Swan Lake Couple Charged With Animal Cruelty
By Jeanne Sager
SWAN LAKE February 9, 2007 The relative who trusted Bobby and Elena McLeod with the care of their dog is in for some awful news.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested the McLeods Monday, charging both with misdemeanor counts of failure to provide sustenance, failure to provide water and failure to provide veterinary care to an injured animal.
According to Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, Bobby, 35, and Elena, 34, were supposed to be taking care of a 4-year-old German shepherd mix entrusted to them by Elena’s brother Eddie Byrd of Jamaica, Queens.
The dog recently wandered onto property bordering the McLeod’s home on Cohen Road in Swan Lake.
He collapsed there, said Joanne Gerow, Town of Liberty dog control officer whose office has the contract to provide board and transport for animals in the county’s care.
The neighbor made a small bed of hay on his porch, covered the dog (who has since been named Blue) with a blanket, and called police.
“The man took the initiative to take care of the dog and call,” Gerow said. “That should be applauded, especially because he was out in the cold with this dog.
“This was a community effort from start to finish the Sheriff’s Department treated this with the utmost compassion and professionalism.”
According to Chaboty, when deputies arrived, they found Blue “in a severe state of malnourishment with a large open wound on its neck as a result of a collar that had apparently not been changed since it was a puppy.
“You could see rib cage, pelvic bone and vertebrae,” Chaboty added.
Gerow was called to transport the dog to the Youngsville Animal Hospital.
When she arrived, she said the dog was laid out on the hay barely able to move.
“I cranked the heat and put him on the backseat of my truck,” she said. “He was emaciated, and when I tell you smell… the smell was so rancid, now it’s freezing cold, but when I got to the vet’s office, I left the windows open on my truck to air out.”
The German shepherd mix was treated by the veterinarian who had to use 28 stitches to close the gaping wound.
Chaboty and Sheriff Michael Schiff have pledged to continue to pay close attention to instances of animal cruelty in Sullivan County.
“Our people will investigate ANY animal cruelty call,” Schiff said simply.