Edmeston women charged with animal neglect

·3 min read

Jul. 5—State Police announced the arrest of two Edmeston women for allegedly abandoning seven animals in a trailer.

According to a media release, troopers were called to check on the safety and welfare of animals that were inside a trailer on Taylor Hill Road in the town of Edmeston.

State Police at Richfield Springs arrested Tamara L. Tophoven, 57, and Rebecca Tophoven, 43, on Saturday, July 2, and charged them with four counts of the Agriculture and Markets Law misdemeanor of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, the release said.

The two were issued appearance tickets to the Edmeston Town Court and are scheduled to appear on July 18, the release said.

Susquehanna SPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes said a person was near the property a few times and heard dogs barking inside. The person thought the place looked abandoned and called the police.

"We're so lucky the State Police went out and realized it was an emergency situation," Haynes said. "I don't know how much longer they would have survived."

An investigation at the scene revealed that several dogs and cats were living inside an abandoned trailer in squalor, with minimal to no ventilation, no access to water and without proper care, the release said.

The trooper contacted the Susquehanna SPCA in Index and shelter staff were able to assist and remove the animals, the release said.

"We went out on a pretty hot day," Haynes said. She said the trailer had no running water and no windows were open, so the air was stagnant and stale inside.

"I literally took one step inside and turned around due to the smell," she said. "We got PPE on then went inside." She said she saw the two little dogs inside crates, a third dog loose and five cats loose in the trailer.

The animals were captured and checked out by the SPCA's veterinarians, the release said. Haynes said the three dogs, which are senior dogs, had matted fur, and one dog's matted fur caused a dry eye issue that is being treated with ointment. The dogs also needed dental care, she said. The cats also had eye issues that are being treated with ointment, she said.

"The owner surrendered the animals, which is very, very helpful," Haynes said. "If they do, we can get them adopted out quickly. If they don't, they have to stay at the shelter as evidence. Some of these cases take months or years to resolve."

Haynes said the shelter has an animal cruelty hotline. People can also email the shelter if they suspect neglect is taking place. However, if it is an emergency situation, people are encouraged to call 911, she said. "If the police get there and see it as an emergency situation, they will reach out to us. In this case the teamwork was outstanding," she said.

So far, the dogs have been adopted but the cats are still looking for homes, Haynes said. She said the cats' ages range from 1 year to senior. The Susquehanna SPCA can be reached at 607-547-8111.