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Troy couple gets probation for hoarding animals

August 01, 2019 04:25 PM

TROY - Met with more chants of "maximum sentence," which would have been two years, David and Michelle Hempstead got three years' probation. However, that begins with 60 days in the Rensselaer County Jail.

Back in December, a raid of their Campbell Avenue home found more than 100 animals. The most severe cases became 17 misdemeanor counts that they pled guilty to back in May. The case also formed the group "Justice for the Hundred," an animal rights group that dogged them for months.

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Thursday morning they chanted, had someone dressed in a "grim reaper" costume, and held a moment of silence outside the Troy Court House and Police Station.

"I am heartbroken," said Marianne Harrington, founder of Justice for the Hundred. "It is a win, but we wanted maximum sentence which would have been two years. We need to fight for stronger laws."

Judge Christopher Maier said, "They engaged in raising animals for profit...these animals suffered in pursuit of profit."

He felt that probation can keep an eye on them. He also said they must pay resitution of $24,412.55, about $150 a month. They also can no longer own, harbor, have custody or control of animals for 30 years, until July 31, 2049.

Michelle Hempstead told the Judge: "It was never intentional. I do love animals...overwhelming...I'm very sorry this happened."

David Hempstead told the Judge: "I didn't realize...I'm sorry...it wasn't intentional...I wish I wasn't in this place right now."

Rensselaer County Chief ADA Matthew Hauf asked for two years in jail followed by probation. He even mentioned that the smallest of animals could have helped some of these domestic animals and the Hempsteads.

"Maybe if we look at this through the rosiest of lenses, literally a mouse click away from help on the internet," Hauf said in court, adding it was his belief it was breeding and selling more than hoarding.

"They were running a for-profit business while neglecting and abusing and mistreating animals but I believe that everyone should be happy that some jail time was instituted by the court," Hauf said after Maier's decision. "Probation will be able to monitor things and the restitution component while I don't know if it will ever get paid, at least it was ordered."

To hear about the case, click on John Craig's report.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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