Sunday, January 22, 2017

New York: Jury finds Duane Carpenter guilty on six counts of animal cruelty to horses. Carpenter says the verdict will be thrown out.

NEW YORK --  A Saratoga County man was found guilty on six counts of Animal Neglect.

Duane Carpenter was charged with 12 counts of Animal Neglect. He’s accused of failing to provide proper care to 12 horses on his property in the town of Greenfield.

At first, the jury could not come to a decision, but they found him guilty on six counts after they went back and deliberated some more.

Duane Carpenter

“This day in age, there shouldn’t be this kind of suffering,” neighbor Lisa Giordano said. “We know very well how horses need to be taken care of, and if we don’t speak out, who will?”


Giordano was brought to tears. She said she lost hope that justice would be served for the alleged neglect of the horses on Carpenter’s property.

Carpenter was previously convicted of two other animal cruelty charges. The former owner of the horses, his sister Ann Arnold, was convicted of abusing more than 12 horses. She was arrested in June involving the care of a horse in Fultonville.

The horses were removed from the Greenfield property in 2015.

On Tuesday, the jury found Carpenter guilty of six out of the 12 counts against him for failure to provide proper care. His attorney said it was a compromised jury, but the judge denied the motion.

“Well, sure, it’s an obvious win,” Carpenter said. “It’s the same exact evidence for all 12 counts. Obviously, I can’t be guilty of six and not six, so this verdict is going to be thrown out. There’s no question about it.”


Carpenter sent the following statement in an e-mail to NEWS10 ABC:

Over the last year and a half I have been fighting some rather absurd animal abuse charges.

I have a herd of thirteen horses, mostly older, and two of them have trouble keeping weight on, much as some older people do.

On December 21, 2013, a State Trooper, a veterinarian, and a member of the SPCA served a search warrant on my farm and looked at all my horses. Three charges were filed: one for not treating an eye wound (which my veterinarian had records of having healed years ago) and two for “malnourished” horses.

Mind you, in the five states that set actual standards for such things, my horses meet the state standards and would not have been investigated further (California, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina).

During the trial, there were a number of items that were undisputed. Both my veterinarian and the prosecutor’s veterinarian agreed that a way to treat the condition of the horses would be to separate them from the herd (to eliminate competition for food) and to provide extra nutrition and calories through grain and supplements. The prosecutor’s veterinarian conceded that grain was present for feeding the horses. Both veterinarians agreed that the horses did improve under the diet that I was feeding them. I and another witness both testified that the horses were separated for the purpose of giving them extra nutrition and calories, and that this strategy worked.

There were some odd things about the prosecutor’s vet. He thought the thin horses were six and seven years old, when their actual ages were 26 and 27. This is a little bit like not being able to tell the difference between a teenage girl and her grandmother. This vet practiced for a year in Tennessee, but admitted he was not even aware that Tennessee has minimum standards for the care of horses. This vet thought that six of my mares were pregnant, in spite of the fact that there was no stallion in the herd and he was told that none was brought in, nor were they artificially inseminated. And, of course, he mistook an ancient and healed eye wound for a new one that should be treated.

Today, I find that I am convicted of animal abuse for having two thin horses. Not so thin that any of the states that have standards would prosecute, but apparently too thin for New York. It’s a little like you are taking care of your grandmother and you are arrested and prosecuted because she can’t keep weight on.

I have not yet seen the written decision, so have no idea what was going on in the judge’s head.

As if this were not enough, in the middle of February I had Saratoga County Sheriff deputies come to my farm on February 12, 13, 15, 16, and 17. Theoretically, they were doing a welfare check on the horses to make sure they had adequate food and water. I was present for all but the visit on the thirteenth, which I spent in Baldwinsville because my nine year old niece invited me to take her to a Valentine’s father-daughter ball. On the thirteenth, in the dark, the deputy sheriff was not able to find water. I was subsequently arrested for failure to provide water to my horses on that day.

There was a hearing to determine whether my horses should be taken from me while the case is being prosecuted. At that hearing, I provided video evidence that there was a stream with open flowing water that was available to the horses and that there was also an alternate source of water the horses were using. That same video showed that of the hundred yards or so that the stream flows in the pasture, the deputy had only approached it in two locations. The three deputies who came on February 15, 16, and 17 all testified that they had watched horses drinking water while they were on my farm. I had set up a trail cam in the pasture, so that it would take ten second video clips. I have hundreds of video clips showing the horses drinking water, about half of these were on days the prosecution claims that the horses went without water. I played dozens of these videos in court. Somehow, I lost that hearing. The court issued an order to seize my horses.

My lawyer has filed an appeal, but things look pretty bleak right now. I am ordered to post $13,000 for their care for three months. I don’t have that. The horses could be forfeited without posting that money, even though it is likely I’ll never be convicted of this.

Duane Carpenter

(News10 - Jan 17, 2017)


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