By FELICIA KRIEG
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Elmore SPCA needs donations to care for the 11 kittens Plattsburgh City Police seized from Northern Puppies.
The pet-store owner, Tammy Staley, was charged Wednesday with 20 counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor.
Police found two dead kittens at Northern Puppies. Sixteen other kittens were seized, but two of them were ill beyond healing and had to be euthanized by a local vet, Elmore SPCA Shelter Manager Rebecca Burdo said.
Of the remaining kittens, one was at Eagle’s Nest Veterinary Hospital in Plattsburgh Thursday after its eye was removed because of a severe infection.
A cat from the pet shop with a new litter of four of five kittens is also at Eagle’s Nest, Burdo said.
“By late (Wednesday) afternoon, all the kittens were brought to Elmore SPCA in Peru and were resting comfortably,” the release said.
Burdo said it is difficult to tell the age of the kittens at the shelter because their small size could be due to malnourishment. She estimated that ages range from 5 to 7 weeks old.
“Some of their bellies are quite full, but that’s because they’re full of worms,” Burdo said.
VISIT TO STORE
Elmore SPCA has been receiving complaints about the conditions at Northern Puppies for more than a year, she said.
The shelter has been filing complaints with law-enforcement agencies for quite some time, too, Burdo said.
On July 2, Burdo said she went to Northern Puppies to offer to take possession of the cat with the new litter of kittens.
“I was trying to give her (Staley) some information,” too, Burdo said.
Several puppies were there.
“I can tell you that there was no food or water (at times) and when they were watered that there was only one water dish,” Burdo said. “You could see them scrambling and fighting to get to that one water source.”
The animals hadn’t received vaccinations to protect them from common ailments like kennel cough, she said.
Pet store employees were going from one pen to the other, which could cause the spread of parasites and infections, Burdo said.
Burdo said Staley surrendered the kittens but kept possession of the puppies.
Their fate won’t be determined until the court rules on Staley’s case.
A New York State Agriculture and Market hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Albany.
“It’s so sad,” Burdo said. “I can only put my faith in the court system and judicial system to do the right thing.”
Burdo said that having a person employed specifically to ensure the safety and just treatment of animals in the area would take pressure off law enforcement.
“I wish we had a peace officer or a cruelty officer in this area who was specifically vested in animal cruelty.”
She said that if a position like this existed, it likely wouldn’t have taken so long for Staley to be charged.
Burdo expressed her thanks to Lt. Scott Beebie of Plattsburgh City Police and Janet Collier of Ag and Markets for their work on the case.
“I’m so glad that finally agencies are cooperating together to address these issues and to get something done.”
Many of the kittens from the pet shop had severe cases of ringworm, ear mites, upper respiratory infections and other types of infections, Burdo said.
All the kittens are in an isolation room to protect the other animals at the shelter.
“We have very strict isolation protocol here at the shelter, and our staff is highly trained in sanitation and prevention of cross-contamination,” Burdo said.
She is calling for the public’s help.
“Because the kittens are in isolation, the shelter needs many items to prevent contamination.”
Items needed are small, disposable pie plates that will be used to hold food and water; large disposable baking tins to use for litter pans; dry kitten chow; dry cat food; wet, canned cat food; and non-clumping, non-scoopable cat litter.
The shelter also needs financial support for medications, vaccinations and continuous testing that the kittens will need in addition to vet fees.
“Though the kittens are too young and sick, when it is time, all of them will need to be spayed and neutered at a cost of $40 per cat,” the release said.
Donations may be brought to Elmore SPCA, 556 Telegraph Road, Peru, or to the Rescued Treasures shop on 37 Clinton St. in Plattsburgh.
Monetary donations may be mailed to Elmore SPCA, PO Box 656, Peru, NY 12972 or can be made online at www.elmorespca.org.
The kittens cannot be viewed by the public because they are in isolation and will not be available for adoption until they are healthy, have gained weight and have been medically cleared by a vet, the shelter said.
Those who are interested in adopting the kittens once they are healthy enough, can fill out an adoption application at www.elmorespca.org.
There is no obligation to adopt if an application is approved, Burdo said.
The seized kittens are only a small portion of many animals at Elmore SPCA that are in need of loving homes, she said.
“While we’re thinking about this tragedy, we need to think about the other animals that need homes too.”
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