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DA: Woman in animal cruelty case fit for trial

Sharon McDonough leaves family court in Central Islip

Sharon McDonough leaves family court in Central Islip after her hearing in November. (Nov. 23, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

A Selden woman charged with mistreating her dogs and cats after authorities found dozens of animal carcasses buried in her yard was ruled competent to stand trial Friday following a psychiatric evaluation.

Sharon McDonough, 43, of Awixa Place, was then ordered held on $100,000 cash bail by District Judge Paul Hensley in Central Islip, the Suffolk County district attorney's office said. Her next court appearance was set for Jan. 22.

She has pleaded not guilty to six counts of misdemeanor inadequate care of animals after authorities removed five dogs and a cat from her home.

McDonough's attorney, James D'Angelo of Huntington, said he was disappointed in the judge's decision to impose bail. Previously, McDonough had been released without bail.

He said McDonough's four court appearances have shown she is not a flight risk. "She's anxious to proceed to trial and clear her name," D'Angelo said.

She had not made bail as of Friday night, he said.

McDonough's son, Doug, 21, has said she forced her daughters to torture the animals. The children have been removed from McDonough's custody.

Investigators also have dug up more than 40 animal carcasses from McDonough's backyard.

A spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota said Friday that McDonough likely will be indicted on one or more felony charges. He declined further comment.

The case generated national media attention after members of Rescue Ink, an animal welfare group with a cable television show, criticized the Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' handling of the case.

The SPCA has said that it did not find evidence that the dead animals found on McDonough's property were from stolen pets.

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