The Schenectady County SPCA and New York State Police teamed together to rescue 20 animals in Duanesberg Thursday. NYS Police received a call from the owner of Golden Self Storage in Duanesberg after he heard a number of dogs barking and whimpering. State police arrived, torched the lock and opened the unit only to reveal 13 Chihuahua’s stuffed in 4 mid-size crates covered in their own feces and drenched in their own urine.
Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Chief Humane Law Enforcement Officer David Dean says the animals were locked in the storage unit after an initial SPCA investigation on Wednesday was getting too close for comfort.
On Wednesday SPCA officers arrived at 3868 Western Turnpike, Lot 117 in Duanesberg after receiving a call about a possible puppy mill. Once SPCA officers arrived they cited the owner with six no dog license violations.
“We could smell the feces in the house and knew the conditions were not suitable for any living creature. We asked to search the property at which case the owners would not allow us. We told them that we will obtain a search warrant and be back. It was then that thirteen of the dogs were taken off the property and stuffed in the crate and locked away in the storage unit next door,” said Chief Dean.
In addition to the 13 Chihuahua’s, 6 more animals (5 dogs, 1 cat) were rescued from vile conditions on the owner’s property next to the storage unit facility making it twenty animals in total.
Catherine Wallace of Duanesberg has been charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty (failure to provide proper sustenance) as defined under section 353 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law. Catherine’s son Michael Wallace has been charged with 13 counts of impounding animals without food or water also spelled out under section 353. All charges are Class A misdemeanors and more charges are possible at their first court hearing.
“Upon learning that we were coming back with a search warrant we learned it was Michael who physically took the dogs off the property, locked them in the storage unit and left them in their own filth,” said Chief Dean.
The SPCA has confirmed that Catherine Wallace has been cited for animal violations in the past and is asking anyone who may have information regarding past experiences with Ms. Wallace to please contact the SPCA on their hotline at 755-9517 where all calls remain anonymous.
The dogs were dropped off at the Animal Protective Foundation in Schenectady for further care and eventual adoption.
“It should be noted that while it was an SPCA original investigation that ultimately brought this mother and son tandem to justice, it was the quick response and commendable action of the New York State Police that located and helped rescue these innocent animals from possible death. The Animal Protective Foundation should also be highlighted because they will now care for the animals and get them ready for eventual adoption,” said Chief Dean.