A Mayfield woman behind an animal rescue shelter has been charged with 55 counts of torturing or injuring animals and failing to provide sustenance, all misdemeanors.
Susan E. Kelly, 70, of 587 State Highway 349, was arrested at 11:03 a.m. Wednesday by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies. Her arrest comes more than two weeks after officers searched Kelly’s Haven after complaints of a loose dog. The complaints led to larger concerns about animals there, officials had said.
Police said they found 48 dogs and various other animals. There were also two rabbits, two goats, one horse and over a dozen ducks and chickens on the property, according to an earlier press release from the Fulton County Regional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the James A. Brennan Humane Society.
The animals were found “primarily outdoors and in filthy, uninhabitable conditions,” the release stated.
There were also two dogs found dead at the property, according to the release.
“The charges all stem from living animals,” said investigator Ian Ford.
Ford said he could not comment on whether additional charges regarding the dead animals would be issued because of the ongoing investigation.
The animals are being held as evidence and have not yet been surrendered voluntarily or through the courts, he said.
Kelly will appear in Mayfield Town Court at a later date, according to police.
SPCA President Renee Earl said the animals are continuing to receive necessary care. He said the level of care ranges depending on the animal’s condition but that some dogs are critical.
“Our legal counsel is preparing to file for a security bond in this matter to ensure that the defendant pays for the care and housing of the animals during the pendency of the criminal matter or seeking their forfeiture to the SPCA,” she said in an email Wednesday.
Kelly was the subject of an animal cruelty case in 2011. During that case, the Sheriff’s Department said it had received multiple complaints about the property. At that time, around 300 animals were found on the property — from dogs and cats to livestock and parrots. In that case, the animals had been receiving food, but the living conditions were below standard and a small number of the animals had to have emergency care.
Since Kelly’s Haven was searched the SPCA and Humane Society have been caring for the animals along with Ayres Memorial Shelter.
The SPCA is continuing to raise funds to support the cost of caring for the animals. People can donate at http://fcrspca.org/donatenow. People also can help the Humane Society by donating to the society’s PayPal address at email@example.com or items can be dropped off at the shelter or mailed to 437 Nine Mile Tree Road, Gloversville. Those looking to donate to Ayers can visit https://donorbox.org/mayfield-crew.