As he did just 24 hours before, Plattsburgh City Court judge Mark Rogers ignored the pleas of Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Jason Marx, and sentenced one of the principals of the ‘Northern Puppies’ saga to probation and a fine, avoiding any jail time for the former pet store owner at the heart of one of the more gripping animal abuse cases in recent Clinton County memory.
Tammy Staley, who stood before Judge Rogers for sentencing after having pled guilty to five counts of cruelty to an animal for her role in the maltreatment and deaths of numerous animals at her pet store, Northern Puppies, this past summer, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of three years probation, restitution of $1,300, and a fine of $500.
Her husband, Michael Staley, was sentenced to probation and a fine a day earlier for his role in the saga, where he staged a burglary at the pet store, removed 24 puppies, and dumped the puppies in rural locations across western Clinton County. All but five of the puppies were located and turned over the Plattsburgh City Police. The five remaining puppies are feared by local authorities to have perished.
In a tense courtroom, Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Jason Marx pled emphatically for jail time for Staley. Stating that this, Tammy Staley’s case, was a completely different case than her husband’s, Marx asked the court, as he had asked the previous day, for jail time for Staley.
“The conditions were inhumane, and in the instances of several of the animals, deadly,” Marx argued.
In a terse exchange, Staley’s lawyer Frank Zappala, stated:
“I will not even dignify the statements of the prosecution with a response,” raising a question from Judge Rogers as to whether he had just heard correctly what Zappala had said.
Zappala went on to argue that the court should sentence consistent with the sentence handed down the previous day.
Judge Rogers, citing a pre-sentence investigation which included a prior stint of “unsteady performance” on probation by Staley, stated:
“It was a bad thing, a very bad thing, and I’m not sure that Ms. Staley gets it either.”
Rogers went on to sentence Staley to two consecutive terms of three years’ probation, plus a fine of $500, and restitution in the amount of $1,300, avoiding any jail time which was possible according to sentencing guidelines. The fine and restitution can be paid back by Staley at a rate of $50 per month.
As he had the previous day, Marx implored the court to specify that the Staley’s were not allowed by the sentence to breed the two unaltered Rottweiler dogs that they currently own as pets.
“Should Ms. Staley be found to be breeding animals, would she be in violation of her probation,” Marx asked Rogers at the conclusion of the case.
“That’s what I said,” answered Rogers.
Tammy and Michael Staley were later seen leaving Plattsburgh city court hand in hand, free from any jail time for their role in the Northern Puppies saga.