This has been a long time coming, friends! Almost a year after law enforcement raided their farm, a Watertown pair is finally getting their due for the torture, starvation, and neglect of hundred of animals in their care. The pair known as the “Watertown Meth Couple” pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty on Friday.
Here’s the scoop from Watertown Daily Times:
Leroy S. Burnham, 55, and Joanne M. Armstrong, 65, both of 16695 Sandy Creek Valley Road, made the plea in Henderson Town Court on Friday.
“It’s a big win for the county, and a big win for the 149 animals that don’t have to go back there,” said Assistant District Attorney Christina M. Curri.
Ms. Curri said the pair’s sentence was the forfeiture of all of the animals seized from the property and a one-year conditional discharge that requires monthly monitoring of any farm animals at the property for the next year.
She said state law only allows bans for people to have companion animals, but does not allow similar restrictions on farm-related animals. Ms. Curri said the pair has acquired other farm animals since the initial charges.
“There’s no way I can prevent them from getting animals from here on out,” Ms. Curri said. “We now have conditions in place that any animals on property have to be monitored.”
Separately, the pair were ordered to pay $10,000 toward the care of the seized animals.
The charges against the two in March followed a two-month investigation by the Jefferson County Animal Cruelty Task Force, which was initiated by a tipster who described the horses, goats, cows, llamas and turkeys at the farm as malnourished.
According to county records, both Mr. Burnham and Ms. Armstrong have outstanding possession of a controlled substance charges.
The case was moved from Watertown Town Court to Henderson Town Court after Watertown Justice Andrew N. Capone was relieved of his duties in connection to a charge against him for official misconduct.
The county task force, a rarity in New York, includes members of the District Attorney’s office, local animal advocates, multiple law enforcement agencies and veterinary specialists.
What’s truly horrific about this case is the fact that they are free and clear to own animals in the future. We should have an animal abuser registry just like they do for sex offenders! Once you’re on that list, you can’t have any animals in your care, period.
What do you think about an “Animal Abused Registry?”