A mother and daughter have pleaded guilty in Town Court to animal cruelty charges in the deaths of 72 small animals in an Expressway Village mobile home.
Both also are expected to enter guilty pleas to identical charges in Niagara Falls City Court within the next week in the deaths of 79 other animals in a house at 3334 D St., Holly Sloma, Niagara County assistant district attorney, said Saturday.
The 120 rabbits, 18 guinea pigs, 10 chinchillas, two ferrets and one cat that died at the two locations last year "either starved to death or died from other forms of neglect," said Niagara County SPCA Director Albert J. Chille.
Deborah A. Fedak, 44, of Orleans Avenue, and her daughter, Beth A. Hadad, 21, of Chasm Avenue, both in Niagara Falls, entered their pleas Thursday before Town Justice John P. Teixeira to misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. The charges were reduced from felony counts as part of a plea bargain, Sloma said Saturday.
Sentencing is Nov. 1. Fedak is free on $1,000 bail, her daughter on $500 bail. Sloma said the two also have entered into a plea deal in the Niagara Falls case.
Both woman could face up to two years in jail if they receive consecutive sentences in the two cases, Sloma said.
Fedak was arrested July 13, a day after town patrolmen discovered 55 rabbits, 16 guinea pigs and a cat -- all dead and decomposed in an unoccupied trailer at 50 Expressway Village.
"There wasn't much left but fur and bones," Town Police Chief John L. Keller said. "In my years as a police officer, I've never seen anything like it."
"They died either from starvation or possibly from having no heat," Chille added. "They had been dead for at least a year. There was no smell because their flesh had decomposed a long time ago."
The SPCA official said the animals found July 13 in the D Street house had died more recently.
Chille said Fedak, a respiratory technician at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, apparently raised purebred angoras and rabbits to exhibit at fairs and shows.
"She won many awards. Her rabbits came in first place at the Niagara County Fair a couple of times," said Chille, who noted ribbons and trophies were found at both addresses.