Fallout from LI animal abuse case

November 9, 2009 2:56:45 PM PST
More pet owners are coming forward, wondering if their pets are buried in a Long Island backyard. Officials found nearly two dozen dead dogs buried behind Sharon McDonough's Selden home. Lyn Cancillieri stuffed an old missing cat flyer into McDonough's mailbox, which has been spray painted "guilty" on one side and "killer" on the other. Cancillieri says her beautiful cat Prince was stolen from her home. And now, McDonough, who lives nearby, is accused of torturing and killing animals.

"To think that anybody hurt my cat like that, I don't know if I could contain myself," Cancillieri said.

Over the weekend, investigators were tipped off to the home on Awixa Place. There, they found five dogs and a cat living in deplorable conditions. Then, they discovered the unimaginable, the remains of 20 dogs buried in the backyard.

At a news conference Monday organized by the SPCA, there were fireworks when members of Rescue Ink, an animal rescue group, busted in. They accused the SPCA of dropping the ball on this case, ignoring McDonough's children, who allegedly tried to contact the SPCA in the past for help. They claim McDonough's own son, Doug, called Rescue Ink as a last-ditch effort to protect his six sisters. The youngest is just 18 months old.

"These kids risked their lives to try to help these animals," a Rescue Ink member said. "And they have been let down by everybody."

In fact, the SPCA admits they were called in by Rescue Ink. Only one of the animals is healthy enough to be adopted right now.

Authorities are looking into how the children were not only forced to abuse animals, but whether they were victims of abuse as well.

"I think it's terrible, I think it's tragic," one area resident said. "You have children who are going to need a lot of help after this to realize what's right and wrong."

The 43-year-old McDonough is accused of torturing, killing and burying the animals in her yard.

"I just look at it like it was a concentration camp for the animals," son Douglas said. "And my sisters and me, we got the end of it too."

McDonough is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, and her children are in protective custody.

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