Jun 14, 2010: Woman faces charges of animal torture
After a lengthy and detailed joint investigation involving the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, the Niagara County District Attorney's Office and the Niagara County SPCA, which included Veterinary Medical/Forensic personnel, Joelle R. Kott, was arrested on June 10, 2010 for 6 counts of violating the Agricultural and Marketing Law (Section 353 -Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals / failure to provided proper sustenance).
These charges are in connection to a complaint filed on January 29, 2010 in which it was alleged that Ms. Kott was inappropriately housing numerous dogs, at two separate locations in the Town of Wheatfield . On that same date Ms. Kott was charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Ms. Kott will appear at the Town of Wheatfield Court to answer all of the above charges at a future date..." More
Animal cruelty charges have not yet been filed against a Wheatfield animal rescuer who was arrested last month for child endangerment after 24 dogs in and around her home were found living in proximity to two children.
All but six of the dogs were seized for their own welfare and one was found dead. Another 22 animals were taken from Pitstop Puppys, the rented former kennel at 3049 Niagara Falls Blvd. run by Joelle Kott of Norman Road since 2004.
Niagara County Sheriff’s Captain Bruce Elliott said Monday that results of SPCA veterinarians’ examination of the animals are still pending. The report may or may not result in additional charges of neglect. SPCA personnel had documented freezing conditions at the facility along with a reported lack of food and water at both locations.
In the meantime, however, an initial report of the charges against Kott has piqued the interest of a psychologist with the ASPCA used to testify about the human/animal relationship in similar criminal cases and before animal rights organizations worldwide.
Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s forensic sciences and anti-cruelty projects said whether the distinction is one of animal cruelty, abuse or animal hoarding, the animals are the ones that suffer.
The “hoarding” concept is nothing new, he explained, but more importantly it helps explain a recent rise nationwide in cases involving shelters shut down for neglecting animals they can’t properly care for..." More
Joelle R. Kott thought she was helping dozens of dogs she had taken in at Pitstop Puppy’s Dog Rescue and Boarding Kennel on Niagara Falls Boulevard, but Niagara County SPCA officials on Friday said the rescue operation grew beyond her ability to care for the animals.
Twenty-one dogs taken from the unheated kennel at 3049 Niagara Falls Blvd. on Friday were found in 30-degree temperatures with “bone dry” water bowls and living in their own waste, said Kari McAlee, an SPCA veterinary technician.
SPCA workers and deputies from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office also took 18 dogs and puppies from Kott’s Norman Road home after determining the conditions were “deplorable” for the dogs and two children in the house.
“I think she meant well, but now it just got out of hand,” McAlee said. “She has just too many. You can’t keep track, and you can’t take care of that many, even with the volunteers and help. It’s just too much for one person and one house.”
Officials also took eight puppies they believe belonged to Kott from a nearby farm, said SPCA President Brandy Scrufari.
McAlee described Kott as an animal “hoarder,” unable to say no when she ran out of room and resources to care for pit bulls and other dogs dropped off by other people..." More