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John Elmer pleads guilty, will become registered animal abuser

SANFORD (WBNG) — A man accused of abusing animals at a farm in Sanford pleaded guilty just before his trial was scheduled to start.

John Elmer, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in Sanford Town Court to three charges, listed below:

  • Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance
  • Failure to provide proper food and drink to impounded animals
  • Possessing wild animals as pets

As part of the plea, Elmer agreed to forfeit ownership of the seized animals and remaining animals, as well as register himself on the Broome County Animal Abuser Registry. Elmer must also consent to searches by authorities to ensure he is compliant. The Broome County District Attorney’s Office notes the terms of the plea will be in effect for 15 years.

Elmer was arrested following an April search of his property at 34 Hawkins Road in Sanford. Prosecutors say four sheep, a donkey, two cats, two silver foxes, and two red foxes were seized from the property due to unhealthy living conditions. The animals were severely malnourished, authorities say.

The animals were taken to The Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York after being treated at Cornell Animal Hospital.

“After numerous visits to Cornell Animal Hospital, the animals have recovered, after battling severe lice infestation, pneumonia, parasitic infections, skin conditions, blindness, and malnourishment,” the Broome County District Attorney’s Office explained in a press release. “Upwards of $10,000 was spent on the care and recovery of the animals.”

Elmer is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7.

David Hermanovitch

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