In a bizarre scene, the dogs’ owner barbecued hamburgers while animal rescuers removed the dead and starving pups from the Wyandanch home on Saturday.
Veleda Bailey, 35, was charged with animal cruelty by the Suffolk County SPCA, after admitting she hadn’t fed the dogs in over a week, officials said.
Volunteers from the rescue group Almost Home, who help low-income pet owners with food and veterinary services, were visiting homes in the neighborhood Saturday when they saw a female pit bull mix on the street. They followed her home and found the heartbreaking scene.
One dog, still chained to a tree, was dead. Three hungry pups huddled with their mother in the open garage. Another male dog, just skin and bones, sat nearby.
“The barbecue was going, it was like a Fourth of July afternoon,” said Linda Klampfl of Almost Home. “A little boy made a comment that he thought it was funny the dead dog had no more eyes.
"The lady of the house allowed us inside to bring in food and to have a conversation about the dogs. She admits to not feeding the dogs in at least a week. The lady tells us that the “owner” of the dog has been incarcerated since May and that she is the caretaker now. We then see there is a male dog in the yard, later named Genesis. He is the most emaciated and we were fearful that he wouldn’t even make it through the night, especially considering the cold weather.
"We then find the dead body of the other dog...he was STILL CHAINED TO THE TREE. The kids were playing in the yard around him, as if there was nothing at all devastating about the situation. One of the young children giggled when he told me the dog had bugs in his eyes and they ate his eyes away.
"When it was suggested to her that she could go to the local church and get food for her family and the dogs from the food bank there she replied 'I already have my Thanksgiving Dinner.' She had no intention or care for feeding the dogs. " - Almost Home
Bailey told the Daily News she could not afford to feed her kids and the dogs.
“I could have fed them (the hamburgers) and then me and my kids would have nothing to eat,” said Bailey, as she stood in the doorway of her home on Monday afternoon. “I can give my kids noodles all day long but that’s not real food.”
She said the dog chained to the tree had died on Friday.
“What happened here my kids thought they were going to come help with the dog food – it turned out to be a whole different ballgame,” Bailey said of the rescuers.
All five dogs are still recovering and receiving treatment. Gross said the investigation is continuing and more charges could be filed.
If convicted, Bailey faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She is due back in court Jan. 30.
(NY Daily News - Nov 21, 2016)