City animal rescuers saved nearly two dozen malnourished Shetland Sheepdogs found packed into two freezing, garbage-strewn Sheepshead Bay homes on Thursday — homes owned by the same canine-hoarding couple.
Animal Care and Control members found 13 dogs scampering around the pair’s primary residence on Bedford Avenue between Gravesend Neck Road and Avenue U at 10 am, then ten more ill-treated Shetland Sheepdogs — known as Shelties — locked in cages in a boarded-up Avenue Y address between E. 27th and E. 28th streets that officials said had no electricity or running water.
The abused animals were taken to a city shelter in East New York, officials said.
“Our primary concern was to get the dogs out of their locations,” Animal Care and Control spokesman Richard Gentles explained. “We will hold the dogs and care for them while the DA conducts an investigation.”
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes did not arrest the dog-hoarding couple — identified by neighbors as 64-year-old Kolja Sustic and 63-year-old Pat Lim — on Thursday, but prosecutors confirmed that they were under investigation for animal cruelty, a misdemeanor. They could be charged as early as next week, a DA spokesman said.
Neighbors who filed a complaint with the DA’s office last year said the couple has been hoarding dogs since the 1990s, when they had more than 70 Shelties under lock and key.
Members of the Tri-State Sheltie Rescue pressured the couple into parting with 25 of the dogs in 2011. The abused animals were taken to Noah’s Ark Veterinary Practice on Quentin Road in Marine Park for treatment before being sent to shelters around the country.
Noah’s Ark owner Dr. Brian Abraham said the Shelties he treated last year suffered from a host of ailments, including malnutrition and eye infections.
“The poor things were very scared,” Abraham remembered. “It can take months if not years to get dogs that have been abused to trust people again. You wonder how [that couple] can sleep at night and keep those dogs locked up.”
Sheltie owners across Brooklyn were shocked anyone would subject the lovable breed to such terrible conditions.
“My dog is another member of my family,” said John Krumeich, who owns a ten-year-old Sheltie named Bonnie. “It’s horrible!”