Sunday, January 22, 2017

New York: Prosecutors offered to drop Tod Mishler's animal cruelty charges in exchange for surrendering the horses and pleading guilty to non-criminal disorderly conduct. He refused.

NEW YORK -- Tod L. Mishler (aka Doc Mishler) refused again Monday to agree to a plea deal in an animal-cruelty case, while his lawyer vowed to reunite his client with the two horses he rode over the Outerbridge Crossing last year.

"I'm going to get Doc's horses back," attorney Richard Luthmann said outside Criminal Court after a scheduled hearing in the case was adjourned to March 15.

They were dehydrated and had open bleeding sores on the head and face from the embedded halter, the complaint says. One of the horses, court papers allege, had a lame rear leg due to the neglect.
Mishler, through Luthmann, rejected prosecutors' offer to [drop the animal cruelty charges and] plead guilty to a non-criminal violation of disorderly conduct.

The plea would require Mishler, 80, to give up his horses (and be on probation for two years). The animals, named Hope II and Charity, were confiscated in June after Mishler rode them across the Outerbridge Crossing.

The animals, which authorities alleged were dehydrated and had bleeding sores caused by the saddle, are currently in the city's custody. Authorities also allege the animals had not been regularly examined by a veterinarian.

Luthmann, meanwhile took a swipe at prosecutors, saying they have been slow to turn over veterinarian's reports, photos and other documents he's request in the pretrial discovery process.


"The conduct, thus far, of the People, is that haven't been compliant with what we need, and that can become a due-process issue," Luthmann said outside court.

The bearded defendant, who was garbed in a buckskin-style jacket, jeans, boots and red scarf, and holding a white cowboy hat in his hand, made no statement during Monday's brief proceeding.

The Advance is seeking comment from the district attorney's office.

Last fall, several months after his arrest, Mishler, of upstate Ulster Park, filed a $50 million notice of claim against the D.A.'s office, Police Department, Parks Department and the city itself.


The notice, a precursor to filing a formal lawsuit, alleges Mishler's horses were illegally taken from him, and that he was "improperly seized, arrested, and falsely imprisoned by (the) NYPD... in concert with NYC Parks Department Officers..."

Mishler was charged with two counts of torturing and injuring animals.


Any money Mishler might recover as a result of the lawsuit would be put toward drug treatment on Staten Island, according to Mishler and a second attorney he's retained for the civil case.

"It's about human rights versus animal rights," the Advance previously quoted Mishler as saying. "It's ludicrous to think I don't care about my horses, because if you don't take care of your horses you're not going anywhere."

Members of the Humane Society of the United States have said if Mishler is found guilty, he should be prohibited from owning and caring for horses. A Facebook group called Stop Doc Mishler was formed in opposition to the cowboy.

(SILive - Jan 9, 2017)