Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Couple arraigned after animals and children discovered in filthy house

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Buffalo: Couple arraigned after animals and children discovered in filthy house
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A Clarence couple appeared in Clarence Town Court Thursday to face charges of child endangerment. The charges come after authorities say they found four children and numerous animals living in filth on their Clarence property. YNN's Katie Cummings reports that the Burkleys arrived at court separately to face charges. Both were quiet during the arraignment.

Clarence Animal control now estimates about 100 animals have been found at a home on Goodrich Road.

Wednesday, Matthew and Amie Burkley were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and animal cruelty after their four children and numerous animals were found living in filth.

Animal control officer Jerry Schuler says the Burkleys took many animals under false pretenses.

"This lady was very manipulative in the way she convinced people in where they were putting their animals," Schuler said. "We're trying to reunite people with their own animals."

Schuler says he's had to tell numerous people that their animal is dead. It's troublesome for many who he says thought they were doing a good thing.

"Some of the people were told they were going to be used for 4-H projects, college education," said Schuler. "Some of the dogs were supposed to be used for service dogs."

The animals are still being looked after at the Clarence Animal Shelter and the barn on the property.

Meanwhile, officials say they hadn't budgeted for an intake of this volume. However, the town has stepped in to help.

"What we can do now is support Jerry and his crew, we'll provide him with all the overtime hours he needs to settle this whole thing," said David Hartzell, Town of Clarence Supervisor.

Matthew and Amie Burkley were each arraigned on one count of endangering the welfare of a child and will return to court February 21st.

Schuler has withdrawn the animal cruelty charges, for now, because he says more counts could be pending.

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