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N.Y. woman accused of torturing animals

“Killer’’ was spray-painted on the brickwork of Sharon McDonough’s garage at her Selden, N.Y., home. “Killer’’ was spray-painted on the brickwork of Sharon McDonough’s garage at her Selden, N.Y., home.
(James Carbone/Associated Press
)
Associated Press / November 13, 2009

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SELDEN, N.Y. - A mother of seven is accused of running a house of horrors for pets at her suburban Long Island home, forcing her children to help torture them and burying at least 20 dogs in her backyard.

Sharon McDonough, 43, pleaded not guilty last week to six counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty on suspicion of abusing five dogs and a cat found crammed into cages, covered in feces and urine, their coats matted with filth. A judge has taken away custody of the woman’s six young daughters.

Douglas McDonough, 21, who turned his mother in to authorities, called the home “a concentration camp for the animals’’ in comments to reporters.

On Tuesday, a judge removed the six girls - ages 18 months to 13 years - from the custody of McDonough, who is widowed. Her court-appointed attorney called the animal cruelty counts a “low-level offense.’’