Long Island Mom Accused of Abusing Her Kids and Her Animals

Prosecutors say Selden mom was also abusive to her kids; she pleaded not-guilty

By Greg Cergol
|  Thursday, Jan 21, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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Long Island Mom Accused of Abusing Her Kids and Her Animals

Sharon McDonough

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A woman accused torturing and burying more than 40 household pets and animals in her Long Island yard also abused her children, prosecutors said today.

The accused mother Sharon McDonough pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment, animal cruelty and animal torture.

"This is a case where a mother subjected her kids to horrible living condition," said Suffolk DA Thomas Spota, noting that the children were only allowed to eat certain food while McDonough kept the rest for herself.

Posecutors said her five daughters, ages 6 to 13 lived in "wretched and deplorable" conditions in their Selden home: they were not allowed to use the shower and toilet and lived with the odor of animal excrement coming from cages near the kids' bedrooms.

And prosecutors charge McDonough beat her one-year-old child.

Her lawyer James Saladino of Riverhead said he is considering an insanity defense. Prosecutors reiterated that she killed her own animals. One dog, they say, had its snout duct taped.

Prosecutors said McDonough's children asked her why she bought animals only to later torture and kill them.   According to her children, McDonough responded "It's my treat."

McDonough was first arrested in November. Her adult son contacted authorities about the alleged mistreatment of five dogs and a cat in her Selden home.

Investigators say 42 dead animals were found buried in her yard. Her son claims McDonough forced her children to participate in or witness animal abuse.  But prosecutor said they couldn't find any evidence of that.  They said, however, she killed the animals for sport or pleasure. 

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