“There were so many animals suffering in the darkness and there were rotting carcasses everywhere. When I got there at 4 o’clock in the morning, it was still dark and we had to use our flashlights,” said Susquehanna Animal Shelter Executive Director Stacie Hynes. “But you could literally hear the animals screaming.”
The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a New Lisbon couple on animal cruelty charges after they say more than a hundred animals were found in deplorable conditions over the weekend.
William Desimone and Gabrielle Bastian are each charged with five counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, one count of growing marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
Here’s the story from local NBC affiliate WKTV:
Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin says a deputy responded to the farm at 166 Backus Rd. in New Lisbon Friday evening after a passerby reported an electrocuted goose caught in the fence in front of the residence. When the responding deputy arrived on scene she found the dead goose at the fence, and as she tried contacting the homeowners she heard dogs in the lower part of the basement.
Neighbors told the deputy that the homeowners are home intermittently, and that complaints had been filed with the local Animal Control officer. The Animal Control officer, Elizabeth Fish, was called to the scene and the two officers attempted to check on the dogs.
Deputies say seven dogs were found in the basement, one of which was locked inside a standing wire cage half-full of excrement, and one of which was tied to a wall with a rope only the length of its body, standing on inches of excrement.
Deputies say the door to the side basement could only be pushed open a few inches due to the depth of excrement piled on the floor. Five of the seven dogs in the basement were living in that room, and there was no food or water for any of the seven dogs in the basement. Devlin says it’s unknown at this time how long the dogs were left in those conditions, and what medical conditions might exist for the dogs.
One witness reported to deputies that the owners had not been seen at the home in a week.
The total number of animals found and seized included: 20 pigs, 7 donkeys, 13 chickens, 3 ducks, 25 geese, 13 sheep, 7 rabbits, 9 dogs, a turkey, a guinea hen, 2 parakeets, a pigeon, a cat and a tortoise.
The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office say all of the animals were either without food, water or both.
They also found two areas dedicated to growing marijuana inside the home. Over fifty marijuana plants were seized as was a substantial quantity of dried marijuana.
Desimone and Bastian are scheduled to appear in the Town of New Lisbon Court again on April 25th.