"This is a case where a mother subjected her children to the most unimaginable and horrific living conditions that I have ever seen," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. "These kids were beaten, they were starved, they lived in absolutely horrendous conditions within their own household and this was done intentionally by the mother."
Sharon McDonough, 43, killed numerous kittens and dogs, stashing the dead cats in the trash, and burying 42 dead dogs in the backyard of her Selden, Long Island, home, Spota said. The dogs were buried, he said, because some had identifying microchips implanted in them and McDonough feared being discovered if the carcasses were found in the trash.
The children were not only abused, but were forced to witness the deaths of family pets, the prosecutor said.
"Our investigation found evidence she wrapped duct tape around a cat's nose and mouth and hung the animal from her child's bunk bed, killing the cat," Spota said, adding the woman's "11-year-old daughter witnessed the cruelty."
On another occasion in 2006, McDonough allegedly strangled a Maltese dog in the presence of her older daughter, who was 10 at the time, Spota said. The Maltese carcass was among those found buried in the yard, prosecutors said.