In October 2015, state police helped remove 173 animals from a property on Route 416, rented by Emiliano Zapata, of the City of Newburgh.
Another 20 animals were dead and rotting in the fields while body parts of dead, burned animals were found, according to testimony from Hudson Valley SPCA Investigator Eugene Hecht during the first part of the hearing on March 1. Hecht was called to testify by the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Town Justice Edward Souto will determine if certain evidence will be suppressed for Zapata's trial on multiple counts of neglect and unlawful disposal of animals, misdemeanors under the state's Agriculture and Markets Law.
Hecht contacted Golden on Oct. 2, 2015, but he did not recall responding to Hecht, Golden testified.
The SPCA's legal counsel said a bordering town's judge can also authorize a warrant, according to Hecht. When both Souto and Golden were unavailable that day, the warrant was signed by the Town of Montgomery Justice Raynard Ozman, Hecht said.
Ingrassia also argued there were unlawful entries onto Zapata's property and "unlawful government conduct" before the warrant was executed.
Souto will give his decision on June 28 at Hamptonburgh Town Court.
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- New York: The Chief of Hudson Valley SPCA Law Enforcement Division Gene Hecht said it's one of the worst cases of animal abuse he's ever seen. So why is the DA's Office trying to let Emiliano Zapata off the hook with a guilty plea of just 1 count of cruelty and a 30-day probation sentence when he's accused of abusing and neglecting nearly 200 animals???
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