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Man Accused Of Animal Neglect Turns Down Plea Deal

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SANFORD, N.Y. -

The man accused of neglecting animals in the Town of Sanford has turned down a plea deal and the case will prepare to go to trial.  John Elmer, accused of keeping animals without food or water on his property on Hawkins Road, appeared for a pretrial hearing in Town of Sanford Court on Monday morning.

The 39-year-old is facing 9 counts of animal neglect after 11 animals were seized from his property on April12th. On Monday, the judge made the severity of the charges clear, addressing Elmer's defense attorney, "Your client should know that if found guilty on these charges, jail is a real possibility."

Among the 11 animals seized were four foxes that Elmer's lawyer is trying to get back into his possession. Ron Benjamin wrote a letter to the court requesting another hearing about those foxes, which, he says, Elmer owned with the intention to sell the furs, which is legal according to the Broome County District Attorney's office.

The defense is also trying to get pictures of the allegedly neglected animals omitted from trial, saying they were rescue animals that had already been harmed before Elmer got them. 

When Elmer was arrested on 86 felony counts of animal cruelty back in 2005, he told investigators the same thing: That he was running an animal rescue operation. In that case, investigators say they seized 48 animals from Elmer's Windsor home and found hundreds of dead animals on the property along with euthanasia drugs, needles, and surgical instruments. Those felony charges were dropped to misdemeanors, according to the DA's office.

Another hearing to address both the foxes and the photographs of the animals is scheduled for July 27th at 9am in Town of Sanford Court.