The number of dogs seized by the Ontario County Humane Society from a Naples home rose to 80 by the end of the week, after the Humane Society removed 73 dogs from the residence on Wednesday.
All the dogs seized from the Lawyer Road home are at the Happy Tails Animal Shelter in Hopewell. On Saturday, the shelter was packed with people inquiring about the dogs and bringing donations of food and supplies that filled closets and lined hallways.
Richard A. Justice, 65, and Jane W. Justice, 70, were arrested and initially charged with 73 counts of cruelty to an animal, as well as 73 counts of failure to provide food and water to an impounded animal. The Humane Society seized seven more dogs during its follow-up investigation on the property, which adds to the counts in the animal cruelty case.
Humane Society Director Bill Martin said Saturday that the charges remain misdemeanors. The pair are scheduled to appear in Naples Town Court Aug. 15.
The Naples Code Enforcement Office deemed the residence unsafe and uninhabitable.
The Ontario County Office of Emergency Management helped at the scene, needing to use Tyvek suits and breathing equipment due to the unsanitary conditions found in the house.
Humane Society Shelter Manager Dianne Faas said it was not a puppy mill; it was a case of hoarding animals. The dogs are all terrier types and range in age from four months to elderly.
The Humane Society is treating the dogs for fleas, allergies, eye irritations, parasites and other conditions. Faas expects all the dogs to recover. They are also being vaccinated and receiving any other treatments needed before they will be available to go to foster homes. The Humane Society needs to place them as soon as possible because of overcrowding at the shelter. Faas said the Humane Society is keeping a list of those who want to foster a dog, as well as a list of those who want to adopt.
Faas said the Humane Society will not be able to put the dogs up for adoption until after it takes official custody of the dogs after the court case is completed, which could take as long as eight months.
The Ontario County Humane Society began an investigation about 8 p.m. on July 26 after the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office responded to a complaint of several dogs running in the road that were found to be living at the Lawyer Road property. The following day the Humane Society officer responded again and spoke to the homeowner but was not allowed to go inside the residence. A search warrant was then obtained from Ontario County Court Judge Frederick Reed and executed on July 31 at about 9:40 a.m. with help from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office. That is when the Humane Society seized the 73 dogs, taking them to the shelter for examination and treatment, and later finding seven more dogs there.