Middleport man signs animals over to SPCA after animal cruelty charges

MIDDLEPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a Middleport man was charged with animal cruelty last week, his animals have officially been signed over to the Niagara County SPCA.

Richard Heschke, a farmer in his 80s, was accused of neglecting dozens of animals on his property. Some of the cattle he had were found dead, and others were severely underweight.

Heschke had been warned by the SPCA for months about the poor conditions in which his animals were kept. The SPCA says they did not have sufficient food or medical care.

The animals were taken from Heschke when he was charged. Seized were 45 cattle, 2 pigs, 12 ducks and a number of cats.

Since Heschke signed the animals over to the SPCA, the civil case against him has been dropped, but the criminal case remains.

“We don’t aim to punish Heschke in this case, but to prevent him from owning animals in the future,” SPCA Officer Zaninovich said. “It is clear that he could not care for the animals in his possession.”

The organization says they will be in contact with anyone looking to adopt animals that were seized.

“This is the best possible outcome for these animals,” SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis said. “We had hoped for a speedy sign-over and now we can move them onto farm homes where they will receive proper food, water and care.”

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