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Woman resolves animal case

November 6, 2012
By JOHN BORGOLINI , The Leader Herald

MAYFIELD - Tirzah Henry, a Mayfield resident who had 34 dogs taken from her in June, received time in jail and was granted custody of seven of the dogs after reaching a plea agreement to a misdemeanor charge of abandonment of animals Oct. 30.

Henry previously was charged with 11 counts, including overdriving, torturing and injuring animals and unlawful disposal of dead animals after Fulton County sheriff's officials discovered three dead animals and 34 live animals when serving her an eviction notice at her former 395 Progress Road residence June 22.

Her plea to abandonment of animals satisfies the original charges, and Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira.

The plea agreement included 32 days in jail and forfeiture of 27 dogs.

"I'm very pleased we got a full satisfaction of the charges," Sira said. "If you look at how these cases are handled, we definitely prosecuted her fully."

Henry's lawyer, Gerard Heckler, said he agrees with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society's statement that Henry had too many dogs. He said he is satisfied with the outcome of the case.

Henry will be restricted to owning only the seven dogs for three years as part of the plea agreement.

Heckler said dead dogs were found at Henry's residence, but that was because she hadn't been at the house and couldn't care for them.

"It was the charge that made the most sense because she wasn't there when the dogs passed away," he said. "There was no evidence of animal cruelty. She was absent. A male dog did pass away as well as a puppy, so that was the basis of her plea."

The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society took care of Henry's animals for several weeks. The humane society was seeking $30,000 for the care of the dogs, but that demand was dropped under the plea agreement.

Sira and Heckler said Henry's seven dogs will not be checked on by authorities.

Heckler said Henry is sympathetic to the fact some of her dogs died.

"My client deeply regrets that any of her dogs died or were otherwise considered to be in bad shape," he said. "Her animal-care records show that she had previously been attentive to the dogs."



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