Couple accused of animal cruelty face heated protests at court appearance

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The Troy couple charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty, including selling diseased animals was back in court on Thursday, facing heated protests.

Michelle and David Hempstead faced a heated reception as they walked into Troy City Court Thursday morning.

Marianne Harrington, founder of the activist group Justice for the Hundred, says they never miss an opportunity to speak out against the Hempsteads after a Troy Police investigation detailed horrific animal abuse they say occurred at the couple’s Campbell Avenue home.

“Even though the temperatures are freezing right now, we wanted to be here because we don’t want to miss them when they come in,” said Harrington. “We need to be their voices, for these animals who suffered so much.”

The District Attorney’s office says the animals found in the Hempsteads’ home were denied food and proper medical care.

Dolores Bacon says she is personally aware of the poor conditions at the Hempsteads’. She says she bought a dog from them in 2010, but picked up on red flags, including the poor condition of the house.

“I pulled up out in front and just saw this god awful mess,” said Bacon.

Bacon was never invited inside the home and ended up buying a dog from the couple on the spot outside.

“I knew that if I didn’t buy her, I don’t know if she would’ve survived,” said Bacon.

Bacon says she soon found out the dog had a bacterial disease. She discovered the illness once she caught it herself and came down sick for several weeks. Now, for the past eight years she has been fighting to see the Hempsteads brought to justice.

The District Attorney’s office did not extend any plea offers on Thursday. The case is now expected to go to trial. The Hempsteads should be back in court in early April.

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