28 mistreated pets find a haven after police take them from Ferrisburgh home
MIDDLEBURY — At approximately 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, cheers could be heard throughout the county’s animal shelter. What prompted the celebration was a call from the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office, notifying them that the animals seized 115 days prior in an animal cruelty case had been ordered surrendered and were now theirs to re-home.
The seizure took place on Oct. 7, 2017, when the Vermont State Police, with the assistance of Homeward Bound and a licensed veterinarian, removed 28 animals from a Ferrisburgh home. Several hearings took place in the months that followed, culminating with a Civil Forfeiture hearing on January 24, which consisted of 4.5 hours of testimony, argument, and evidence.
The court ruled on Jan. 29 that the state had provided “clear and convincing evidence” that the animals were “subject to cruelty, neglect, and abandonment.” In particular, they were “restrained in a manner that is inhumane and detrimental to their welfare,” and “deprived of adequate food, water, sanitation, and necessary medical attention.”
“We are extraordinarily grateful for the work of the troopers at the New Haven Vermont State Police barracks and to Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygman and Victim’s Advocate Deb James for bringing this case to a successful conclusion,” says Homeward Bound’s Executive Director Jessica Danyow. “We have seen many a cruelty case in Vermont drag on for months, only to end with the animals returning to the neglectful situation they came from and the shelter shouldering thousands of dollars in expenses after caring for the animals in limbo. The outcome of this case sends a strong message to Addison County and Vermont: animal cruelty will not be tolerated and those animals in neglectful situations will be advocated for to the fullest extent of the law.”
With regard to the cost of caring for the 28 animals seized in this case, Danyow reports that the expenses have reached nearly $11,000 since they came into the shelter. “The defendants still face criminal charges and will be expected to pay some restitution,” says Danyow. “This would be great but the most important thing is that these animals can move on with their lives in safe, loving, and healthy homes.”
Now that the animals are in their custody, Homeward Bound can address their neglected medical needs including dental care, diagnosing body masses/tumors, and providing spay/neuter surgeries. Many of the animals will be adopted by their foster families. Danyow adds, “We are grateful to the many people who stepped up to provide foster care for the animals once we were allowed to place them in foster homes. It’s wonderful to see so many of these foster families transitioning into forever families and it’s the absolute best thing for these companion animals.” Still available for adoption are ferrets, birds, guinea pigs, a hamster and a puppy.
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