New York

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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. 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. 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.

People v. Lewis
Defendants were charged in separate informations with multiple counts of injuring animals and failure to provide adequate sustenance.


Plaintiff, the People of the State of New York, appealed the lower court’s decision to grant Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence obtained when a special agent of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals approached one of the defendants at his home upon an anonymous tip and inquired about the condition of the animals and asked the defendant to bring the animals outside for inspection, while the incident was videotaped by a film crew for a cable television show.


The Supreme Court, Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th, 13 Judicial Districts reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that Plaintiff met its burden of establishing that the defendant voluntarily consented to the search based on the fact that the defendant was not in custody or under arrest at the time of the search, was not threatened by the special agent, and there was no misrepresentation, deception or trickery on the special agent’s part.
People v. Koogan

Defendant was guilty of cruelty to animals for allowing a horse to be worked he knew was in poor condition.

People v. Jornov

This New York case stems from an attack on Philip Mueller and his dog by Defendant-Appellant Jornov's "two pit bull-terrier mixed breed dogs.” During proceedings in City Court, the court determined that defendant's dogs were dangerous dogs and directed that they be euthanized. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, affirmed the finding that the dogs were dangerous under Agriculture and Markets Law § 121 and Agriculture and Markets Law § 350[5] because there was clear and convincing evidence that the dogs attacked a companion animal and behaved in a manner that a reasonable person would believe posed a serious and imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. However, under the amended version of the statute, a judge or justice may not automatically direct humane euthanasia or permanent confinement of a dangerous dog where none of the aggravating circumstances are present.