Over 50 Dogs Rescued from Squalid Conditions, Dogs Stolen and Advertised as Rescues
Dogs seized from filthy Long Island home
June 21, 2007
MEDFORD, N.Y. --A couple's discovery of their missing dog for sale on a pet adoption Web site led police to a Long Island home where more than 50 dogs were living in squalid conditions, authorities said.
The dogs, some sickly and underfed, were removed from the Medford home Wednesday night and taken to a shelter to be examined by veterinarians, authorities said.
"The house was in horrible condition," said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "It was covered in feces and urine. It was hot, very hot in there."
Three people at the house were arrested: Karen Schleich, 45; David Bernacchi, 44; and Kristin Beauchesne, 25.
Schleich and Bernacchi, the home's residents, were charged with animal cruelty, police said. Schleich was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property, while Beauchesne was charged with grand larceny.
It was not known if Schleich and Bernacchi had attorneys. Sgt. Michael Cosgrove of the Suffolk County Police Department said Beauchesne had an attorney, but he could not immediately provide a name.
The three claimed they were animal rescuers and posted advertisements for dogs on various pet adoption Web sites, Cosgrove said.
Bernacchi ran a dog rescue organization called Lucky Fund. Its mission is "to help and place as many dogs as possible with new and loving families," according to the Lucky Fund Web site.
A couple searching for their Shih Tzu found their newly shaven dog advertised for sale for $350 on one site, he said. They reported their discovery to police, whose investigation led to the Medford home, Cosgrove said.
Beauchesne was seen taking the Shih Tzu from the street and later telling an officer who stopped to question her about the missing animal that the dog had escaped from her backyard, police said.
It turned out that Beauchesne worked with Schleich and Bernacchi, and had given the dog to them, Cosgrove said.