ITHACA, N.Y. – The SPCA of Tompkins County has filed charges against two people who were accused in November of hoarding 28 animals in their Newfield trailer.
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Kevin Pierce and Courtney Cotter were each charged Friday with 62 counts -- 31 for overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance and 31 for failure to provide proper food and drink to impounded animal.
Officials found 15 dogs, 4 rabbits, 8 cats, and 1 chinchilla in Pierce and Cotter's trailer. Urine and feces were strewn throughout the home and officials had to wear respirators and protective gear to be able to enter the premises.
SPCA executive director Jim Bouderau said officials seized the pets and found three dead ones at their home after a five or six month long investigation.
The SPCA released the following statement Monday:
On Friday December 11th, The SPCA of Tompkins County filed charges against Kevin Pierce and Courtney Cotter in the Town of Newfield stemming from a hoarding investigation and subsequent seizure of 28 animals on November 11th.
As a result of a lengthy and ongoing investigation, the couple was charged with 31 counts of violating NYS Ag and Markets Laws section 353: Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance and 31 counts of violating section 356: Failure to provide proper food and drink to impounded animal.
The couple will be arraigned at the Town of Newfield court on Tuesday December 15th at 4:00 p.m.
The case began several months ago as a result of complaints from diligent neighbors and involve individuals known to the SPCA for some time now.
The same couple was prosecuted in 2010 when the SPCA seized 98 animals living in similar conditions. SPCA officers found 15 dogs, 4 rabbits, 8 cats, and 1 chinchilla, along with the remains of three previously deceased animals, in a trailer living in complete squalor. The residence was covered in urine and feces, and garbage and debris was strewn everywhere.
The SPCA Humane Investigators, along with veterinary support from Cornell University Shelter Medicine Program, had to wear respirators and protective gear to be able to enter the premises. They were able to remove the animals from the dwelling safely and collect evidence over the course of a few hours. The Tompkins County Sheriff's Office was also on site for assistance. The animals were taken to the SPCA for full medical evaluations and recovery. Many of them were dehydrated, covered in feces, severely infested with fleas and ear mites, and most were not spayed or neutered. Many have already tested positive for intestinal parasites. Necropsy is being performed to determine the cause of death of the other two animals.
SPCA executive director Jim Bouderau says, “This is a horrible situation, especially knowing that three animals did not make it. It is amazing that 28 animals had survived living in these horrendous conditions. While this is not the largest case we have ever seen, it was certainly one of the worst in terms of living conditions.”
The majority of the animals seized have already found new homes and been adopted.