BY TARYN FITSIK
ASHLAND, N.Y.--Twenty golden retriever puppies and dogs are seized from a home in Ashland in Greene County, some of them on the brink of starvation.
However, when News 10's Taryn Fitsik spoke to the owner, he made it clear it was never his intent to put the animals in harm's way.
"We have taken care of our dogs," says George Leary. "I feed them holistically, I've been doing it for years. For them to say the dogs were starved, they were beautiful."
Leary says he has been a dog owner for decades, and adamantly stands by his method of feeding them natural foods.
But the Columbia-Greene SPCA says the sigh of the dogs tell a very different story.
"These animals were significantly underweight," says SPCA President and investigator Ron Perez. "If you're going to go in that direction and take a holistic diet, it should be under the supervision of a qualified vet."
Perez says the 20 golden retriever puppies and dogs were walking skeletons, suffering from a lack of food and proper nutrition.
"The fellow at the SPCA said bring the dogs to the vet, and I did," says Leary. "But then he came and he took them."
But despite Leary's efforts, the dogs were still found to be emaciated, some weighing as few as 11 pounds.
However, Leary did cooperate with Perez when he came to rescue the puppies.
"I don't think they were malicious," says Perez. "I do think they loved the animals, but I think they were misguided and this got out of control."
"As long as they have a good home, that's what I'm concerned about," adds Leary.
Leary and his wife Emaretta Marks are facing a year in jail, and up to one $1,000 in fines.
If anyone is interested in adopting any of the Golden Retrievers, they can contact the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA at (518) 828-6044.