Herkimer (WSYR-TV) - 12 sick dogs are still recovering at the Herkimer County Humane Society, after they were rescued from their owner, who's being accused of neglect.
No charges have been filed yet, but the woman has hired an attorney who's speaking out on her behalf and saying there's another side to the story.
“She has always cared for dogs, she's taken in strays, she loves these dogs,” said Utica Attorney Mark Wolber, who is representing the owner of the 12 dogs. “One of the dogs contracted this mange, and because they were in such close quarters, it just spread to all the other ones.”
The 12 dogs were taken into custody of the humane society on Saturday after they were found blind, hungry, bald and malnourished.
Wolber says his client was taking care of the dogs' illnesses and even showed the over-the-counter medications used to treat the dogs as well as a veterinarian bill for a dog named Max.
“You can see the vet bill from this dog, she spent a considerable amount of money,” Wolber said.
But workers at the humane society say the bill may not be convincing. Of the 12 dogs in custody, none were spayed or neutered and two of them are named Max.
That leads one shelter manager to believe a 13th dog she saw - but couldn't save - could match the bill.
“That’s been on my mind since. We do not have that dog in our custody,” said Jodie Crews, manager of the Herkimer County Humane Society.
The shelter says its role in this is to care for the dogs and allow State Police to handle the investigation, but say they still witnessed how bad the conditions were.
“The living conditions would have not have promoted healthy dogs,” Crews said. “This has been going on for a while. This hasn’t been since September or August. This has been going on a while.”
Wolber insists his client committed no wrong-doing and was actively treating the animals.
State Police have not yet released any information on the case.
As a possible legal battle ensues, donations continue to rush into the Herkimer County Humane Society, where the staff is working to give the dogs the best care possible.
For more information on how you can help and donate, check out the Herkimer County Humane Society homepage