Two Rockland County men have been charged with animal cruelty for staging dog fights as entertainment in their homes, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
When investigators raided a home in New Hempstead, Zugibe said they recovered nine Pit Bull terriers and observed other evidence of dog fighting. Investigators say two Rockland County men saw their training of the dogs and the fights as "just a hobby."
The dogs were taken by the Hudson Valley Humane Society in Pomona for treatment and foster care. Currently, the humane society has five of these rescued dogs available for adoption—Peaches, Butterscotch, Guenther, Chloe and Sweet Mama.
“They’re doing fine. We’ve had them since April,” said Ann Marie Gaudio, president of the Hudson Valley Humane Society. “We kept it low-key because the case was still being developed. As a volunteer organization, we’re even more cautious about who handles which animals, but they warmed up to people right away.”
HVHS is a no-kill shelter run solely on donations and by volunteers. Gaudio added that when the dogs arrived, “first thing we did was get them to the vet.”
“I think the whole experience was scary (for them to be transferred from the New Hempstead house to HVHS). These dogs didn’t know that there was a better life than what they had. We showed them kindness and they just blossomed,” she said.
The dogs were then treated with the proper surgeries, de-worming, shots, dentristry, treated for fleas and ear infections, were given baths, nails trimmed, spayed and neutered.
"Peaches was riddled with scarring all over her legs and her body from being fought," said Jared Sherer, a volunteer at the Hudson Valley Humane Society (HVHS). He added that their names were slightly changed to a more positive version that sounded similar. For example, Guenther was former Gunner. “You can tell the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”
“Sweet Mama gave birth to 16 puppies and she was emaciated and sickly (when she got to the humane society facility). She was in really bad shape,” added Sherer. “She’s such a great girl and she would never hurt a fly. (Peaches) and Mama got it really bad.”
“Imagine Sweet Mama 30 pounds lighter and nursing a litter of puppies. That dog was so catatonic when we got her,” said Gaudio. “We were feeding her. She was enjoying her food so much. We wanted to let her know that food was not at a shortage. She’s a robust, happy girl now.”
After six months of treatment and rehabilitation at HVHS, the dogs are ready for adoption.
“For Peaches, we’re looking for someone with extreme patience. Somebody who is willing to work with her. When she came here, we had to let her know that no one is here to hurt her or cause her any harm. It took her some time, as with any of them. They’re really forgiving,” said Sherer.
“If they’re not in the right hands, the dogs are art risk; they need safety, a fenced-in yard, these are powerful formidable dogs, they’re built for strength,” said Gaudio. “They need quality adopted homes.”
HVHS adoptions are by appointment only. Go to their website for more information. Here are their descriptions from the HVHS site.
- Peaches—2-year-old adult female pit mix. Great watch dog. Spayed, all shots. Rescued by the HVHS HLE Agents and ready to go home. Fenced in yard a must!
- Butterscotch— Approximately 10-11 months old, this girl was rescued by the HVHS HLE agents when she was just a pup. She has been spayed, all shots and knows basic commands.
- Chloe—This pup is 10 months old and is a boxer mix. "Chloe" was formerly named "Layla Ali" as a nod to her "boxer" heritage. She and her litter mates were saved by the HVHS Humane Law Enforcement Agents and is looking for a home. Do you have a fenced in yard? She is super smart, very cute, loves to play, loves other dogs, knows basic commands (sit, paw, down).
- Guenther—5 years old. This is a sweet blockhead of a guy. If you love goofy dogs this could be the boy for you. He weighs approximately 90 pounds and everyone just loves him. Guenther was rescued by our Humane Law Enforcement agents in a cruelty seizure ... now that he is safe will you give him a home and a fenced in yard? Neutered, all shots, de-wormed too.
- Sweet Mama—2 years old. She was rescued from a really bad situation. She is a good girl and would love a home with a fenced-in yard to call her own.
“We rely solely on donations and the kindness of people,” said Sherer. “We don’t receive any money from the state or any kind of funding. We don’t have a payroll so anyone who’s here is a volunteer. Any donations don’t go to salaries, it goes straight to the animals.”
Donations can be made online or by mail said Gaudio.
“We have a lot of great projects that we’re thinking of, but money’s always an issue and we wish we could do more,” added Sherer. “We want to build a new adoption center. We want to convert this (red) barn into a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.”
Donations don’t have to be monetary. They can be pet food, vehicles, services, supplies and much more. For more information, visit the HVHS wishlist online. HVHS also runs a pet pantry every other Saturday.
“Donations are great for that,” said Sherer. “It’s for people who are out of work and are falling on to hard times and can’t afford to feed their animals. Pet food is expensive.”