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Woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty for starving dogs, SPCA says

Veleda Bailey, seen at her arraignment in January

Veleda Bailey, seen at her arraignment in January 2017, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges on July 19, 2017, the SPCA said. Credit: Ed Betz

A Wyandanch woman pleaded guilty to two animal cruelty charges for starving six of her dogs — two of them to death, Suffolk SPCA officials said.

Veleda Bailey pleaded guilty to the two animal cruelty charges, one felony and one misdemeanor for failure to provide proper sustenance, in court on July 19, SPCA Chief Roy Gross said.

Bailey had been charged in November after Suffolk County police, SPCA officials and members of an animal rescue group found one dog, named Soldier, dead and chained to a tree in Bailey’s backyard. Five of Bailey’s other dogs were found emaciated, prosecutors said at the time. A second dog, which contracted parvovirus and pneumonia, later died.

Gross said it was “very disturbing” when officers responded to the scene of the complaint and saw Bailey barbecuing in her backyard with children present and the deceased dog “in proximity” to where a gathering was going on.

“That dog was a living creature . . . most of us that have pets consider them family members,” Gross said in a phone interview. “To allow that to happen, to see this total disregard for an animal, is very disturbing.”

Protesters had gathered outside of First District Court in Central Islip in January to decry the woman’s actions while displaying photos of the dead canine.

Suffolk SPCA Capt. Paul Llobell said Bailey had admitted to SPCA officials that she had not fed the dogs in two weeks. A necropsy showed that Soldier had died of starvation.

The four surviving dogs were put up for adoption through Almost Home, the Bohemia-based rescue group that first alerted authorities to the conditions at Bailey’s home.

An attorney who had represented Bailey at her arraignment did not immediately return a call for comment on Saturday afternoon. Information on a possible sentencing date was not immediately available.

“Hopefully this conviction will send a clear message out to anyone that may even think of neglecting or harming an animal that justice will be served,” Gross said.

The SPCA asks that residents call 631-382-7722 if they witness any mistreatment of animals. All callers will remain anonymous.

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