Woman in pet torture case held on $100K bail

December 18, 2009 12:03:31 PM PST
A judge ordered a New York woman held on $100,000 bail Friday after prosecutors cited evidence that some of the 42 dead animals buried in her yard had been tortured, with duct tape around their mouths or showing signs of drowning. Sharon McDonough had been free without bail after her November arrest on misdemeanor charges, but she was taken away in handcuffs after her appearance Friday in Suffolk County Court in Central Islip.

Defense attorney James D'Angelo said his client is not guilty and was shocked by the judge's ruling.

She has been charged with abusing five dogs and a cat found alive in her home in Selden. A shepherd mix, a beagle mix, an Italian greyhound, a cocker spaniel mix, a pug and a tabby cat were living in wretched cages, authorities said.

A Family Court judge has removed custody of her six daughters, ranging from 18 months to 13 years.

Douglas McDonough, 21, turned in his mother on Nov. 5. He described the home as "a concentration camp for the animals" and claimed he and some of his siblings were present when animals were abused and killed.

After McDonough's arrest, some neighbors feared the worst for pets that disappeared in recent months. But Roy Gross of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals later concluded that McDonough probably bought the animals or adopted them through shelters and other traditional outlets.