SPCA: 32 animals removed from condemned Centereach home

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A Centereach couple is facing more than two dozen counts of animal cruelty.

Henry and Kathy Fortis are facing several charges related to the deplorable conditions in which they kept their 32 animals on Holbrook Road.

SPCA officials say they removed 11 dogs and 21 cats from the home Sunday, which they say was covered in feces and urine.

"The smell even when you got near the door was overwhelming," said Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross.

Officials tell News 12 that ammonia fumes from inside the home set off a fire alarm. The fire department responded, and that's when firefighters found the animals. There was a total of 11 dogs and 21 cats.

A neighbor says Henry Fortis has been in the hospital for more than a year and his wife, Kathy Fortis, was trying to take care of the home and that she was feeding the animals. That neighbor says that Kathy Fortis may have gotten overwhelmed because of her husband's condition.

"I think that the animals are perfectly fine," she said. "She loved the animals, I know that they were always outside running around."

Officials say that the animals do not appear malnourished and appear to be in good condition, but the living conditions inside the house were so bad that neither animal or person should be inside.

"They appear to have been fed. They appear, by observation, by looking at them, but the conditions in there is why they were charged. It's because of the conditions. The law is Article 26 Section 353, failure to provide proper sustenance. Sustenance can be food, could be water as well as air quality," Gross said.

The Town of Brookhaven has condemned the home until it is cleaned up.

The animals are now under the care of the Brookhaven Animal Shelter, where they were bathed and vaccinated by volunteers.

Since the couple gave up all of the animals to the town, eventually the animals will be put up for adoption.

News 12 is told that the couple was issued appearance tickets and are due back in court in September. They face a maximum of a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if they are found guilty.




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