How to Investigate Animal Cruelty in NY State – A Manual of Procedures

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People v. Arcidicono – Deprivation of Sustenance

Case established that a person in charge of an animal is guilty of violating Section 353 if he fails to provide proper sustenance to an animal in his care. Established the concept that the person in charge of an animal can be found guilty of animal neglect and abuse as well as the owner.

The People of the State of New York, Respondent v. Nicholas Arcidicono, Appellant

79 MISCELLANEOUS REPORTS, 2d SERIES, 242

Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Second Department, April 30, 1974

Crimes – animals – judgment convicting caretaker of failing to provide proper sustenance to horse, affirmed.

The owners of a horse placed it in defendant’s care, but he did not feed it properly or enough, and so eventually it had to be mercifully destroyed. Even if the owners, too, were possibly guilty of failing to provide proper sustenance to the animal (Agriculture and Markets Law, § 353), defendant was properly found guilty.

People v. Arcidicono, 75 Misc 2d 294, affirmed.

APPEAL from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, First District (LAWRENCE NEWMARK, J.), rendered November 26, 1973, convicting defendant of failing to provide proper sustenance to an animal (a horse), in violation of the Agriculture and Markets Law (§ 353).

John F. Middlemiss (Leon J. Kesner of counsel), for appellant. Henry G. Wenzel, III, District Attorney (Ronald E. Lipetz of counsel), for respondent.

MEMORANDUM. Judgment of conviction affirmed.

In our opinion, defendant’s guilt of violating the Agriculture and Markets Law (§ 353) (failure to provide proper sustenance to an animal) was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Regardless of the possible culpability of the owners of the gelding, it was clearly established that defendant was in charge of feeding the gelding for the three months prior to its demise, that he was aware of its loss of weight, and that he gave it back to its owners in such a state of malnutrition that it was mercifully destroyed.

Although we are in agreement with the trial court’s finding that the evidence was ample to establish a culpable state of mind on the part of defendant, we do not, under the present circumstances, think it necessary to pass upon the issue of whether the subject offense is one of strict liability or mental culpability (cf. Agriculture and Markets Law, § 43; Penal Law, §§ 15.0015.15; former Penal Law, § 185; People v. Wright, 19 Misc 135, 136, 137).

Concur – HOGAN, P.J., FARLEY and GAGLIARDI, JJ.

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