'You tortured a child': Palmyra woman who raised son, dogs in squalor sentenced to jail

Written by Daniel Walmer/The Lebanon Daily News | Nov 1, 2018 11:47 AM
Pomeranian hoarding.jpg

Shannon Fies, 38, lived with her 6-year-old son, 27 dogs and a parrot in a home surrounded by garbage, bottles of urine and dog feces. (Submitted by Pawsitively Pom Rescue)

Saying she "tortured" her then-6-year-old son, Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bradford Charles handed down a 1-year prison sentence Wednesday morning to a Palmyra woman who lived in horrendous conditions.

Pomeranian hoarding trash.jpg

A hoarding situation that created a powerful odor for neighbors led to Palmyra police intervening on South Harrison Street. (Submitted by Pawsitively Pom Rescue)

Shannon Fies, 38, resided at 121 Harrison St. in Palmyra surrounded by garbage, bottles of urine and dog feces. When her son was rescued in July 2017, he had fleas, untreated infections, had not been enrolled in school, had an emotional aversion to people and spoke like a 2-year-old, Charles said.

"You tortured a child," he told Fies.

More: Palmyra 6 year old grew up isolated, surrounded by garbage

"You might not like that word, but I stand by it, and I cannot excuse torture as mere recklessness," he added.

Fies also had 27 Pomeranians living with her, and contacted a rescue organization for Pomeranians when she learned she was about to be evicted. 

When the group arrived to evaluate the dogs, Fies would not answer the door, and after they learned from neighbors that a child was also inside and living in poor conditions, they called the police.

"I regret everything that happened," Fies told Charles while choking back tears. "I will never own another animal."

More: Woman with son, 27 dogs, parrot, charged with endangering children, 28 counts animal cruelty

 A plea agreement gave Charles discretion to order a county prison sentence or house arrest.

Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Elliott Katz, said she did not have an intent to harm but became overwhelmed by the situation.

"That's not a narrative that I buy," Charles said, reasoning that Fies made a choice to not seek help despite knowing the problems her son was facing.

"If you think you are getting house arrest for this, you are very, very mistaken," he told her.

Charles sentenced Fies to 1 year at Lebanon County Correctional Facility, followed by 1 year of house arrest and 2 years and 6 months of additional probation. During the entire 54-month sentence, Fies may not have any minors in her supervision or own a pet.

Fies pleaded guilty in July to endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, cruelty to animals and several related summary offenses.

The child is now living with his father and is "doing great," his father said in July. All 27 Pomeranians were adopted and are with new families. 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Lebanon, News

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