HEBRON -- Four people were charged Monday with animal cruelty for their roles in the operation of an animal shelter raided by police and the SPCA last month.

Gabrielle S. D'Amour, 37, and her husband, Christian W. Goldner, 50, each face 54 misdemeanor counts in connection with the conditions of 68 dogs and cats taken from their 7491 Route 22, Hebron home on Sept. 21, according to Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Michael McWhorter.

The couple operates Peaceable Kingdom Animal Rescue from the home.

Two Vermont residents who assist them, Michael J. Lawyer, 40, and Lynn E. Lawyer, 39, both of North Bennington. Vt., were charged with a single count each of animal cruelty.

The charges against them pertain to a dog they were caring for that wound up on the property of a neighbor of D'Amour's, whose complaint prompted police and SPCA of Upstate New York to go to the home to check on the animals.

All four were released pending prosecution in Hebron Town Court.

McWhorter said the animals were found to be emaciated, dehydrated and with numerous medical problems that did not appear to have been treated, including mange, eye infections, dental problems and diarrhea.

The home was ordered closed by the Washington County Code Enforcement Office, pending a cleanup.

"The conditions were extremely unsanitary," McWhorter said.

Numerous dogs and cats were allowed to remain there as the house is cleaned up. McWhorter said the health of those animals did not seem as poor as that of the animals that were turned over.

D'Amour agreed to surrender the 68 animals to the SPCA of Upstate New York, and McWhorter said he had not heard that any had died or been euthanized.

McWhorter said the police investigation was continuing and more charges are possible.

One of the aspects of the investigation that remain open is D'Amour's past claims that Peaceable Kingdom was a registered nonprofit organization.

The organization's page on the social networking website Facebook had up until several months ago included a claim that it was a "501c(3)" nonprofit, referring to the section of the Internal Revenue Code that covers nonprofits.

But a search of the Internal Revenue Service's website shows Peaceable Kingdom is not registered under 501c(3).

"We would like to talk to people who adopted animals from Peaceable Kingdom or donated to them to understand what they were told," McWhorter said. "There's a lot to this case that we're still looking into."

The organization's Facebook page also listed a Route 22, North Granville address until a day or two after the police and SPCA visit to the home.

Anyone with information in the case was asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 747-4623.

D'Amour was also prosecuted in April 2007, after State Police found 50 dogs and cats and what they called "very unsanitary conditions" at her home, leading to her arrest on misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal nuisance for allowing her children to live there.

The charges were ultimately dropped with an agreement that she not operate the shelter from her home for at least a year.

Any children who live in the home are now older than 17, McWhorter said.

D'Amour, contacted for comment Tuesday, said, "My only comment is that there are still many dogs here available for adoption."

The day of the police raid, she told a reporter that she brings dogs to Peaceable Kingdom that were brought to shelters in other states where they would be euthanized if homes weren't found.

Peaceable Kingdom has been holding adoption clinics at pet stores in the Albany area earlier this year.

Its website lists an adoption clinic planned for Saturday, but also includes references to "trying to close our doors."

(7) comments


just sad..people need to stop breeding dogs and adopt from a shelter..


THere needs to be a probation system where conditions are rechecked in cases of abuse or neglect . We need animal abuse registries too so that people who have records of abuse can be prevented from having animals again.

Animal hoarders often start out with good intentions but there needs to be oversight in order to sort out legitimate rescues from nightmares like this,

These people took animals that were supposed to go to rescue...this is not a rescue. Many volunteers work hard to get animals out of kill shelters, and often much money is donated to free the animals. If those volunteers and donors knew that this is what they were working towards they would be sick!!

WE also need to reform the whole practice of pet ownership. We need to let people know what happens in "shelters", not so much in our area, but in areas where animals are gassed en masse without even sedation.

And we need EXPENSIVE breeders licenses for any animal that is not spayed or neutered.


Just disgusting......Looking at the house/property, I'm not surprised at the condition they found these poor animals....The house is a dump...I'm sure the inside isn't much better. It seems like these 4 used these poor animals as a meal ticket for themselves and nothing going to the animals. How could you look at these animals in such poor condition every day????? Doesn't a bell go off in at least one of these 4 people??? And, you claim to be non-profit, which turns out to be a lie??? Once, I heard that, I wouldn't believed another thing they said. I hope they throw the book at them and throw away the key.......then bulldoze that dump. You can be poor and still be neat and clean.


Animal abuse/neglect is on the rise and it's weekly that we're hearing about horrendous, disgusting cases where dogs & cats are being starved, beaten and left to live in extremely unsanitary conditions. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!! Tougher laws need to be in place, and enforced. Currently, people who neglect/abuse animals merely get a "slap on the hand" and are left to repeat the same offenses.

Buster's Law went into effect June 28, 1999 and I'm not aware of any other laws since then - 12 years ago. I'm thankful to have this law, but in my opionion it isn't harsh enough on the offenders.

If each of us were to contact our senators (www.nyssenate.gov/senators for a list of each District), Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver and our local representatives maybe tougher laws could be written and enforced.

For the abuse and neglected animlas, it's worth all our efforts. The SPCA is wonderful, but is taxed and can only handle so much.


TUCKER2, I couldnt have said it better great job!!


Unfortunately, most people that end up in this situation started out with good intentions, but they just can't keep up. I don't know these people so I will probably never know if that is what happened or (as my gut tells me) they were keeping their overhead low by not properly caring for the animals and then keeping the "adoption fees" for their pockets. These people were not breeders, they were "Rescuers" or as I would like to call them, "Collectors" or "Hoarders".
I have to comment about the "EXPENSIVE Breeders License" for any intact animal. All this would do is make it easier on puppy and other animal mills. They have the money to buy the licenses. Reputable breeders put the money that they "make" off of puppy or kitten sale back into the breed (health screenings, genetic testing, etc). If they tried to afford such an expense, the health of their bloodlines could be in jeopardy.


jaxsieb1218: The last thing we need law makers to take on is another destraction from the real issues facing our society. Lets be honest, if Asia these animals would be on dinner plates every day.......

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