Farmer Wins against “Animal Abuse” charges

Earlier in 2015………………(see video link below)  We believe that a lot of the 75k (for legal) was raised by donations. In the end, the owner prevailed in court, but it appears that he paid for storage of the animals while seized; and it also appears there may not be a provision for reimbursement of those fees.

JON KATZ, on his bedlam farm blog does a good job of exposing the ARs errant ways and propaganda………in fact, it’s one of the few blogs we have ever seen which seems to understand what ARs actually do…..

“It was a victory for farmers and animal lovers, a growing number of whom face accusations from informers and people who know little about animals.In a sense the environment surrounding the alleged abuse of animals has become Kafkaesque.

–  “Police need better training if they are to be drawn into the deepening conflicts between the animal rights movement and many farmers and animal owners. They need to find veterinarians who are independent scientists, not politicized activists. They need to learn much more about farms and how they really work. Prosecutors need to be more skeptical about accusations against farmers like Joshua Rockwood and not simply accept the perceptions and opinions of people with agendas. And we all need to reconnect with farmers, animals and the natural world.”

– “Farmers are learning to use social media, they used Facebook as a powerful tool to rally support for Joshua, so did friends and family members and neighbors and the people who bought this meat and food. In the future, people in a similar situation have a model to use for calling for help, and getting it.”

(below is video link)

A rally in support of a well know farm owner, who appeared in Glenville Town Court Tuesday to answer to charges of animal abuse. Time Warner Cable News reporter Katie Eastman has the story.

GLENVILLE, N.Y. — Cheers outside of Glenville town court for a man charged with animal cruelty…

“What do you have to say about the people who showed up in support of you.”

Silence from Joshua Rockwood as he walked out of court. His attorney spoke on his behalf saying the farmer denies the 13 animal cruelty misdemeanors brought against him by Glenville police.

“The animals in our position are well taken care of.”

Police say as the owner of West Wind Acres, Rockwood didn’t provide proper food, shelter or water for his more than 100 horses, cattle, pigs and dogs. They say the pigs ears were freezing off, the water was frozen and the hay moldy.

“We live in the northeast it was a tough winter here and animals are outside and unfortunately sometimes there may be issues. It does not mean that they’re not cared for and you know there’s been two independent vets at that farm who certified that all the animals there are in proper health,” said Rockwood’s attorney Andrew Safranko.

Many of those who came to show support for Rockwood are farmers themselves like Mile Nally with the Schenectady farm bureau.

“You go to a farm and you’re going to see a sick animal occasionally unless they’re heavily medicated which they’re not so he’s doing what we want farmers to do nowadays,” said Schenectady Farm Bureau Mike Nally.

A Go Fund Me page set up to help with legal expenses for Rockwood has already raised more than $27,000. On Rockwood’s Facebook page, he said his animals were and are well cared for, but the police say not in accordance with the law.

PD note: Others have stated that the farmer was having the animals free range so that this was used against him.  For farmers, we expect that there may be variations as to how animals are housed in bad weather. Even ARs claim (in their ads) that if it’s too cold outside “for YOU” then it’s too cold for your animals. Well, what is too cold for some may not be so for others. 40degrees v 5 degrees? Is there 5ft of snow, sleet, hail? What?

In any event, allegedly the vet had already testified that the animals were in good condition. So even with that, AC sometimes does seize animals anyway. Remember, esp. in CA, what is at issue will be WHATEVER AC CLAIMS ‘IS’ (such as x was dirty, y was freezing, z had long nails)– will be held as true. In other words, despite evidence you might have, AC makes statements which are generally held to be true; you are forced to prove that they are wrong. That is administrative, not court process. When you actually go to court, then the defendant of course, can not be forced to testify. In some cases, it is wise to have the client testify. In others, it is not recommended.