Bronx woman appears in court on animal cruelty charges

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THE BRONX -

A Bronx woman charged with animal cruelty appeared before a judge on Monday.

Philomena McNamara is accused of animal neglect at her 6045 Riverdale Ave. home. According to the criminal complaint, two dogs were observed on the roof over the weekend, trying to drink water from the gutters.

News 12 was present Sunday when police and the ASPCA carried out an animal rescue operation. The criminal complaint states that the dogs, many of them huskies, appeared malnourished and dehydrated and that a strong odor of urine and feces could be found in the home.

Investigators say the home lacked proper ventilation and lighting and was filled with mold, mildew and dog hair. The complaint also states that ceilings were falling down and that there were no signs of food or water for the pets. They say 15 dogs dashed from the home when the front door was opened.

Video from a neighbor shows the dogs roaming their property. Neighbors say they've been dealing with what seems to be a continuous problem. In 2011, News 12 reported a neighbor's claim that she was bitten several times by six dogs. And in 2014, five dogs were removed after being involved in a string of attacks dating back to 2009. One neighbor says she testified during a hearing involving the city's Department of Health.

According to the criminal complaint, McNamara said she trains the animals as therapy dogs and keeps them in low light because it's better for their training. Neighbors claim she hasn't consistently lived at the address for years.

The dogs are now in the care of the ASPCA.

A law enforcement source says it did not appear that McNamara beat the animals. She was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court on Nov. 14.

News 12 did not immediately hear back from both of McNamara's lawyers from the Bronx Defenders, which took on the case, nor from the Health Department, for more information.

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