Updated 12/09/2012 09:58 AM
Family refutes animal cruelty charges
After two family members were charged with animal cruelty, a Woodbourne family will attend a hearing on Wednesday that will determine the fate of their animals. Our Eva McKend has more on the allegations.
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, N.Y. -- A picture is worth a thousand words, but the Wagner family, declining to do an on camera interview after mother Virginia Wagner McCombs and son Donald Wagner were recently charged with animal cruelty, say don’t believe what you read, see or hear.
The family says that the conditions that the animals lived in on 333 Rose Road were a result of the damage done to the property after Hurricane Sandy. Fallsburg police say that’s not the case.
"I don’t think conditions like that happen overnight. That’s something that’s happened over years. I’m not saying a tree limb, here there, didn’t get blown down into a pen but the amount of feces that were in the pen is something that accumulates over years," said Detective Brendan Pavese.
About fifty animals were removed from the Woodbourne home on Tuesday. Off camera, the Wagner family says that assumptions were made based on their dogs being tied to a car. They also say they have been asking the town of Fallsburg to assist their 81-year-old mother with her property and that they have been trying to sell their animals on Craigslist. Police say the family was not unfairly targeted.
"We entered the property last week and found numerous goats, rabbits, chickens and geese living in deplorable conditions with mud, feces, the cages were loaded with scrap metal and trees sticking up. It was just a terrible scene," Pavese added.
Police say a terrible scene, but family say a terrible misunderstanding.
Donald Wagner is out of jail on a $6,000 bond. Meanwhile, the animals are in the care of a Fallsburg animal control officer.
The Wagners will have to show up for a Wednesday scheduled hearing.