Mom in pet torture case faces judge on new charges

Sharon McDonough (left) leaves Central Islip family court on November 10, 2009. An officer from the SPCA (right) places animal remains in a cooler for transport on Nov. 7 after finding them buried in McDonough's backyard. (James Carbone (left), Ed Betz (right))

January 21, 2010 10:17:20 AM PST
A Long Island woman has pleaded not guilty to abusing family pets in front of her children. Investigators say 42 dead animals were later found buried in her yard.

Defense attorney James Saladino told a judge Thursday he's considering an insanity defense for Sharon McDonough.

McDonough also is accused of using excessive corporal punishment because her toddler's crying woke her up.

She could face up to two years in prison if convicted of the top charge, aggravated animal cruelty. She also is charged with child endangerment and animal torture.

Her adult son contacted authorities about the living conditions of his younger siblings. He also complained that five dogs and a cat were mistreated in the Selden home.