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Pets found in peril Cruelty alleged, woman surrenders variety of animals

Posted on Dec 11, 2007 - 2:43 PM
Pets found in peril Cruelty alleged, woman surrenders variety of animals

Rutland Herald
December 6, 2007

By Brent Curtis Herald Staff

A Wallingford woman charged with cruelty to animals surrendered about a dozen dogs, cats and a guinea pig to the Rutland County Humane Society on Wednesday.

Tammie S. Crossman, 39, pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court to a single misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals through deprivation.

Crossman, a former bail bondswoman in Rutland County, was released on conditions that she not purchase or possess any animals and that she allow law enforcement officials to inspect her home to look for animals at any time.

The Rutland County Sheriff's Department charged Crossman with animal cruelty in October, but she was not due to appear in court until Wednesday.

Police were led to Crossman's North Main Street home after a veterinarian from the Riverside Clinic in Rutland told police she had reason to believe there were dogs starving to death at Crossman's home, according to court records.

Veterinarian Dr. Carol Gifford told police Crossman had brought two black Labrador puppies suffering from malnutrition to her clinic on multiple occasions. In each instance, Gifford said the puppies stayed at the clinic for a few days, during which time their conditions improved.

Gifford also told police that a kitten Crossman had brought to the clinic this year was so sick it died in her care.

Sheriff's Department Cpl. Richard Putnam wrote in an affidavit that during a visit to Crossman's home on Oct. 29, he and Gifford found 12 dogs of different breeds locked in rooms around the house.

In a downstairs bedroom, Putnam found six cats, five of which were locked in a small wire pet cage that he wrote "wasn't big enough for maybe two animals to live."

Urine and feces littered floors throughout the house, he wrote, while noting that there were no litter boxes, or bowls of food and water. Many of the animals appeared malnourished, Putnam wrote, although none appeared as bad off as the two black Lab pups that Gifford told him were ill and needed to be removed from the home to receive medical attention.

In one upstairs bedroom, Putnam wrote, he could hear animals furiously clawing from the other side of a door that was tied shut. Opening the door, he found three dogs.

"There was no furniture in the room and the floor was completely covered with dog feces and urine," he wrote. "The stench was so bad we got the dogs out and closed the door. There was no food or water or fresh air in the room."

During a subsequent visit to Crossman's home on Tuesday, Putnam said he observed many of the same problems. While Crossman told him she had voluntarily given up five of the dogs, she told him she had acquired two more from her grandmother, according to the affidavit.

"Ms. Crossman repeatedly kept saying something to the effect of 'I am doing the best that I can,'" Putnam wrote.

Also during the visit, Putnam said he saw at least one

of Crossman's five daughters "walking barefoot through areas where feces and urine were on the floor."

"I do not believe this is a healthy environment for these children," he wrote.

A court official said Crossman had agreed to give up her animals, including at least nine dogs, a cat, and a guinea pig, which were all removed from her home Wednesday night and taken to the Humane Society, where they will be put up for adoption.

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