Case Snapshot
Case ID: 20032
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
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Sunday, Feb 9, 2014

County: Greene

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 3 files available

» Dawn Verdeschi
» Christopher Cella

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Dozens of dogs and a cat were removed from two properties in the Town of Durham Sunday, and a woman was taken into custody, according to the Greene County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities called the conditions inside the properties deplorable.

Deputies said an anonymous call stating concern for the animals sparked the investigation at 221 Hervey Sunside Rd. as well as a second location on Morrison Road.

Members of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society also responded. They removed 39 dogs and one cat from both properties. Seven of the dogs were puppies.

One humane society member said a dog found inside one of the homes did not have water and quickly ate snow when it was brought outside.

Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said 43-year-old Dawn Verdeschi was charged with one count of Failure to Provide Food and Water. More charges may be filed.

The animals are being examined by a veterinarian at the Columbia-Greene Humane Society. There were no animal deaths as far as the humane society knows.

Deborah Albanese walked into a shocking scene when she checked on her rental property over the weekend. She said she was disgusted to discover dozens of dogs underneath garbage.

"You didn't even know where a dog was until it started to bark," she said. "My eyes started to water. That's how bad the smell is."

The Greene County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant Sunday at the house at 596 Morrison Rd. and began a rescue and investigation into the actions of Verdeschi.

"I can't close my eyes to that," Albanese continued. "I had to call the police. I called 911."

Seeley said Verdeschi was breeding and selling the dogs.

Officials said 29 dogs were seized from the property after Verdeschi refused to surrender the dogs.

"Some of them were so skinny and scared," Albanese said.

"Really, in my 30-year career in law enforcement, this is the worst animal abuse case I've seen," Seeley said. "There was cages on top of cages with dogs in each of the cages. There was feces on top of the dogs that was running down."

Eleven German Shepherds were seized from the property on Hervey Sunside Road.

"That is the best feeling out of this whole thing is that those dogs are saved," Albanese said. "I can replace everything that's in that place, but you cannot replace a life."

The sheriff's office said Verdeschi made bail Sunday night. The dogs remain at the Columbia Greene Humane Society.

Case Updates

A Greene County man has turned himself in following an investigation into an animal cruelty case that involved 39 German shepherd dogs being kept in deplorable conditions, authorities said Friday.

Christopher Cella was arrested at the Greene County Sheriff's Office at 80 Bridge St. Tuesday on a warrant for 34 counts of failure to provide sustenance and two counts of failure to provide appropriate shelter for dogs, a misdemeanor under the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.

The arrest stems from an incident late last month in which investigators found the dogs being kept in small cages and with no food or water and with limited heat at two houses in the town of Durham, the sheriff's office said.

In that incident, Dawn Verdeschi, 43, who rents a residence at 596 Morrison Road and is the co-owner of a residence at 221 Hervey-Sunside Road, was also charged with failure to provide sustenance. She was arraigned in Durham Town Court and sent to Greene County Jail in lieu of $1,500 bail.

Cella was sent to the Greene County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond following his arraignment.
Source: Oneida Dispatch - March 8, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:38AM 
New details have emerged in the case of dozens of dogs and a cat removed from two Durham homes.

According to investigators, the dogs are a top blood line worth thousands of dollars. The sheriff's office confirmed that residents of the Netherlands are claiming to own some of the dogs being bred. Officials say they are investigating the claims.

Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said 43-year-old Dawn Verdeschi was charged with one count of Failure to Provide Food and Water. According to officials, many of the animals were in poor condition and additional charges may be filed as the investigation continues.

Authorities say they are still looking for a second subject identified as Christopher Cella, 55, of Durham. He allegedly co-owned the Hervey-Sunside Road home. According to authorities, Cella has ties to the Rockland County area and has an outstanding warrant from Rockland County Family Court.

Anyone with information on Cella's location is encouraged to contact Greene County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Unit at #518-943-3300.

The sheriff's office said Verdeschi is the renter of the Morrison Road home and a co-owner of the Hervey-Sunside Road residence. The owner of the rental property is filing a civil lawsuit for damage to her property.

The sheriff's office is in also the process of trying to adopt one of the dogs to use for their K-9 unit.

Find out more about how you can help or adopt the animals here:
Source: News 10 - Feb 11, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:36AM 


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