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

Example 16 – Animal Hoarder

The Complaint

A complainant called the State Police and stated that the animals at a private shelter were suffering from health problems and were being denied medical care. In addition, the shelter operator would not allow volunteers or employees to take animals who needed to be euthanized to a veterinarian.

The complaint was corroborated by a veterinarian who had visited the shelter and noticed that the animals were suffering from various maladies and in need of medical care.

The Response

  1. An officer visited the premises and verified the statements of the two complainants.
  2. The officer discussed the situation with the District Attorney’s office and applied for a search warrant to enter the premises. In addition, he did the following::
    • Contacted several veterinarians in the area to assist at the scene when the search warrant was executed.
    • Contacted various humane societies in the area and arranged for them to be present with vans to remove the salvageable animals.
  3. On the day the warrant was executed, the officers assembled the various humane societies at the edge of the property for a briefing and assignments.
  4. The officer presented the owner of the shelter with a copy of the search warrant. The officer then arrested the owner and had her removed from the property. The owner was not allowed to return while the rescue effort was going on. The humane agencies entered the property with the police.
  5. The animals were each identified by placing a card with a unique number for each animal and photographed.
  6. The animals who were deemed not savable were euthanized by a veterinarian; the others were removed to the humane societies involved in the effort. The destination of each animal was documented.
  7. The arresting officers obtained copies of the photos of each animal and attached the photos to the corresponding Information, along with the veterinarian’s report and gave them to the District Attorney.

Charges Brought

The owner was charged with 100 counts of violating Article 26 Section 353 of the Agriculture & Markets Law.

Supporting Documents Follow