On November 5, 2009 43-year-old Sharon McDonough of Selden, New York was arrested on charges of running a “pet concentration camp” in her Long Island home. Upon investigation, the remains of at least 20 dogs were found buried in her backyard in shallow graves. Neighbor Andrea Martinez said, “The smell was unbearable. They were taking bags out by the dozen. It was crazy.”
McDonough’s children claim she forced them to help torture the animals. Sharon’s eldest son, Doug, 21, told reporters, “She would have the oldest kids hold down the dog while we duct-taped his mouth and she would hit him.” Five dogs and a cat were removed from the home, all found packed into cages with feces and urine in their matted coats. They were being cared for at the Suffolk County SPCA and are now up for adoption. Her six daughters, aged 18 months to 13 years old, were also removed from her custody.
Neighbors had complained to local authorities over the years about their pets going missing and now neighbors fear that their beloved companions met a terrible fate in McDonough’s hands. McDonough plead not guilty to six counts of class A misdemeanor animal cruelty last week. If convicted of these charges, she faces up to 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine per conviction. McDonough could also face more serious charges depending upon investigators’ determinations of how the animals found in the backyard died. Doug McDonough turned in his mother by alerting the Long Island rescue organization, Rescue Ink, who then contacted the Suffolk County SPCA. Chief Roy Gross, of the Suffolk County SPCA, stated, “This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse I have seen in the last 25 years I have been doing this.”