Nyoka M. Brown, 54, was charged with one count of misdemeanor torturing or injuring animals/failing to provide substance after she was accused of using garland to tie up her cocker spaniel’s hind legs in mid-May and leaving it in a ditch along a stretch of Route 11C in Stockholm.
“After examination at the humane society, it was determined the dog was not cared for properly for some time,” according to court documents. The dog, who St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Dewey M. Golkin said was between 15 and 20 years old and that Ms. Brown called “Muffy,” was euthanized on June 11.
“He was found blind and deaf … he could have been there days, weeks, or months without food or water,” Mr. Golkin told the jurors during his opening statements at about 1:15 p.m. “Muffy needed unconditional love,” but instead of spending his remaining days loved Mr. Golkin raised his voice and said he was bound and thrown in the ditch like a piece of trash.”
But a jury of three men and three women rendered a not guilty verdict about 7:24 p.m. after 25 minutes of deliberation, Ms. Brown’s attorney, Peter A. Dumas, of Dumas & Narrow P.C., Canton, said.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Mr. Dumas said. “Dewey did an admirable job prosecuting, but the evidence was not there, because she didn’t commit this heinous crime she was accused of.”
Mr. Dumas said Ms. Brown was relieved to have this put behind her.
“She has been very upset because this dog was a part of her family for 15 years,” Mr. Dumas said. And so many people adjudicated her guilty without even hearing the evidence. There was such a public outcry.”
The case raised the ire of community members, including members of the Potsdam Humane Society and Brasher couple Christopher J. Smith and his wife, Cindy M. Edwards. Ms. Edwards found the dog, who they named Joe, in the ditch on May 18. Ms. Edwards posted about Joe on Facebook after he was found and taken to the animal shelter. A “Justice for Joe” page caught the attention of friends and others, who began to mobilize in the effort to curb animal abuse.
But before she was called to testify Friday morning, Ms. Edwards said she wasn’t accusing Ms. Brown of throwing the dog in the ditch, but that it was clear from the poor condition he was in, there was a long period of neglect that shouldn’t go ignored.
And although there was a not guilty verdict, Mr. Smith said the trial and the awareness raised was important because too often these types of cases go overlooked.
“It’s still a victory for the campaign because we got the DA’s office prosecuting this kind of case to the full extent of the law and it is being taken seriously and the awareness is increased enormously,” Mr. Smith said following the verdict. “Hopefully this will result in people calling these types of crimes in and will result in a reduction in their numbers.”
(Watertown Daily Times - April 29, 2017)