Saucier couple cleared of charges after 108 animals seized at their home
SAUCIER, Miss. (WLOX) - A Saucier couple has been found innocent after being charged last year with animal cruelty.
Last May, Daniel and Sharon Bertok were arrested after authorities seized 108 animals from their Wright Road home.
In all, 11 different species of animals were found at the property, including 69 dogs, 15 birds, seven cats, six miniature horses, five goats, one pale fox, one hedgehog, one skunk, one monkey, one pig, and one miniature donkey.
The last year was a hard one for the Bertoks as they fought the charges and worked to get their beloved animals back.
“I cried every day,” said Sharon Bertok. “I mean, I did. I cried everyday.”
After a lengthy court battle, the Bertoks have been cleared of the charges and many of their animals have been returned to them.
Even after the innocent verdict, the couple says people are still making wild accusations online.
”It’s ridiculous. They don’t know us. They can’t judge us,” said Daniel Bertok. “They can’t say we are deplorable people or disgusting people. I am a retired military member from 24 years in the Air Force. She is a retired nurse. We took care of people, of the country, friends, family. It is ridiculous.”
The couple is also trying to dispel the notion that they are making money off the animals, stressing that their top priority has always been the health and happiness of the animals.
”The hoarding thing, wasn’t hoarding,” said Daniel Bertok. “We were taking care of the animals. We were supposed to get 21 dogs back from the Humane Society, and one of the people who worked at the Humane Society offered us $1,000 for the animal. So we took that $1,000 and re-donated it back to the Humane Society. So, we are not about the money. We are about taking care of the animals.”
The Bertoks were not able to get all of their animals back, with many of them being surrendered to different organizations or to new owners, but several of their dogs, cats, birds and even a few of their more exotic pets, like their monkey and fox, have been returned to the couple.
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