Dog trainer charged with animal cruelty

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:08

SHOHOLA - State police have charged a Birchwood Lakes woman with four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Pike County Humane Society Supervisor Barry Heim reported he answered a call from neighbors in Birchwood Lake on May 24. He found nine animals dead and three still living at the residence. Danielle Assante, the homeowner, a professional trainer of show dogs is alleged to have left her home for three weeks, leaving the pets without food or water. The dead animals were a five month-old Border Collie, three Staffordshire Bull Terriers, three cats, a rabbit, and a cockatiel. Still alive but severely emaciated were three other dogs, two Rotweillers and a Sheltie Collie, which were taken to the animal shelter and are recovering. One of the surviving Rotweilers, which was just 59 pounds, is now back at 95 pounds. Assante was interviewed by Trooper McCarthy at the Blooming Grove State Police barracks and arrested. She was charged with Animal Cruelty, a misdemeanor and four summary charges of neglect and unsanitary conditions as reported by Heim. “She’ll get fined and serve minimal jail time. The state does not crack down hard enough on people like this,” said Heim. Assante is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Steve McBride of District Court in Dingmans Ferry on August 8 for a preliminary hearing regarding the charges.