New York

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Titlesort ascending Summary
People v. Scott This case dealt with a man charged with two counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Sustenance, in violation of section 353 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (“AML”). On September 11, 2017, two Police Officers were called to an apartment building because tenants of the apartment building were complaining about a foul odor coming from the defendant's apartment unit. It was suspected that a dead body might be in the apartment based on the Officers' experience with dead body odors. Upon arrival the Officers could hear a dog on the other side of the door pacing and wagging its tail against the door. The Officers entered the apartment after getting no response from the tenant under the emergency doctrine. The Officers searched the apartment for a dead body but did not find one, but instead found a male German Shepard dog and a domestic shorthair cat, both of which were malnourished and emaciated. Their food and water bowls were empty and there was wet and dry feces and urine saturating the apartment unit floor. The police seized the animals and the vet that examined the animals concluded that the animals were malnourished and emaciated, and had been in those conditions for well over 12 hours. The defendant challenged the seizure of the animals and the subsequent security posting for costs incurred by the ASPCA for care of the dog for approximately 3 months. The court held that the defendant did violate a section of Article 26 of the AML, and that there was a valid warrant exception applicable to this case. Further, the court held that $2,567.21 is a reasonable amount to require the respondent/defendant to post as security.
People v. Romano


Defendant appealed a conviction of animal cruelty under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to groom the dog for a prolonged period of time and failing to seek medical care for it. Defendant argued that the term “unjustifiably injures” in the statute was unconstitutionally vague, but the Court held the term was not because a person could readily comprehend that he or she must refrain from causing unjustifiable injury to a domestic pet by failing to groom it for several months and seeking medical care when clear, objective signs are present that the animal needs such care.

People v. Rogers
Defendant was convicted following jury trial in the Criminal Court of the City of


New York


of abandonment of animals.  On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Term, held that the warrantless entry into pet shop was justified under emergency doctrine and sufficient evidence supported his convictions.
People v. Richardson In this New York case, defendant appeals from a three-county felony animal fighting conviction. Defendant's dog fighting activities came to light when police were dispatched to defendant's residence after defendant's wife reported a burglary in progress. Upon entry by consent, police found, in plain view, a wounded dog in a cage, several modified treadmills for use by dogs, blood on a water heater, and apparent dogfighting paraphernalia. After seeking a search warrant, the items were photographed and other evidence (supplements, training sticks, etc.) was collected. On appeal, the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress all of the physical evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree. The court noted that the dogfighting paraphernalia were observed in plain view by responding policy officers. Additionally, police officers remaining at the house after the protective sweep to prevent the destruction of evidence while the search warrant was issued did not render the search unlawful. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant intended to engage in dogfighting and that the dogs were deprived of medical treatment. In addition to the paraphernalia and collection of literature on dogfighting, defendant's dogs had extensive scarring and healing consistent with dogfighting and inconsistent with defendant's proffered "cat-scratch" and "broken window" explanations. Defendant's convictions and judgment of sentence were affirmed.
People v. Peters


A veterinarian was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to three years of probation based upon his alleged unjustifiable failure under Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 to provide a mare and her foal with necessary sustenance, food and drink in September 2005. After conviction by jury, the lower court denied defendant-veterinarian's motion to vacate judgment of conviction. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division found that while defendant failed to preserve his challenge for sufficiency of the evidence, the jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence. In particular, the court found that the expert testimony contradicted the evidence that the foal was mistreated.

