Gloria Smith, a New York woman accused of cruelty to her cats, is not being forced to surrender her 60 dogs. Smith is accused of keeping dozens of cats stacked in urine-soaked cages in a cellar.
The county said they will seek a court order to prevent Smith from taking in more animals. They said the dogs live in cages outside on the property and appear to be fed and have adequate shelter.
82 cats were seized from Smith’s property. They all were checked out by a veterinarian, and none of the cats had to be euthanized. Currently, the cats are being cared for by an animal control officer on her farm.
Smith said she runs a private shelter named Bennie’s Buddies. She receives money from wealthy benefactors.
Local authorities said Smith’s cellar, which was where the cats were kept, was not properly ventilated and was hot and dark. The cages were stacked two, three high and put on concrete blocks. Deputies said cats were urinating and defecating on themselves.
Smith said she was in the hospital for a week, and one of her kennel workers was caring for the cats while she was gone.
Smith’s neighbors call her an animal hoarder.
Headlines first broke out about Smith in May 2006 when her home burned to the ground which killed dozens of dogs and cats. Since the incident, she has been building a new house and taking in more dogs and cats. The town has cited her for violations of its kennel law.
Authorities said they don’t have the authority to inspect her property or close the private shelter because private shelters are not held to any standards except for cruelty statutes.
“You don’t just shut someone down,” District Attorney Steve Lungen said. “There is a presumption of innocence until it has run its course.”
Source: Times Herald-Record