Troy animal abusers flip in court, plead guilty

May 09, 2019 08:18 PM

TROY – Dogged in and out of court by the community group "Justice for the Hundred," Michelle and David Hempstead changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty for animal abuse under the Agriculture and Markets Law.

"Guilty, your honor," was the repeated phrase from both to Judge Christopher Maier as he detailed each of the 17 counts after a raid at their Campbell Avenue home on December 18, 2018.

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After meeting with a probation officer, they left Troy City Court and instead of just making a direct route to their car, they scurried in the wrong direction. Eventually, David peeled off to make a trail back, but Michelle walked all the way around the city block, followed by both the media and protestors.

"The District Attorney's office took a position that we weren't going to extend any offers on the file which sort of put their feet to the fire I guess," said Matthew Hauf, the Chief Assistant District Attorney in Rensselaer County.

He says he’ll ask for two years in the Rensselaer County Jail for each, plus recommend to Judge Maier restitution to the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society and ask they never own animals again.

"They've expended an exorbitant amount of money to care for these animals, get them healthy for adoption," Hauf said. "They are not for profit agency, so obviously we want to try to keep them running and doing what they do."

"This has been going on for years, but now because we have a group and we've notified the public - the media's involved, it's bringing them to justice this time and it's about time," said Marianne Harrington, leader of Justice for the Hundred.

One of her group says she was side-swiped by the Hempstead’s SUV as they tried to drive off. She filed a complaint with the Troy Police Department.


WNYT Staff

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