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Maryland woman who ran 'animal shelter' charged with 66 counts of animal cruelty due to extreme neglect

Animal cruelty

(NaturalNews) The barbarity and depravity of some people knows no limits, and that is certainly true in the case of one Maryland woman whose treatment of scores of dogs was truly criminal.

As reported by My MC Media, Katherine Ting Tiong, 47, of Rockville, was charged recently with 66 counts of animal cruelty by officers with the Montgomery County Animal Services Division. Officials said she was charged Jan. 27; they added that the dogs had been removed from her home Jan. 1. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. Shortly after being arrested she bonded out on the charges.

As further noted by My MC Media:

"According to investigators, Tiong admitted to operating an animal rescue named Forever Homes Animal Rescue, Inc. and the majority of the dogs at her home came from shelters located in the northeast region of the United States. According to officers, most of the dogs were contained in soiled crates and were suffering from a variety of ailments — some were preexisting conditions but many were a result of the neglect."

Okay, so this was obviously no shelter in the correct sense of the term

Investigators also said that three of the dogs in her custody were in such poor physical shape and too far gone, medically, that they had to be euthanized at Tiong's shelter. One dog had died from an unknown cause; a necropsy was planned in order to determine the cause of death, a news release from the animal services division said.

Since Tiong's arrest and the seizure of the dogs in her custody, several of them have been placed into area homes, though a number remain at the shelter. Some dogs will require further medical or behavioral attention, and that will mean adopters who pledge to spend the time and resources necessary to help the dogs through their issues.

"In the past we have seen Montgomery County residents really step up and provide loving homes for our 'special needs' animals," Kate Walker, shelter manager, told My MC Media.

"A lot of time and effort has gone into this case, both with examining the evidence and in caring for the animals," noted Thomas Koenig, the animal services division director. "We are incredibly thankful for our partnership with MCPAW, who has provided much needed financial support, as well as the many rescue partners and area shelters that have offered their assistance."

The animal services division released some photos of the dogs the agency seized. As of this writing, about 50 remain at the shelter and are looking for homes.

A report by WUSA, a CBS affiliate, said that most of the dogs being sheltered at Tiong's home came from the northeast part of the country.

NBC Washington added that a number of dogs were soaked in urine, had matted fur, and were suffering infections and other medical ailments.

Feds getting into the act

Tracking and dealing with animal cruelty is not just a matter for state and local officials; the FBI also keeps tabs on these crimes.

"Acts of cruelty against animals are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI's expansive criminal database," said an FBI press release dated Feb. 1.

The press release noted further:

"On January 1, the Bureau's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) began collecting detailed data from participating law enforcement agencies on acts of animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse. Before this year, crimes that involved animals were lumped into an 'All Other Offenses' category in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program's annual Crime in the United States report, a survey of crime data provided by about 18,000 city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies."

Federal law enforcement officials are hoping that by tracking animal cruelty cases, the government will be able to paint a clearer picture of the issue.

"Some studies say that cruelty to animals is a precursor to larger crime," said Nelson Ferry, who works in the Bureau's Criminal Statistics Management Unit, which manages NIBRS. "That's one of the items that we're looking at."

The National Sheriff's Association led the effort to convince the FBI to add animal cruelty cases to crime tracking databases.





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