Law enforcement witnesses speak in court in Sue Kelly animal abuse case

Susan Kelly, 70, of Mayfield, has been charged with 55 counts of torturing or injuring animals and failing to provide sustenance, all misdemeanors.
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A probable cause hearing was held Friday in the case of a Mayfield women who has been charged with 55 counts of torturing or injuring animals and failing to provide sustenance.

Susan E. Kelly, 71, of 587 State Highway 349, appeared in Mayfield Town Court Friday. She was arrested last year after police found 48 dogs, two rabbits, two goats, one horse, and more than a dozen ducks and chickens on the property.

The probable cause hearing was held Friday to determine if there was probable cause for Kelly’s arrest last year, and for the subsequent seizure of dozens of animals from her property.

Assistant District Attorney, Justine Henry, said that if Mayfield Town Court Justice John Papa Sr. determines there was probable cause for Kelly’s arrest and the seizure of the animals, then the case will go to trial. At the hearing, both Henry and Kelly’s defense attorney Allen Day questioned witnesses about what happened on July 25, 2022, which was the day all of the animals were discovered on Kelly’s property.

Henry and Day will receive copies of the transcript from the probable cause hearing, and will each have 30 days to produce a written summation. At that time Judge Papa will make a determination if the case will go to trial.

“We’ll get you the transcript as soon as possible,” Papa told Day and Henry. “Your memoranda will be due 30 days after you receive them. My decision on the motions will be within 30 days of receipt of your memoranda.”

Day told the court that the search and seizure of the animals from Kelly’s home and property was “unlawful.” He called for evidence, and photographs taken of her property to be dismissed as said there was, “No lawful search before a search warrant was issued.”

Day and Henry questioned Aaron Sherwood, a corporal for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, who was the first officer called to Kelly’s home at 587 State Highway 349, in Mayfield on July 25, 2022, Sgt. Wayne Hulslander, of the Fulton County Sheriff’s office, who was the next law enforcement officer on the scene that day, and Investigator Jerrica Smith of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, who investigated the case, and took many of the photographs of the home property and animals which are being used as evidence in this case.

The three officers all described the property similarly in court. They said they saw and heard multiple dogs on the property which was described by all as “overgrown.” They all said they saw piles of trash and debris throughout the property, and smelled feces, urine and garbage.

All of the three witnesses said they did not see food or water set out for most of the animals. Huslander said the horse had water, but described it as “dirty.” Smith said she saw food on the property, but it was in a barrel, not in the fenced in areas where many of the dogs were. Several photos shown to witnesses in court depicted dogs with lots of matted fur.

“Some of the dogs were really matted, we couldn’t even tell if they had other injuries,” Smith said. “So I took followup pictures when they [the animals] were seen by the vet, and even two days after that to show the progression of the dogs.”

Huslander said Kelly brought him to where she had a horse on her property. He said he could see the horses ribs sticking out, and its curved back.

Day questioned each of the witnesses about seeing signs that said “No Trespassing” on some of the sheds in Kelly’s yard.

Day also asked about why not all of the animals were seized on the July 25 date if they were really in some kind of immediate danger. Smith told him that there were not enough spaces in the nearby shelters to house all of the animals, and that some of the animals were seized the following day when spaces for them was located.

Kelly was arrested In August 2022 by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies. Her arrest came two weeks after officers searched Kelly’s Haven, an animal rescue shelter in Gloversville which had been run by Kelly. Officers had responded to Kelly’s Haven after complaints about a loose dog, which led to larger concerns for the animals kept there, officers said at the time.

By Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge

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