Thursday, December 18, 2008

New York Decision on Animal Cruelty May Have Broad Implications for "Puppy Mills"

A New York City Criminal Court has concluded that a man who failed to provide medical treatment for his dog can be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

Writing in People v. Curcio, 2008KN021343, Judge Michael Gerstein held that the state law prohibiting “Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals [or] Failing to Provide Proper Sustenance for Animals” applied to a man who failed to bring his ailing 2-year-old dog to a veterinarian for at least a week after discovering a tumor on the dog’s hindquarter:

Defendant [allegedly] knew the dog had a mass on its rear end and that Defendant did not and would not take said dog to the veterinarian for medical attention. The Complaint further alleges that because of Defendant's failure to seek medical attention, saving the dog's life required surgery and six days of intensive care and that Defendant's lack of care caused [the dog] to suffer needlessly [and] are sufficient to establish a prima facie case.

This failure, the Judge held, could be construed as “further[ing] any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty" in violation of New York State Agriculture and Market Law.

Therefore, the court denied Mr. Curcio’s motion to dismiss and allowed his case to proceed to trial.

The court’s decision, if upheld and followed elsewhere, could have broad implications against operators of so-called “puppy mills,” in which dogs are often mistreated and over bred. Prior to this decision, many local jurisdictions refrained from investigating or prosecuting mill owners, due to questions regarding the application of state animal cruelty laws to situations where a dog had adequate food and shelter, but may have suffered in other ways.

However, the principles set forth in the Curcio decision could encourage those authorities to be more vigilant against large commercial breeders whose operations inflict needless suffering on companion animals.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lodi takes step to form planning board

From the Finger Lakes Times:
The Town Board Thursday passed a motion to begin the process of forming a five-member planning board.

[Supervisor Lee Davidson] has sought the assistance of attorney Steven Getman in enacting a local law to form the board.

Davidson has also consulted with Getman on the possibility of a one-year moratorium on new subdivisions within the town, in conjunction with the town’s effort to implement a Farmland Protection Program.

Town Clerk Lois Jennings said she was pleased to see a step toward town planning, noting that she frequently receives phone calls from attorneys asking about land use restrictions ....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Balancing the Rights of Farmers and Animals

The Town of Ovid's Farm law draft gets support:
The town board didn’t hesitate Wednesday night to support the final draft of grape grower Chris Verrill’s proposed “Right to Farm Law.”

Verrill, a planning board member who suggested such legislation several months ago, couldn’t attend the board’s meeting that night, so he missed hearing Supervisor David Dresser commend his and Town Attorney Steven Getman’s efforts to protect local farmers’ interests.

Dresser and board members had been contacted by numerous residents concerned that the original draft might leave a loophole for puppy mill operators. A paragraph in the new version specifically excludes protection for dog and cat operations and bars the law from being broadened to mean that.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Working to Regulate Puppy Mills in New York

ROMULUS--Supervisor David Kaiser is pleased to report that the Town of Romulus has been recognized by a state animal welfare organization for efforts to regulate inhumane “puppy mills” in that town.

....Samantha Mullen, Chair of the New York State Humane Association Legislative Committee, praised the town for its recently-enacted moratorium on commercial breeding kennels, commonly known as “puppy mills.”

Kaiser said he was happy to receive the news and said that it was a testament to the hard work of the Town’s Planning Board, chaired by J. Barry Roach, which drafted the law with the direction of local attorney Steven Getman and board member Mickie Sanders-Jauquet.