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Attorney defends owner of 12 dogs recovering at humane society

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The attorney of the woman whose 12 dogs were seized by state police over the weekend is speaking out in her defense.

Her name hasn't been released, but her attorney, Mark Wolber, said there's another side to the story and described her as an animal lover.

"This is very disturbing for her because she is not a person who has neglected animals. She's a person who loves and cares for animals," said Wolber.

The police retrieved the dogs on Saturday. All of them have Lyme Disease, mange, diseased teeth and their toenails were curled into the pads of their paws.

"It's my understanding that this mange can develop even if you're properly caring for dogs, that this can develop- and it's a contagious condition that if one dog gets it, then it can be contracted by the other dogs. This is not a situation that came from necessarily neglecting the dogs," said Wolber.

Wolber's client said the dogs developed mange after she recently switched the kind of food she was giving them.

"After she became aware that the dogs had that she immediately took steps to remedy the situation. She feeds the dogs antibiotics, she puts probiotics in the food, she shampoos the dogs with medicated shampoo and she has taken the dogs to the vets," said Wolber.

But a local veterinarian and a woman who is caring for the dogs at the Herkimer County Humane Society said that claim doesn't match up.

"There is no evidence that mange, the mange mite, can be transferred through food. It's- the common evidence is that it's transferred from animal to animal by contact either directly with the animal or with the animal's hair or bedding," said Dr. Frank Mondi.

"The mange that these dogs have has taken months and months and months to get to the stages they're at," said Joanne Johnson, manager of the Herkimer County Humane Society.

Dr. Mondi also said that while Lyme Disease is common, all 12 dogs having it raises a red flag.

"Yea, it indicates that they're not protected properly," he said. "We don't see it at my practice because most of our pets are vaccinated against Lyme Disease, so it's definitely preventable," said Dr. Mondi.

Wolber plans on contacting the state police in Herkimer.

"And let them know that there may be two sides to this story and we'd like to give them information before anybody rushes to judgement," said Wolber.

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed yet.

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