Final ruling for couple convicted of animal cruelty -

Final ruling for couple convicted of animal cruelty

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The sentencing for two individuals convicted of animal cruelty of dozens of dogs in Middle Township finally wrapped up after a long two year legal process.

The final ruling came down Monday, in the case of Dawn Scheld and her husband Leroy Thomas; after both were convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty in October.

The couple will be banned from owning any animals for a five year period and as of now must relinquish their rights to the dozens of dogs that was seized from them two years ago.

"Now we been with this case so long that right now I'm cautiously optimistic as of January 12th these dogs will belong to Cape May County," said Judith Davies-Dunhour of Cape May County Animal Shelter.

January 12th marks the end of a 30 day stay period for the animals, granted by the judge to allow Scheld and Thomas time to appeal the ruling before the animals are able to be put up for adoption.

"Until that time we are in this holding pattern still and once that date hits we will reach out to the public and ask people to come forward and become loving homes for these dogs," Davies-Dunhour explained.

Unwilling to comment on camera, Scheld tells NBC 40 that they are disappointed with the ruling and plan on appealing, but as of now dozens of dogs continue to be sheltered at various locations, waiting to find a new place to call home.

"They're good dogs, they're going to do well in homes and we made it appoint to socialize them specifically to give them extra time because we knew it was an open ended duration they would be here," Davies-Dunhour said.

And after two years of taking care of these animals, the thought of them finally moving on is very overwhelming.

"It's going to be a tremendous moral booster for the staff once these dogs get placed in homes," said Davies-Dunhour.  "We've grown to really love them, they're a part of us they're a part of the shelter and we're going to be so happy to see them become part of a family."

Throughout the past two years, the medical and kenneling fees for this case have reached more than $240,000.

A restitution hearing for Scheld and Thomas is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 13th.

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