Watertown couple arrested on 136 counts of animal cruelty charges

Joanne Armstrong

LeRoy Burnham

On March 2, 2017, the New York State Police along with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, local veterinarian’s, humane associations, horse rescue and Jefferson County Dog Control executed a search warrant at 17037 Sandy Creek Valley Road in the town of Watertown for the purpose of investigating animal cruelty/neglect.

The search warrant was a result of a complaint from the Jefferson County Animal Cruelty Task Force regarding animal cruelty-neglect at 17037 Sandy Creek Valley Road in the Town of Watertown, Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Animal Cruelty Task Force requested assistance from the New York State Police. During the months of January and February, State Police members, along with a local veterinarian, conducted an investigation and developed information that animal cruelty-neglect is occurring on that property.

The veterinarians evaluated over 140 animals and provided documentation to the New York State Police as to the physical condition of each. 54 animals were removed from the site and placed in temporary care until the case is disposed of.

As a result of the search warrant, State Police arrested 65-year-old, Joanne M. Armstrong and 55-year-old, Leroy S. Burnham, from 16695 Sandy Creek Valley Road in Watertown, and charged them both with 68 counts each of Animal Cruelty charges, a class “A” misdemeanor. Both were arraigned in Watertown Town Court and released on their own recognizance.

State Police were assisted at the scene by the following agencies:

  • Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office
  • Jefferson County Fire & Emergency Management Office
  • Jefferson County Animal Cruelty Task Force
  • Cowcalls, Inc.
  • North Country Animal Health Center
  • Lake Effect Veterinary Services
  • Watertown Animal Hospital
  • Little Bit of Heaven Horse Rescue
  • Town of Watertown Fire Department

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