Fulton County animal welfare officials raid familiar farm
Posted at: 06/28/2012 11:38 PM
| Updated at: 06/29/2012 1:12 PM
By: Dan Levy
MAYFIELD - It was another case of deja vu Thursday for both Fulton County sheriff's investigators and animal welfare officers.
It was just last year when law enforcement and SPCA personnel converged on the Mayfield property of Sue Kelly. At that time nearly 300 animals were seized.
Thursday they went in for more.
The puppies that were being sheltered at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society Thursday night are the latest haul from alleged animal hoarder Kelly.
Most of them are pure bred. Even though most of them are pretty playful, most are in need of immediate veterinary care.
"There are some dogs that are going to need some long term recovery," said Tina Murray, the director of operations and humane law enforcement officer for the SPCA. "I do believe they're all relatively salvageable."
Murray says she went along with law enforcement earlier in the day with a search warrant on Route 349, Kelly's Haven for Friends and Animals, where she describes conditions as deplorable. Dogs were kept improperly confined, unsanitary living conditions and dogs that needed immediate medical care.
In the past, more than 300 animals -- dogs, cats, goats, birds and horses -- had been seized from that property.
Many friends and volunteers defend Kelly, applauding her dedication, her compassion and her inability to turn away any animal.
However, experts say the Kelly scenario illustrates the dichotomy of animal hoarding -- people who believe they're caring for the animals, but are actually causing them great harm.
"As far as I know hoarding is a mental disease and they think they're the only ones that can take care of these animals," Murray said.
Murray believes Kelly was overwhelmed by the 33 dogs, all brought to her at one time from another hoarding case in the area.
"I can't even imagine how many more (cases like it there are) that we don't know about," she said.
Kelly has been slapped with at least one count of animal cruelty. Even though many hoarding cases are pursued criminally, experts say the goal isn't necessarily to throw people in jail, but to prevent reoccurrence. That seems easier said than done since the recidivism rate for animal hoarding is nearly 100 percent.