ANTWERP The Jefferson County Sheriffs Department has charged that an Adams man left two pit bull dogs overdriven and in distress by confining them in an uninsulated storage building here, exposing them to extreme heat.
Mitchell J. Helberg, 51, of 4 W. Church St., Apt. 5, Adams, was charged Monday with two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, and was released to await arraignment in town of Antwerp Court.
The dogs, a 2-year-old female and a 7-year-old male, were removed Monday from the property at 35757 Pulpit Rock Road, where they had been confined for approximately a month, and were placed in the care of the county dog control office. They subsequently were taken to North Country Animal Health Center, Sackets Harbor, where the male was kept overnight. He collapsed from heat exposure, according to Todd L. Cummings, county animal control officer.
Mr. Helberg formerly had lived on Pulpit Rock Road, and upon moving to Adams, he had no place to house the dogs, according the sheriffs office. He made regular visits to feed and water the dogs, a sergeant said. His last visit was Sunday, the sergeant said.
After a neighbor called the sheriffs office shortly after 11 a.m. Monday expressing concern about the dogs, a deputy found the female inside a 12-by-24-foot wood structure where, according to Mr. Cummings, the temperature exceeded 100 degrees.
The male was actually secured outside the building Monday, under the hot sun, with no clean water in his bowl, Mr. Cummings said.
The dogs will remain housed at the county dog pound until at least Wednesday, when Mr. Helberg is expected to come to the facility to discuss payment of veterinary and housing fees, as well as appropriate placement of the dogs, Mr. Cummings said.
Back in March, the male bit Mr. Helbergs grandson, Mason R. Matticks, in the face while they were alone inside a parked vehicle at his residence in the town of Antwerp.
The baby was taken by ambulance to E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur, where he was treated and later released.
The dog was quarantined for 10 days. Mr. Helberg was cited with having an unlicensed dog and unvaccinated dog.
At the time, he defended that type of dog, saying it is really an American Staffordshire terrier, not a pit bull, and calling himself a responsible owner.