one animal was in need of medical care for a broken leg apparently sustained when it was struck by a vehicle earlier in the week.
Duesler said he had been called to the property about a year earlier after a neighbor complained of a barking dog. At the time, he found about 16 dogs that were unregistered and not vaccinated.
But instead of citing Betler, he worked with her to correct the problem. This time, he saw no other recourse other than to take her animals. All of the animals were brought to Helping Paws Rescue of Broadalbin. They are now being put up for adoption.
Duesler said Betler apparently thought she was adequately caring for the creatures. He said she even referred to them several times as her children.
“She said they were her kids, and I said, ‘Well, you’re not treating your kids very well,’ ” he said.