Dear Hornell Evening Tribune:
One year ago, Anthony Imperatrice, of Greenwood, was
charged with 4 felony counts of poisoning his 4 draft horses with arsenic.
The SPCA, the County Sheriff, the organizations who have
taken in the surviving animals, and outraged people from all over the
country are still waiting for Steuben County District Attorney John Tunney
to prosecute the case.
Vicki Mosgrove, Finger Lakes SPCA executive director, said
she has made numerous, unsuccessful attempts to speak to Tunney about the
status of the case. County Sheriff Rob Stewart concurs that Tunney "hasn't
returned anyone's calls."
Imperatrice deliberately poisoned the horses because he
was aggravated about a family argument.
During a raid, a month later, investigators found, in
addition to these 4 dead horses (left to rot where they had collapsed), the
rotting corpses of more than a dozen other animals, and dozens of surviving,
severely abused and neglected animals - many ill - forced to live in the
decay and filth.
Susie Coston, who assisted with the removal of the
animals, and who is director of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen (which took
in dozens of sheep, lambs, goats, horses, cattle, rabbits, birds, cats, and
a donkey from Imperatrice's farm), said that the
animals trembled in fear when the rescuers walked through.
Coston reported that one terrified goat was found tethered
between dead horses. Another 2 goats (one wearing a dog collar embedded in
her neck), with deformed hooves, were tethered in a stall on top of moldy
hay and feces stacked higher than the gate. Their tethers were too short to
allow them to stand, forcing them to remain on their knees. Their chests and
knees were rubbed raw from months of this cruel confinement. When rescuers
untied the goats, they crawled to the door on their knees. An arthritic
donkey, with hooves severely deformed from neglect, and a bone sticking out
of the skin of her foot, was barely able to walk. Hay was stored and growing
just out of reach of the starving animals.
Emaciated nursing animals and their babies were stuffed in
pens barely big enough to contain them and had no shade to protect them from
Imperatrice felt he had done nothing wrong.
Photos documenting the cruel conditions, and Coston's
eyewitness report, are on Farm Sanctuary's web site:
Seeing the loving care the survivors of Imperatrice's hell
are now receiving illustrates humanity at its highest and least evolved
Urge Mr. Tunney to prosecute this case to the fullest
extent of the law (not allowing Pre-Trial Intervention); to recommend
maximum jail time, fines and full expenses for the ongoing care of the
animals; and to prohibit Imperatrice from ever
harboring or working with animals. Under no circumstances should any of the
animals be given to Imperatrice's daughter, as is being considered.
Imperatrice should have no input into the placements of the animals.
In addition to injustice for the animals by not
prosecuting this case in a timely manner, those caring for the surviving
animals, without compensation, are under severe financial duress. This also
impairs their ability to help other animals in need. Since District Attorney
Tunney does not feel this abuse warrants his attention, the District
Attorney's Office of Steuben County (and every other New York county) should
appoint a prosecutor to deal solely with animal abuse cases.
Susan Gordon, Representative