MAYFIELD - Several days after 34 dogs found at a Progress Road house June 19 were relocated to Kelly's Haven for Friends Animal Rescue, they've been removed.
Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society Director of Operations Tina Murray went to Sue Kelly's shelter to remove the animals from "unsanitary conditions" Thursday - a day after Murray and members of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department were at the County Highway 349 shelter to conduct a surprise inspection.
Mohawk-Hudson Executive Director Brad Shear said Murray and a staff veterinarian inspected the 34 dogs - which belong to Tirzah Henry - Wednesday and found they weren't being properly sheltered by Kelly, who had been charged with animal neglect last June. Following their investigation, Murray and the Sheriff's Department went to Fulton County Judge Polly Hoye and got a warrant to remove the animals.
Susan Kelly, left, owner of Kelly’s Haven in Mayfield, speaks with Fulton County Investigator Michael Thomas at Kelly’s shelter Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
"We went out Wednesday and took a look at what conditions were like. They were being housed in unsanitary conditions," Shear said. "Several of them were in need of immediate veterinary care. They were living in a basement, and she wasn't cleaning up or generally caring for them."
Mohawk-Hudson relocated the dogs to its 3 Oakland Ave. site in Menands. Shear said the staff veterinarians examined all 34 dogs and are treating them. He said an adult shepherd mix is going in for X-rays to determine if it has a broken foot.
Henry was charged June 22 with a count of overdriving, torturing or injuring animals and a count of unlawful disposal of dead animals after officials found dogs in various conditions at a Progress Road house she was renting. Authorities said several animals were found dead at the house. Henry was evicted from the house and sent the surviving dogs to Kelly's Haven.
Shear said he believes Henry and Kelly each share liability for the care of the dogs.
"I would say both of them are responsible," he said. "It's always the responsibility of the owner to take care of the animals. But they were also in Sue Kelly's care, so she is also responsible."
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said Kelly did not appear to be properly caring for the dogs.
"Once law enforcement and myself realized the dogs were being placed with Kelly, we had law enforcement, along with the humane society, do an inspection," Sira said. "Upon inspection, it was clear Kelly would not be able to care for Ms. Henry's dogs. It's too many dogs for one person to take on. The humane society also disagreed with the dog control officer's [Jane Potts] report. They determined that they were in worse condition than the dog control officer had reported. Based upon that information, we applied for a search warrant, and the dogs were removed from Kelly's property yesterday."
The district attorney stressed that Kelly will not be held responsible for any charges involving Henry's dogs, as Henry still claims ownership of the animals.
"Miss Kelly's dogs were not the subject of the search warrant. Miss Henry's dogs were," Sira said. "Miss Kelly has been cooperating with the entire process. Miss Henry is the one who remains responsible as she maintained ownership of the dogs. Any charges regarding the dogs will go against Miss Henry."
Sira also expressed appreciation for the MHHS' help with the process.
Kelly had been charged July 20, 2011, with neglecting animals, first-degree filing a false instrument, third-degree welfare fraud and third-degree grand larceny.