People v. Panetta Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, inadequate shelter, and failing to seek veterinary care for her numerous dogs. After an initial seizure of two dogs, defendant was served with a notice to comply with care and sheltering of her remaining dogs. Following inspections about a month later, inspectors found that defendant had failed to comply with this order, and dogs suffering from broken bones and other injuries (including one dog with "a large tumor hanging from its mammary gland area") were seized and subsequently euthanized. As a result, defendant was arrested and charged with 11 violations of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 and local code violations. Defendant then moved to suppress the physical evidence and statements taken during the initial warrantless entry onto her property and the evidence obtained after that during the execution of subsequent search warrants, arguing that the initial warrantless entry tainted the evidence thereafter. At the suppression hearing, a building contractor who had visited defendant's residence testified that he contacted the Office for the Aging because he had concerns for defendant. An official at the Office for the Aging also testified that the contractor told her that he observed 6 dogs in the home and about 50-100 dogs in outdoor cages. The investigating officer who ultimately visited defendant's property reported that there were nearly 100 dogs living in "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property. Upon encountering defendant that day, the officer testified that defendant demanded a search warrant for further investigation (which the officer obtained and executed later that day). Following this hearing, the City Court held that while the officer's entry violated defendant's legitimate expectation of privacy, his actions were justified under the emergency exception warrant requirement and, thus, denied defendant's motion to suppress. On appeal here, defendant argues that the prosecution failed to establish the officer had reasonable grounds to believe there was an immediate need to protect life or property and that all the evidence obtained thereafter should have been suppressed. Relying on previous holdings that allow the emergency exception in cases where animals are in imminent danger of health or need of protection, this court found that the prosecution failed to establish the applicability of the emergency doctrine. In particular, the court was troubled by the fact that, on the first visit, the officers crossed a chain fence that was posted with a no trespassing sign (although they testified they did not see the sign). Because the officers only knew that there were "unhealthy conditions" on defendant's property in a house that the contractor testified that he thought should be "condemned," this did not support a conclusion of a "substantial threat of imminent danger" to defendant or her dogs. While in hindsight there was an emergency with respect to the dogs, the court "cannot retroactively apply subsequently obtained facts to justify the officers' initial entry onto defendant's property." As a result, the court remitted the matter to the City Court for a determination of whether the seizures of evidence after the initial illegal entry occurred under facts that were sufficiently distinguishable from the illegal entry so to have purged the original taint.
People v. O'Rourke


The owner of a horse was guilty of cruelty to animals for continuing to work a horse he knew was limping. The court found that defendant owner was aware that the horse was unfit for labor, and was thus guilty of violating N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 353 for continuing to work her.

People v. Miller In this New York case, defendant appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree, petit larceny, and criminal contempt in the first degree. The incident occurred when defendant went back over to his girlfriend's house after he called her to ask permission to visit the dogs. The complainant declined, saying she had plans for an outing with the dogs that day. Witnesses later observed defendant banging on the complainant's door and subsequently opening a window and climbing in her residence. After forcing entry, defendant took the dogs and complainant called 911. Subsequently, defendant led police on a high speed chase, and, after being arrested, defendant claimed the dogs were licensed to him. The appellate court viewed all the evidence of the elements for each crime and rejected defendant's contention that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Thus, the judgment was affirmed. Notably, two judges dissented on this appeal, finding that defendant "had at least a good faith basis for claiming an ownership interest the dogs." The dissent found the dogs may have been jointly owned and that, prior to his arrest, "defendant simply intended to take the dogs for a walk and then return them."
People v. Meadows

Defendant Amber Meadows allegedly neglected to provide dogs Athena, Buddy, and Meeko, with air, food, and water, and confined them in a bedroom where feces was found on the floor and furniture. Meadows was prosecuted for three counts of the unclassified misdemeanor of failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal in violation of § 356 of the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML). Meadows moved to dismiss the Information as facially insufficient and stated that the Supporting Deposition indicated that the dogs were “in good condition.” The People of the State of New York argued that the allegations in both the Information and Deposition, taken together, provide a sufficient basis to establish the elements of the crime. The Canandaigua City Court, Ontario County, held that: (1) “impounded” as stated in § 356 of the Agriculture and Markets Law does not apply to individual persons, and (2) even if the statute applied to individual persons, the allegations in the Information were not facially sufficient. The court reasoned § 356 does not apply to individual persons, but instead applies only to “pounds” operated by not-for-profit organizations, or kennels where animals are confined for hire. The court also stated that even if § 356 were to apply to individuals, under no construction of the facts here could the charge be sustained, as it appeared that the animals were properly cared for in the Defendant's apartment up to the point where she was forcibly detained. The conditions observed by law enforcement authorities on the date alleged in the Information were apparently several days after Meadow's incarceration and after which she was unsuccessful in securing assistance for the dogs while incarcerated. The Information was dismissed with prejudice, and the People's application for leave to file an amended or superseding Information was denied.

People v. Lohnes


After breaking into a barn and stabbing a horse to death, the defendant plead guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals; burglary in the third degree; criminal mischief in the second degree; and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals. On appeal, the court found a horse could be considered a companion animal within New York's aggravated cruelty statute if the horse was not a farm animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes and the horse was normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or the person who cared for it. The appeals court also vacated and remitted the sentence imposed on the aggravated cruelty charge because the defendant was entitled to know that the prison term was not the only consequence of entering a plea.

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