New York, NY - April 24, 2018 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the Broome County Sheriff’s Office announced the seizure of 11 animals following a complaint of suspected animal neglect in the Town of Sanford. Pursuant to the search warrant, two cats, four sheep, and one donkey were seized; in addition, the NYS Environmental Police seized four foxes for violations of NYS Environmental Conservation Law. The property owner was subsequently arrested and charged with nine counts of misdemeanors, and was released on an appearance ticket.
“No animal should suffer cruelty or neglect,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to partner with local law enforcement to protect animals from abuse and remove them from inhumane conditions. I encourage New Yorkers to continue reporting suspected animal abuse or neglect to my office.”
“Earlier this year the Broome County Legislature passed a resolution authorizing the Broome County Sheriff’s Office to manage an animal abuser registry,” said Broome County Sheriff David E. Harder. “Any person convicted of any animal-related offense will be required to pay a fine and will have their name and photograph added to the registry where it will remain for fifteen years. Our Office takes animal neglect and abuse cases very seriously.”
In March 2018, the New York State Attorney General’s Office received a complaint regarding the possible neglect of numerous animals at a residence located at 34 Hawkins Road in the Town of Sanford. A joint investigation involving the New York Attorney General’s Office, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the Broome County Humane Society, the Broome County District Attorney’s Office, and the Broome County Sheriff’s Office was conducted. As a result of the investigation, a search warrant was executed at 34 Hawkins Road in the Town of Sanford on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
Upon entering the residence, investigators found four sheep and a donkey in a pen next to the driveway, 13 caged dogs and two caged cats in the house, and four penned foxes in the backyard with no drinkable water.
After evaluation, it was determined that the animals neglected included two cats with respiratory issues and tested positive for hook worm, four underweight sheep (two were emaciated and one had an eye infection that had been left untreated to the point of blindness), and one donkey with an untreated contagious skin disease. The five farm animals were immediately removed and transported to a hospital for treatment. The cats were also removed from the property, but it was determined that the health of the 13 caged dogs in the house was not poor enough to be removed at that time.
All four foxes were found caged in the backyard, one with lice and another emaciated. The foxes were removed by wildlife rescue as the property owner, John Elmer, did not have the proper permits to own them. The carcasses of two dead goats that had died many months ago were also found in the barn.
The owner of the property, John Elmer, was subsequently charged to seven counts of failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor under Section 353 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law, and two counts of failure to provide proper food, drink and wholesome air to an impounded animal, a misdemeanor under Section 356 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law.
Elmer, 39, of Clinton St. Binghamton, was directed to appear in the Town of Sanford Court at a later date. The animals were taken to an undisclosed location until the disposition of the criminal charges.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.