Close to 300 applicants are being vetted for adoption of the dogs seized in an animal cruelty case

The Ontario County Humane Society is reviewing some 300 applications from prospective owners of the "Naples 85" dogs seized Aug. 1 in one of the largest animal cruelty cases in the county’s history. The humane society announced Monday a family event planned for Oct. 6, Paws for Fall, when the dogs’ owners will be picked through a lottery drawing. Applicants are being selected for the lottery after phone interviews.

The fate of five of the 85 dogs seized from a home on Lawyer Road depends on the outcome of ongoing litigation. Jane Justice and Richard Justice both pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of animal cruelty and failure to provide the animals with food and water. Richard relinquished his rights to all 85 dogs; Jane surrendered her interest in 80 of the 85.

The case is due back in Naples Town Court this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Humane Society Shelter Manager Dianne Faas said most of the dogs are ready for adoption with a few still needing to be spayed or neutered and undergo dental work and related health care. The Humane Society takes the dogs to area veterinary clinics for the procedures. All the dogs will be microchipped, neutered or spayed and cleared of most health issues before being freed for adoption.

“A handful came back positive for Lyme disease,”said Faas. If those dogs show symptoms they will be treated for Lyme. Some of the dogs have dry eye and will require lifelong treatment for that, which costs a minimum of between $25 and $30 a month, she said.

Twenty of the Naples 85 have been in foster homes. Two were returned to the shelter with a third expected to be returned, all for various reasons. Faas said the dogs aren’t appropriate for a family with young children under the age of seven. That was the case with one of the dogs returned. The other foster families opted to return the dogs for personal reasons such as not having enough time to train and care for the dog.

The Naples 85 are mostly Cairn and Yorkshire terrier mixes, the majority ranging in age from 4 months to 6 years old. A little over half are male — Faas recalled there are 49 males and 36 females.

Faas said the five dogs that will remain at the shelter pending the outcome of litigation — three female and two male — include one young dog and one 10-year-old male. One dog needed “a fairly serious surgery” several weeks ago for an intestinal problem. The dog is doing well, she said.

The Ontario County Humane Society surpassed its goal of raising $125,000 to help pay for expenses related to the Naples 85. The campaign raised over $133,000. Any funds raised beyond what covered care for the 85 goes to the humane society’s cruelty fund.

A lottery drawing for adoption of the “Naples 85” dogs will take place at 2 p.m., during the "Paws for Fall" fundraiser at Happy Tails. As applicants' names are drawn they can choose their dog that day, though applicants need not attend to be able to adopt a dog.

Jack Johnston, 8, a third-grader from Bloomfield, will draw the names. Jack loves animals and raised money for the Naples 85 by selling his drawings — for 10 cents or 25 cents apiece — and collected about $10 in a recycled pill bottle that he presented to the Ontario County Humane Society. Jack’s mom, Anne Johnston, said Jack made a similar donation to Lollypop Farm in March when they had his birthday party there. The Johnstons adopted their cat, Daisy, from the Ontario County Humane Society's Happy Tails animal shelter and hope to eventually adopt a dog.