Ontario County Humane Society processing 240 applications from hopeful dog owners

HOPEWELL — The Ontario County Humane Society will use a lottery to place the 80 dogs freed for adoption.

The Humane Society is processing 240 applications from prospective owners of the dogs the Humane Society seized beginning late July in the animal cruelty case. Five of the 85 dogs rescued from a Lawyer Road residence will remain at the shelter and continue to be the subject of ongoing litigation. The shelter will continue to push for custody of the remaining five terriers.

“This certainly marks a monumental step closer to getting these dogs into loving homes,” said Shelter Manager Diane Faas.

Richard Justice relinquished his rights to all 85 dogs Aug. 8; Jane Justice surrendered her interest in 80 of the 85 dogs as of Aug. 20. The pair pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges in Naples Town Court. They are due back in town court Sept. 26.

The District Attorney’s Office announced it “continues to actively and aggressively prosecute the cases pending in the Naples Town Court, including the surrender of the remaining five dogs and the payment of restitution for the veterinary and housing expenses of the dogs.”

Faas said Wednesday she expects some of the dogs will be ready for adoption by the end of next week. She is connecting with veterinarians to perform the necessary dental work, spay and neuter surgeries and other healthcare needed before the dogs can go to new homes.

Qualified applicants will be selected in a lottery system to ensure a fair method and will be contacted by the shelter — the Humane Society asks that applicants not call the shelter about their application as it will put additional strain on volunteers and staff caring for the dogs.

The shelter recommends any remaining adoption applications be submitted by Friday to be considered.

The fundraising campaign for the "Naples 85" has raised over $106,000. The funds will be used for the dogs’ surgeries and continued care. Any remaining donations are earmarked for future cruelty cases only. These funds will not be used for shelter operations.

“This is a great day for us and especially for these dogs to finally get the love and life they deserve,” said Faas. “This has been a community effort, and we can’t express how grateful we are to the community for the support and love that they’ve shown. More than 130 volunteer applications have come in, 240 foster and adoption applications, kids bringing their piggy banks in to help … it’s just amazing.”

For more information on the Naples 85 or to donate, register to volunteer, adopt or foster, visit ontariocountyhumanesociety.org.