LI woman in pet torture case held on $100K bail
(AP) - A judge ordered a New York woman heldon $100,000 bail Friday after prosecutors cited evidence that someof the 42 dead animals buried in her yard had been tortured, withduct tape around their mouths or signs that they had drowned.
Sharon McDonough, 43, had been free without bail after herNovember arrest on misdemeanor charges, but she was taken away inhandcuffs after her appearance Friday in Suffolk County Court inCentral Islip.
McDonough faces "the likelihood of a felony indictment," saidJohn Cortes, assistant district attorney. Authorities initiallyfound 20 dogs buried behind her Selden home in early November; asubsequent search Dec. 8 uncovered another 22 dead animals.
Necropsies found evidence the animals had been abused, Cortessaid.
"There are indications this defendant did kill these animals,"District Judge Paul Hensley said in setting bail. "I believe theimpulse to flee will become irresistible."
Defense attorney James D'Angelo said his client is not guiltyand was shocked by the judge's ruling, and indicated she isunlikely to be able to post bail.
"I don't feel there was a significant change incircumstances," D'Angelo said. "She's made each and every courtappearance. She's presumed to be innocent. I am very disappointedwith the judge's decision today."
McDonough has been charged with abusing five dogs and a catfound alive in her home. A shepherd mix, a beagle mix, an Italiangreyhound, a cocker spaniel mix, a pug and a tabby cat were livingin wretched cages, authorities said.
After McDonough's arrest, some neighbors feared the worst forpets that disappeared in recent months. But Roy Gross of theSuffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalslater concluded that McDonough probably bought the animals oradopted them through shelters and other traditional outlets.
Cortes confirmed those findings at Friday's court session.
A Family Court judge has removed custody of McDonough's sixdaughters, ranging in age from 18 months to 13 years.
That judge held a status hearing earlier Friday. After learningthat McDonough had not seen her daughters since her arrest, JudgeAndrew Tolentino ordered Child Protective Services to organize animmediate visit.
However, after McDonough was taken into custody, D'Angeloconceded that any visit would probably be postponed.
Douglas McDonough, 21, turned in his mother on Nov. 5. Hedescribed the home as "a concentration camp for the animals" andclaimed he and some of his siblings were present when animals wereabused and killed.
He was in the courtroom when Hensley made the bail order butdeclined to comment afterward.