Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19594
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
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Judge(s): William Golden

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Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012

County: Gloucester

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

» Roxanne Notaro
» Alice Sheridan

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A township woman is accused of reducing her American bulldog to skin and bones as he lay in his own waste.

Roxanne Notaro was charged on Monday with six counts altogether of animal cruelty, having allegedly confined the white bulldog, Hercules, to a crate in the basement of her Vassar Road home, in the township's Oak Valley section.

According to a statement released Tuesday by Rick Yocum, President of the New Jersey SPCA, Hercules was found locked in a small crate, covered in his own feces and urine, and infested with fleas.

The fleas had caused anemia, SPCA investigators said, and Hercules was emaciated and dehydrated.

Hercules weighed 38 pounds.

"He was literally skin and bones with little or no muscle mass," NJSPCA spokesman Matt Stanton said in a news release.

The dog is now in foster care, Yocum said, and is being fed small meals "to build his strength and weight.

"Thankfully, he is responding well to the care he is now receiving," Yocum continued.

Hercules reportedly will need surgery to his right elbow because of the malnutrition and all his time spend lying in feces.

Investigators also found in Notaro's care a malnourished cat that the SPCA said had to be euthanized.

Notaro was charged with one count of animal cruelty in relation to the cat. For Hercules' condition, charges included depriving a living creature of necessary sustenance, failure to provide a living creature with proper food or drink and torturing or tormenting a living animal.

Yocum said a chocolate lab in Notaro's care was healthy, except for the presence of fleas. Notaro surrendered that dog to the SPCA as well.

Notaro could no be reached for comment Tuesday, but a picture of her "beloved" cat and Labrador was on her Facebook page. She expressed grief on her Facebook wall that the chocolate Lab was gone.

"Little no matter what went on we will always love you," Notaro wrote this morning.

The group will raise funds to help pay Hercules' medical bills, Yocum added, including the surgery on his elbow. Anyone interested in donating to help for Hercules' medical bills can do so by clicking here.

Case Updates

An Oak Valley woman who had pleaded not guilty to abusing her American bulldog abruptly changed course in Deptford municipal court Wednesday, pleading guilty and avoiding prison.

But Roxanne Notaro, who faced six counts of animal abuse related to her mistreatment of her bulldog, Hercules, and a cat that had to be euthanized, didn't get off the hook completely.

She will have to pay $2,900 for Hercules' extensive medical care and faces a 10-year ban on having pets, as ordered by Deptford municipal court Judge William Golden.

Notaro avoided potentially 45 days in jail and $4,000 in fines by pleading guilty, but has to abide by a consent order governing the plea, which includes 200 hours of community service and open inspections by the state SPCA or local animal control to enforce the 10-year ban.

While the lack of jail time may disappoint some, New Jersey SPCA President Richard Yocum said the ban and mandate to pay the medical costs were more important.

"Yes, we would all love that to happen, but reality is that on first offense it rarely happens - and did not happen in this case," Yocum wrote of the lack of jail time in a Facebook update on the case.

And if inspectors ever find Notaro violating any of the terms, Yocum vowed the SPCA will arrest her and enforce the harsher punishment.

"We will nail her in a heartbeat if she violates that order," Yocum wrote.

Several online petitions, some garnering hundreds of signatures, had called for Notaro to get a jail sentence for the abuse, which state SPCA officials said involved Hercules being kept in "horrific conditions," neglected and forgotten in a feces-encrusted basement cage.

Hercules' abuse was discovered almost by accident - Deptford police were called to Notaro's Vassar Road home, just a few hundred yards from the West Deptford Animal Hospital, on an unrelated matter back on April 3, SPCA officials said, and after finding the dog in the basement, got the state SPCA involved in the case.

The bulldog has since been in the care of the staff at Delaware Valley Animal Hospital in Mullica Hill, where he's steadily gained weight and improved since being rescued.

"To see Hercules' amazing progress is emotionally overwhelming, even for those of us used to this process," Yocum wrote in an update on the dog's condition.

Notaro's mother, Alice Sheridan, also pleaded guilty to a single count of animal cruelty Wednesday, receiving the same 10-year ban on having animals, as well as a $500 fine.
Source: West Deptford - Patch.Com
Update posted on May 24, 2012 - 12:11PM 


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