New York woman sentenced to two years for animal abuse

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 7:03 PM
New York woman sentenced to two years for animal abuse

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York woman who admitted mistreating her children and torturing and killing dozens of pets, some in front of the youngsters, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday.

Sharon McDonough, 44, admitted killing numerous cats and dogs, 42 of which she buried in the backyard of her Long Island home, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.

She pleaded guilty last month to 13 criminal charges, including animal abuse and child endangerment, in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, New York. She was sentenced by Suffolk County Judge C. Randall Hinrichs.

McDonough acknowledged that she forced her children to urinate and defecate in buckets and forbade them from showering, requiring them instead to clean themselves with disposable wipes.

She was arrested in December 2009 after her son alerted authorities to the squalid conditions in which she lived with her six daughters.

"These poor, innocent children were made to live in squalor and filth, and witnessed and experienced things no child should ever have to encounter," Assistant District Attorney John Cortes said in a statement.

McDonough has been in custody since her arrest and will likely be released in April due to time already served.

Prompted by the McDonough case, Suffolk County in October launched the nation's first animal abuser registry.

The registry provides for people who have been convicted of felonies or high-level misdemeanors against animals to be publicly listed for five years.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Steve Gorman)