Charges filed against Newfield couple in November animal hoarding case

December 14, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

The SPCA of Tompkins County filed charges on Friday in the Town of Newfield, following an investigation into a hoarding and neglect case in which 28 animals were seized last month. SPCA Executive Director Jim Bouderau says Kevin Pierce and Courtney Cotter will be arraigned this Tuesday.

SPCA officers found dozens of animals "living in complete squalor" in this trailer in Newfield. Photo provided.SPCA officers found dozens of animals "living in complete squalor" in this trailer in Newfield. Photo provided.Bouderau says the couple were charged on Friday with 31 counts of violating New York State Ag and Markets Laws section 353, overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance, and 31 counts of violating section 356, failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal.

"The [SPCA] staff that fulfill animal control duties are also trained peace officers," Bouderau tells us, "and have the legal authority and jurisdiction" to file charges.

The majority of the animals seized in the case last month have already found new homes and been adopted, according to the SPCA, after a few weeks of medical evaluations, treatments, and recovery. Bouderau tells us, "All but five animals have already been adopted!" The remaining animals "are doing quite well, and are expected to make a full recovery," he says.

On November 11th, SPCA humane investigators, working with a veterinary team from Cornell University's Shelter Medicine Program and officers from the Tompkins County Sheriff's Department, found 15 dogs, 4 rabbits, 8 cats, and one chinchilla, living "in complete squalor" in the couple's Newfield trailer, "along with the remains of three previously deceased animals." Necropsies performed on the deceased animals "were inconclusive, unfortunately," according to Bouderau.

"It is amazing that 28 animals had survived living in these horrendous conditions," Bouderau says. "While this is not the largest case we have ever seen, it was certainly one of the worst in terms of living conditions." Many of the animals were dehydrated, covered in feces, severely infested with fleas and ear mites, and tested positive for intestinal parasites. Most were not spayed or neutered.

Bouderau told us last month that evaluating and providing medical attention and care for each of the rescued animals would run "an average cost of $600 for everything we will need to do," so monetary donations are urgently needed and can be made online at spcaonline.com, by e-mailing gifts@spcaonline.com, or by telephone by calling 607-257-1822 extension 232 or 247. The SPCA release added that their financial reserves were substantially depleted following "one of our busiest times of the year in 'kitten season,'" so the "lage influx of animals in need severely impacts our day to day operations at the shelter, as well as our financial resources."

Pierce and Cotter were also prosecuted in 2010 after the SPCA seized 98 animals living in similar conditions, Bouderau says. The pair will be arraigned in Town of Newfield town court at 4pm on Tuesday, December 18th.

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