A Brooklyn couple whose home was filled with abused cats, some emaciated and missing their eyes, was charged Friday with hoarding and abusing dozens of these animals.
"[Animal Cruelty] is often a pre-cursor to domestic violence and is known to be early evidence of potential serial killing," said Hynes in a statement. "Animal hoarders need to be prosecuted and they need the mental health services that may be available to them."
Investigators from the ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals said they learned about the terrible conditions after five kittens fell through rotted floorboards into the loft below, according to the indictment. Two of these kittens were blind from an eye infection and a third needed an eye removed.
"This is the first time in New York State someone has been charged with a felony in animal cruelty for hoarding," said a spokesman for the D.A.'s office.
The couple pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Friday in Brooklyn Superior Court.
The Fiore's loft at 722 Metropolitan Avenue allegedly reeked of ammonia and was littered with empty bottles and cans of cat food, debris, feces, and dead cat carcasses, officials said.
The investigation concluded that many of the cats had eye infections and were infested with fleas. Some had trouble breathing, had no eyes at all, and had missing teeth. The D.A.'s office also reported that some cats were dehydrated, emaciated and in poor health. Many of the cats had to be put to sleep.
The couple, who leased the loft space for business, is being charged with 252 counts for aggravated cruelty to animals, torturing and injuring animals. Michael Fiore is also facing felony and misdemeanor charges after acknowledging he didn't properly care for that cats or contact the ASPCA, officials said.
If convicted, Michael Fiore faces a maximum of two years in prison for aggravated cruelty to animals and overdriving, torturing and injuring animal.
The Fiore's defense attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.