Nichols resident charged with animal cruelty back in court
On Monday, 38-year old Charles Sheldon, of 864 Hunts Creek Road in the town of Nichols, N.Y. appeared back in court to face charges of Felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, and for various Misdemeanor counts that include overdriving, torture and failure to provide sustenance; inappropriate shelter for animals; and harboring unlicensed dogs. These charges stem from an arrest on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2013, in which a deceased dog was removed from Charles Sheldon's property in Nichols, and two other dogs were seized.
On April 22, 2013, and following a Grand Jury hearing at the Tioga County Courthouse, an indictment was handed down on the charges of Felony Animal Cruelty. On Monday, Charles Sheldon, who appeared at the Tioga County Courthouse in Owego, N.Y., did not say anything as he appeared in front of Tioga County Judge Gerald Keene with his attorney, Todd Miller, by his side.
At this time, on Monday, Charles Sheldon's attorney, Acting District Attorney Irene Graven, and Judge Gerald Keene went into the judge's chambers for a private conference, and returned approximately 10 minutes later.
When the attorney, acting district attorney and judge returned to the courtroom, Miller requested time to file pre-trial motions. A trial in this matter was originally scheduled for August, but the proceedings will now resume on Sept. 30, at 9:30 a.m. At this time, the attorney for the Charles Sheldon will present any pre-trial motions.
Graven said that Charles Sheldon is entitled to file these motions; and she also noted that they are not looking at a plea at this point.
In the meantime, the Border collie that was found deceased on Charles Sheldon's property, and found frozen in the snow, has had a necropsy performed and, according to Stray Haven Humane Society's Cruelty Officer, Cindy Webster, the cause of the dog's death was starvation and dehydration.
The two other dogs that were removed from the property, a dachshund and a Border collie mix, are being housed by Stray Haven Humane Society pending the outcome of the charges against Charles Sheldon. According to Webster, Charles Sheldon has not yet signed his dogs over, so they are not able to put them up for adoption.
Webster also stated that in all of her years as serving as a cruelty officer, this is the worst case she has ever seen. She noted the Cornell expert that testified about the Necropsy at the Grand Jury hearing, and described this testimony as "informed and thorough."
"These dogs have been through so much," Webster described of the two additional dogs seized on Valentine's Day from the residence of Charles Sheldon. "Now they have to be kept in a shelter because he [Charles Sheldon] hasn't signed them over."
Webster is now working to find foster homes for the two dogs so they don't have to stay in a kennel while the court proceedings continue. She noted that they don't have to necessarily go together as they were chained outside on opposite sides of the mobile home when in the possession of Charles Sheldon, and probably did not know each other anyhow.
Webster has named the dogs in the interim, as their names were never revealed. The deceased dog is now being referred to as "Jane Doe"; the dachshund is named Valentine, in recognition of the seizure that took place on Valentine's Day; and the Border collie mix is being temporarily named Hunter.
If interested in serving as a foster for either of these dogs, contact Cindy Webster by calling (607) 565-2859.