The 34 dogs seized from a woman’s Frankfort home in July have been relinquished for adoption.
Darlene Martin, 65, pleaded guilty in Franklin District Court Tuesday to 33 counts of cruelty to animals involving two separate cases.
Martin was forced to release the dogs as part of the plea agreement, and she is forbidden from owning any animals for the next 12 months.
Most of the counts are from an old case that has remained pending until recently.
County Attorney Rick Sparks said Martin released 32 dogs to the Franklin County Humane Society in January 2012 and those dogs have since been adopted.
The other count stems from a July incident, when 34 small dogs — mostly Shih Tzus, some Yorkshire terriers, at least one miniature poodle, one Maltese and eight puppies of an unknown breed — were taken from her east Frankfort home. The dogs had hair matted by urine, ear and skin infections, fleas and some had feces caked onto their fur.
Since then, 22 of the dogs have been in foster homes while 12 were placed in the care of the Franklin County Humane Society.
Shelter Manager Nancy Benton told The State Journal last month it’s hard to put a dollar amount on the burden the case placed on the shelter, but money was spent on dog food, medical care and labor. There’s also the three kennels that could have been used for other rescue dogs in the community.
“Mostly in puts a strain on the dogs,” she said in September. “They’re not in a home environment.”
That will change when the dogs become available for adoption.
Benton said the shelter will begin to spay and neuter the dogs Friday, and adoptions will begin Saturday on a first-come, first-served basis for those with an approved application.
Martin is required to pay court costs of $184, but restitution will be left to the city. Because the first case was not served until this year — more than a year after the first batch of dogs was seized — Sparks said costs should be left to the Humane Society and the City of Frankfort.
“It was not appropriate to address restitution given the delays,” he said.
Benton did not return a message left at the humane society, so it is unclear if the Humane Society or the city will be pursuing civil litigation for restitution.
Martin can withdraw her guilty plea in 12 months if she is compliant with the terms of the plea agreement, but she cannot reclaim rights to the seized dogs.