Humane Society given legal custody of French Mastiffs, adoption process can begin – New York News

The nine French Mastiffs found abandoned in April have officially come under the custody of the Brennan Humane Society, according to the animal shelter’s lawyer. 


“They’ve been forfeited,” said attorney John Schopf. 

The dogs’ owner, Bentley Valdez, was ordered last week to pay $68,500 in restitution to the shelter for costs associated to their boarding and care. Valdez failed to pay, triggering the animals’ forfeiture to the shelter. 

Schopf said last week the shelter knew Valdez was unlikely to be able to come up with the money, but the point of petitioning the court to have Valdez repay the shelter was to force him to forfeit the animals. He added on Friday that he hasn’t heard anything from Valdez or his lawyer, public defender Allen Day, regarding any kind of motion they plan to file to block the Humane Society’s custody of the dogs. 

“They’ll probably be focused on the criminal case going forward,” said Schopf. 

Day did not return a request for comment Friday afternoon.

A total of 22 French Mastiffs were found abandoned and emaciated on a Stratford farm belonging to Valdez, 55, on April 5. Nine of the animals were found dead. One escaped on the farm’s property when police arrived, and three later died. Nine of the surviving dogs — housed at the shelter or with temporary foster families — are now available for adoption, having come under the custody of the society.

Gertrude, like the rest of rescued pups, has gained weight and is doing well (photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons)

TJ Hall, an official with the Humane Society, said the shelter has received around 200…

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