From the Times Ledger:
The founder and former operator of the Queens International Film Festival was charged with failing to provide sustenance to animals after she was arrested in upstate New York for allegedly keeping more than 40 dogs in cages without food or water, the executive director of the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.
Marie Castaldo, 52, was arrested by SPCA investigators last Thursday in Kingston, N.Y., and charged with one count of failure to provide sustenance to animals under a state Department of Agriculture & Markets law.
But Brian Shapiro, the SPCA’s executive director, said an additional 46 counts are pending.
“These poor dogs came to us in such bad shape,” he said. “This is a classic case of hoarding. These animals had no quality of life whatsoever.”
Most of the dogs were confined to cages and covered in fecal matter and urine and many of them were in poor medical condition with no access to food or water, Shapiro said.
Castaldo’s arrest, which followed a year-long investigation by the SPCA, is just the latest twist in a strange chronicle that has stretched from Queens to California, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
The defendant operated the Queens International Film Festival in Long Island City and Astoria every year since 2003. But last fall, a number of individuals and institutions involved in the distribution and screening of films had accused Castaldo, the QIFF’s founder and executive director, of failing to pay them thousands of dollars over a period of years.