A-paw-ling! Pack of abused sheepdogs found in two filthy ‘hoarder’ homes

Brooklyn Daily
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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!”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 2:43 am, February 17, 2012
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Reader feedback

Sheltie Lover says:
This is disgusting!!!!!!!!! Make those people pay for what they have done!!!!!!!!
Feb. 17, 2012, 9:43 am
Disgusted from Sheepshead bay says:
The ASPCA were repeatedly called over the years, and inspected the home. The last time they arrived they declared the environment to be fit and refused to remove the animals. They said they were being adequately cared for despite the fact that there was no heat, no running water and unsanitary conditions. Some of the animals had bite wounds and were aggressive given the environment in which they were raised. The ASPCA's internal guidelines should be scrutinized and the handling of this case reviewed as well.
Feb. 17, 2012, 11:17 am
bob from texas says:
We have one of the shelties that was released in 2011. When we got her she was skinny and mistrustful of all human contact. She spent all of her time in her crate in the living room, and only went out on a leash to get her through the door. Then she was outside she was so fearful she might take an hour to come back in.
I spent many hours sitting near her crate tossing bits of turkey into, then outside of it just to get her to come out on her own.
We have 2 other shelties. Both rescues, and they were the best therapy for her, teaching her yo tun, bark and play. After a year her coat has filled out,gained weight ,she now can bark. She still avoids humans who approach her, but when I sit quietly with morning dog kibble in my hands,all 3 take turns eating breakfast. Recently she has started to play tug with sticks, and chew on them when I hold on the other end. These dogs need. A lot of love, time. And patience. Having another timid rescue dog in the house seems to be a plus. The 2 shy ones are now best of friends an both benefit from each other.
anyone who is thinking of taking one of these dogs needs lots of time, patience, and another shy dog might be helpful as well.
But with lots of time and love they can get better
Feb. 17, 2012, 12:24 pm
Michelle from Houston tx says:
I have a Brooklyn sheltie. Yes lots of love and patience but they are wonderful little creatures.
Feb. 17, 2012, 10:10 pm
Donna from Rockland says:
I also adopted one of the Brooklyn shelties and my dog, too suffers from the same timidness and shyness. She only trusts my husband and I but the most important thing I want to mention is he also has multiple liver shunts. I really hope that these dogs that were rescued get the proper vet exams that are required both before rescue and especially after. Don't confuse not wanting to eat with simply the results of abuse from their situation. My dog was very, very sick and now is doing much better, but this is a lifelong battle requiring constant monitoring, medication and LOVE....Best of luck to these dogs - they deserve it! (my other dog also taught this little guy to have fun and trust, so I agree another dog in the house is a must)
Feb. 19, 2012, 11:42 am
Tami Hottes from Southern Illinois says:
Animal cruelty should be made a felony!
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:58 am
Rena from Austin says:
The ASPCA does little with $130 million a year to advocate for animals though they pay their CEO, Ed Sayres $500,000. I'm disgusted with their recent attempt to push Amy Paulin's "Quick Kill Bill" through so they can continue convenience killing shelter pets faster by eliminating the holding period. The ASPCA runs only one shelter and after they "rescue" an animal, they drop it off at the nearest kill pound. Shameful. I'm a little surprised that hoarders had dogs of only one breed. That makes me suspect they may be backyard breeders. The cages in the garage are the type used in puppy mills. Heartbreaking!
Feb. 21, 2012, 7:30 pm
Lisa from UWS says:
I'm fostering one of the dogs that they rescued in February. I didn't realize that she came from home of 22 shelties which means a lot of inbreeding going on. On top of their neglect, it's no wonder they are in the condition that they are in mentally and phyiscally. My little Leni has grown to trust me in the last month that I've had her. While she spends most of her time in her crate where she feels safe , she does come out and say hello to me from time to time. She likes to be petted and will let you know so when she lingers around a little longer. She takes to treats really well and has recently learned to sit and lie down. She is very anxious with other people and being outside with so much going on in NYC, but it's it's understandable. I'll just continue to work with her every day and give her love, patience and some mental relief where I can. I have tried the calming cap with not too much success, and have just order the thundershirt which is supposed to be very good for anxious dogs. So I will hope for the best. If I can't /don't wind up keeping her, I just hope to god she doesn't go back to that dreadful couple who I understand are fighting to get their dog backs. My heart goes out to all neglected and abused animals. I've grown such an appreciation to dogs by being with Leni and realize how important being able to foster her is. Although challenging, it's def rewarding when she wagged her tail for the fist time, or approached me on her own, or came running and jumped up on me to be petted. It just means they are one step closer to living a "normal" life. If anyone has any hesitations in fostering or adopting a shelter dog, please don't. Give it a try and you'd be surprised.
May 8, 2012, 8:31 am
Bela from Georgia says:
I think I may have adopted one of the 2011 rescued Shelties here in Georgia from Sheltie Rescue. At any rate, she is a victim of a herding situation. I've owned Shelties for 20 years, and I can't imagine what kind of sick someone would have to be to abuse these gentle souls. My girl has taken the better part of a year to even start barking and wagging her tail. She loves our other rescue (a JRT mix) and they are so good for each other! I hope these people do not get their dogs back, or even are allowed to own any animal again.
May 8, 2012, 5:33 pm
Michelle A. from Houston says:
I have fostered then adopted a Brooklyn Sheltie since September 2011. Only now does he trusts me and comes to cuddle and enjoys his brushing or accepts a treat when I put it in his crate. He still prefers his crate to any other place at home. He hates walking on a leash. He wants to be inside at home and with me all the time, which we are. He is pure love but has been so hurt and wounded emotionally he is still fearful of birds, trees, wind, strangers, unknown sounds. I baby him and go very slowly as to not lose the progress we have made. He has a glorious coat now and has gained a few pounds where he looks healthy for his size. He is house trained and very gentle. I am hoping he will learn to wag his tail and play with toys some day.
June 3, 2012, 10:26 am
Kelly from Merrimack says:
You can read the happy ending to this story at Sheltie Nation.
Aug. 11, 2012, 5:47 am

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