NEWFIELD, N.Y. — Two Newfield residents facing a combine total of 124 charges pleaded not guilty to all counts on Tuesday evening in court.
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Kevin Pierce and Courtney Cotter were arraigned at the Newfield town court just after 4 p.m. Tuesday. They each pleaded not guilty to 31 for overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance and 31 for failure to provide proper food and drink to impounded animal.
The maximum penalty for the charges is a year in jail and a $1,000 fine per charge.
The pair have been released on their own recognizance since officials say they found 15 dogs, four rabbits, eight cats, and a chinchilla in the pair’s trailer.
Town Justice William Chernish said in court that he would continue to allow Pierce and Cotter to remain out of jail because he does not believe they are a flight risk — one of them is blind and the other is a caretaker.
“I don’t think that these folks are going anywhere,” Chernish said.
A pre-trial conference for them is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Jan. 12.
Joseph Hoffer, Senior Investigator for the Tompkins County SPCA, said after the arraignment that the conditions at the Newfield trailer — which was covered in urine and feces — were only topped by a previous case in which Cotter and Pierce were charged with hoarding 98 animals in their home.
Officials had to wear respirators and protective gear to safely enter the home.
“Conditions were, I think, pretty unimaginable,” Hoffer said.
He said the trailer the animals were taken from has been condemned.
According to a news release by the SPCA, the animals were seized on Nov. 11. Pierce and Cotter were charged Dec. 11 after a continuing investigation.
Hoffer said the two have been allowed to keep one dog and one cat.
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