STRATFORD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Court proceedings in the case of a man accused of neglecting more than 20 dogs found on his Fulton County property were adjourned.
Bentley Valdez, 55, drove himself to Stratford Town Court Friday morning. He’d been out on bail since his April 6th arrest.
He was met by this crowd of animal advocates, using their voices for the 12 French mastiffs who are unable speak for themselves.
“Lock you up in a cage with no food and water, you’re sick!”
Police say Valdez is facing more 20 animal abuse charges.
Earlier this month, authorities found nine of his 22 French Mastiff’s dead on his property along Route 104. The 13 others were severely emaciated and one later died at the vet.
The remaining dogs are being taken care of by the James A. Brennan Humane Society. Right now, their main focus is rehabilitation and eventually adoption. But they say they’ve been getting threatening phone calls from breeders who claim they sold the dogs to Valdez and want them back.
The shelter has since hired a lawyer to deal with any anticipated custody battles.
Chants of anger and frustration directed toward Valdez outside the courthouse.
Animal advocates gathered holding handmade signs and wearing custom designed Stratford 22 t-shirts.
Frankie Page says they’ll be here to follow all of the court proceedings. While they’re calling on the DA to hold Valdez accountable, they also recognize he’s limited by New York law.
“It’s just inconceivable that we can have 10 dead dogs and that this man might have the right to get them back,” Animal Advocate Kathy Baker said.
Valdez is set to be back in court on June 23rd at 10 a.m.