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

Example 23 – Puppy Mills

The Complaint

A complainant called a local humane society and reported that she went to a breeder to buy a puppy. The person was appalled by the conditions that she witnessed at the premises and described them in a signed affidavit to the humane society.

The Response

  1. The humane society sent two investigators to the property on the premise of looking to buy a puppy.
  2. They were not allowed into the kennel areas; instead the puppies were brought out to the porch of the house. In addition to looking lethargic, the puppies had a bad/dirty smell.
  3. They asked to see the parents of the puppies and the owner refused.
  4. Based on the condition of the animals, the owner’s behavior, and the original complaint, the investigators applied for a search warrant to enter the premises.
  5. The investigators contacted other area shelters to assist in a rescue effort. They also contacted a local veterinarian and volunteers from other humane agencies.
  6. On an agreed upon date, the Sheriff’s department executed the search warrant and entered the property along with the humane society and the veterinarian.
  7. The owner and caretaker of the kennels were given an appearance ticket and removed from the property.
  8. The team entered the property. Each animal was photographed and given an identification number. In addition to numerous dogs, 4 cats, 1 goose, 1 duck, and 5 doves in poor condition, were on the premises. Animals were assigned to the various shelters and removed. Their locations were documented.
  9. The situation was complicated by the fact that there were two individuals involved, each of whom technically owned numerous of the animals. Thus, the investigators had to determine which animals technically belonged to whom, identify them, and specify the “Informations” accordingly.
  10. The humane society kept an accounting of the paperwork and presented it to the District Attorney’s office.

Charges Brought

The owner of the kennels was charged with 86 violations of Article 26 Section 353 of the Agriculture & Markets Law.

The caretaker of the kennels was charged with 47 violations of Article 26 Section 353 of the Agriculture & Markets Law.

Supporting Documents Follow