New York

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People v. Hock

Defendant was denied his motion to set aside convictions under New York animal cruelty statute.  The Criminal Court, City of New York, held that the 90 day period for prosecuting a Class A misdemeanor had not been exceeded. It also held that the jury was properly instructed on the criminal statute that made it a misdemeanor to not provide an animal with a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air, food, shelter, or water. It would be contrary to the purpose of the law and not promote justice to require that all four necessities be withheld for a conviction.

People v. Garcia

In this New York case, the court, as a matter of first impression, considered the scope of the aggravated cruelty law (§ 353-a(1)) in its application to a pet goldfish.  Defendant argued that a goldfish should not be included within the definition of companion animal under the statute because there is "no reciprocity in affection" similar to other companion animals like cats or dogs.  In finding that the statute did not limit the definition as such, the court held that defendant's intentional stomping to death of a child's pet goldfish fell within the ambit of the statute.  Accordingly, the judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County that convicted defendant of attempted assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, assault in the third degree (three counts), endangering the welfare of a child (three counts), and aggravated cruelty to animals in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-a(1) was affirmed.

People v. Garcia

Defendant was convicted for violating the anti-cruelty statute toward animals.  On appeal, the Court held that the statute was not unconstitutionally vague when applied to defendant's crimes.  Motion denied.

People v. Curcio

In this New York case, Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), a class A misdemeanor. The charge resulted from allegedly refusing to provide medical care for his dog, Sophie, for a prominent mass protruding from her rear end. This Court held that the statute constitutional as applied, the complaint facially sufficient, and that the interests of justice do not warrant dismissal. Defendant argued that the Information charges Defendant with failure to provide medical care for a dog, and that A.M.L. § 353 should not be read to cover this situation. However, the Court found that the complaint raises an “omission or neglect” permitting unjustifiable pain or suffering, which is facially sufficient.

People v. Bootman

This is one of the first cases to construe the issue of interstate commerce with regard to state game laws and the Lacey Act.  Defendant purchased game birds that were killed outside of New York and brought them into the state when it was lawful to possess them.  The court stated it was required by the rule of stare decisis to hold that the Legislature did not intend to make criminal the possession during the closed season of game killed and brought here during the open season.  The court notes that the passage of the New York legislation occurred three months before the passage of the Lacey, thus having no effect.  The court does go on to note the Legislature has now made it clear that it is well within state police power to regulate wildlife.

People v. Beauvil

This New York case came before this Court after the District Attorney refused to prosecute the case. The complaintant alleged that on April 16, 2008, he was walking down a public sidewalk when a loose dog, later identified as belonging to the defendants, ran up to and bit the complainant on the hand. Police were contacted and a complaint was made to the Village of Westbury Attorney who then advised the complainant to file a formal complaint with the Nassau County District Attorney's office. The District Attorney's office declined to prosecute and instead suggested that the Village handle the matter. This Court held that it has no jurisdiction to hear the misdemeanor charge stemming from the violation of Agriculture & Markets Law § 121 (but then did list the other avenues available for the complaintant). This Court, sua sponte, also held that the Agriculture & Markets Law § 121, as applied to Nassau County Village Justice Courts, is unconstitutional. This was due to the fact that Village Courts have no jurisdiction (or ability, as pointed out by the court) to hear misdemeanors.

People v. Arroyo

This case presents the court with a novel question: Does a pet owner commit an act of cruelty, for which he or she could be prosecuted criminally, by not providing an ill pet (in this case, terminally ill) with medical care?  Defendant charged with violation of New York's anticruelty statute and moved for dismissal.  In engaging in statutory interpretation, the Court held that:  (1) provision prohibiting the deprivation of "necessary sustenance" was vague when applied to defendant, and (2) that the provision prohibiting "unjustifiably" causing pain to an animal was also vague when applied to defendant.  Motion granted.

People v. Arcidicono

The court held the bailee of a horse liable for failing to provide necessary sustenance to the horse, even though the owner of the horses had refused to pay for the necessary feed.


People v Arcidicono

The defendant was properly convicted of cruelty when a horse in his custody and care had to be destroyed due to malnutrition. The defendant was in charge of feeding the gelding, and was aware of his loss of weight. He knew the diet was inadequate but failed to provide more food. The defendant was guilty of violating Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 for failing to provide proper sustenance to the horse. 

People of the State of New York v. Mary Dawn Sitors This action is an appeal from dismissal of criminal charges against a woman accused of acts of cruelty on her horses. The Town Court dismissed the criminal charges, finding that since the Catskill Animal Sanctuary's petition seeking the posting of security to care for the horses was dismissed (which had a lower standard of proof than in a criminal action), this necessarily meant it would be impossible to obtain a criminal conviction under the higher standard. Essentially, the Town Court's decision reflected a determination that one cannot violate New York's state cruelty law unless the animal dies due to lack of sustenance or care. The County Court found this reasoning erroneous; a violation under the law occurs when one fails to provide necessary sustenance, not only those acts or omissions that result in an animal's death. The criminal actions were thus, reinstated against defendant.