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Governor Pataki Signs Bill- Closes Loophole in Horse Transport Law!

Albany, NY - On July 23, 2002 Governor Pataki signed into law Act 191 closing a "loophole" in New York's Horse Transport Law that often allowed illegal horse haulers to escape prosecution. It states that every vehicle used to transport more than six horses shall have no more than one tier, further strengthening NY’s landmark law against shipping horses in cruel and inhumane double deck trailers originally passed in 1981. The horses shipped in these cruel trailers are often destined for slaughter in Canada for human consumption overseas. Due to a “loophole” in the law there have been several instances when the haulers were able to escape arrest, have the charges dismissed or entered a plea agreement involving fines substantially lower than the law allowed. With the passage of Act 191 this will no longer be the case.

As a leader in pressing for passage and enforcement of the current horse transport laws both in Pennsylvania and New York, the Equine Protection Network, (EPN), formerly the Equine Placement Network, heartily applauds the Governor’s action. The NYS Horse Council’s support of our proposed changes to this law aided in its passage.

Nearly every Monday for the past twenty years at a horse auction in New Holland, PA at least 2 double deck trailers owned by NY “killer buyers” were loaded with horses destined for slaughter in Canada and transported illegally through New York. The EPN brought the deplorable situation to the attention of the New York State Police (NYSP) in 1997 and urged them to step up enforcement. The dedicated efforts of the EPN and NYSP, led by Superintendent McMahon, resulted in numerous guilty convictions and $8000.00 in fines.

The Essex County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted a landmark case in April 1994, nicknamed the Horse Popsicle Case. David Carper, an agent for Frank Carper and Sons, Cranbury, NJ was convicted after trial on 110 counts and fined $11,100; this fine remains unpaid. The Broome County District Attorney’s Office has also successfully prosecuted several cases. In April 1998 Kevin Nickerson, an agent for Nickerson Livestock, Bainbridge, NY was convicted after trial and paid the maximum fine of $3000. In June 1998, Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY convicted in 2 separate cases paid fines totaling $2500.00. Kiehl was later convicted again in December 2000 and December 2001.

On July 22, 1998, New York Governor Pataki signed into law Senate Bill 6332 raising the fines for violating New York State's Agriculture and Markets law, Section 359-a, the illegal transport of horses, from $100 to $250 for a first violation and from $500 to $1000 for a second conviction; the fines are PER horse, PER violation. Another important change was the requirement that the courts report convictions to the Department of Agriculture and Markets, enabling prosecutors and law enforcement to check for prior convictions. This tracking is important because in the January 1998 Nickerson case, the defendants told Broome County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Echan that this was their first offense and they had no knowledge of the law. However ADA Echan learned from NYSP and Essex County ADA Debra Whitson, that Nickerson Livestock had another case pending.

New York’s new law takes effect 60 days after signing and again puts New York at the forefront of protecting horses. The EPN asks that you send an email thanking Governor Pataki for his support of this legislation.

or write to the Governor at: Governor George E. Pataki, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224


Equine Protection Network
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