In a heartbreaking incident, Hempstead Town Animal Control Officers were called to a Rockville Centre home to rescue 17 severely neglected dogs on Wednesday, January 12th. Beckoned by village police, employees of the town shelter were shocked and disgusted to discover the 17 live, but profoundly neglected dogs as well as 4 dead dogs and 1 dead cat. The 17 dogs were transported to the town's animal shelter where they received medical attention and thorough cleaning and grooming.
Drawing upon the terrible event, Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray called upon Long Islanders who "see something" to "say something," emphasizing the need for people to report suspected animal abuse and neglect. Joining Murray at a press briefing were Senior Councilman Anthony Santino, Councilwoman Angie Cullin, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and members of the renowned rescue group Rescue Ink.
"It is incomprehensible and heartbreaking that 22 animals were living in conditions that constitute abject neglect," said Murray. "I want to make sure that the 4 dogs and 1 cat who did not survive the 'living hell' at a Rockville Centre home did not die in vain. In the memory of these beautiful creatures, I am calling upon residents who 'see something' to 'say something.' Neighbors who see, hear or have reason to suspect animal abuse or neglect need to speak out for the animals and report it."
The animals recovered from the home included 14 cocker spaniels, a papillon, a black Labrador mix, and a golden retriever. The surviving dogs were urine soaked and their fur was matted and filthy. Shelter staff removed 10 pounds of matted hair from rescued animals. Many of the dogs suffered from ear infections and eye irritations from the air quality. A veterinarian was called to respond to the town's animal shelter to examine all of the dogs last evening and prescribe indicated treatments and medication.
"In addition to providing the dogs with immediate medical attention, our shelter staff worked late into the evening last night to clean, groom and comfort the animals," Murray said. "I'm proud of our shelter employees for their compassion and commitment to the welfare of these dogs."
"This type of animal neglect is heartbreaking," stated Santino. "I am relieved that caring shelter workers and a qualified veterinarian are giving these dogs the care and comfort they need and deserve."
Town officials indicated that the case has been referred to the Nassau District Attorney's Animal Abuse Division for investigation. Meanwhile, the Hempstead Supervisor indicated that the town would vigorously oppose and fight any efforts by the owner of the dogs to recover the neglected animals. Moreover, Murray stated that her goals were to first ensure the health of all of the animals and to find them loving homes.
"We've reported this serious case to the district attorney for investigation," noted Murray. "Our goal is to be vigilant in stopping those who abuse and neglect animals in their tracks. What's more, I will fight any efforts by the person who neglected these animals to recover any of them. They've been through enough!"
"As an animal-rescue group dedicated to battling animal abuse and neglect as well as educating people about the mistreatment of animals, we back up local shelters and organizations like the ASPCA that work to save animals," said Joe Panz of Rescue Ink. "We support the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in their efforts to raise awareness about animal mistreatment and enhance the quality of life for animals in need of care."
The Supervisor indicated that the tragedy should serve as a call to arms, encouraging Long Islanders to report suspected animal abuse and neglect. Murray said that residents should call their local police precinct and their local animal shelter to report such incidents. She also noted that if anyone sees an act of physical abuse in progress, they should immediately call 911.
"It's time for residents to step up and say "NO" when they suspect that animal abuse is occurring," observed Cullin. "I don't ever want to see animals subjected to this type of indifference ever again. It's just sickening."
"Seeing neglected and abused animals is one of the worst parts of my job," concluded Murray. "That's why I am making this public plea for Long Islanders who 'see something' to 'say something' when they suspect animal abuse and neglect."