Judge orders couple to give proper food, water, shelter to farm animals in Millstone NJ

Today Superior Court Judge Patricia Del Bueno Cleary granted an injunction ordering defendants Christopher Vaccaro and Tina Perna of Millstone Township to provide their animals with at least 500 gallons of drinking water a day, and to provide sufficient food and shelter as required by the Department of Agriculture humane welfare regulations and the animal cruelty statutes.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by animal welfare attorney Dante DiPirro on behalf of Stuart Goldman alleging that a veterinarian’s inspection on Sunday had revealed horrible conditions, including no drinking water, insufficient food and inadequate shelter.

Today’s order also granted a right of access to the property to monitor compliance with the court order and the authority to remove animals at risk of imminent death or serious injury.

For months, Plaintiff and Monmouth County SPCA Chief Buddy Amato had documented violations, warned defendants to provide the legally required care, and filed cruelty complaints in Millstone Municipal Court (the Municipal charges are scheduled for trial March 23-24). This week, with evidence that the animals were in desperate need – including no drinking water whatsoever — Plaintiff filed a law suit in Superior Court seeking emergent injunctive relief for the animals.

The parties are scheduled to return to Superior Court April 24th to determine if additional relief should be granted.

Plaintiff Goldman said: “This is a good day for the animals. These animals are not even getting drinking water. Nursing mothers are suffering the most. On Sunday, the vet determined that they were so seriously dehydrated that they were having trouble even providing milk for their babies.”

Dante DiPirro said: “We want to thank Bud Amato of the Monmouth County SPCA for his active support of this case and the request for injunctive relief. His assistance was extremely helpful in securing this emergent order. Animals lives were hanging in the balance.”

Link to NJ.com news article: http://www.nj.com/monmouth/index.ssf/2015/02/judge_orders_couple_to_give_proper_food_water_shel.html#comments

News reports heart-wrenching story of the Millstone freezing farm animals

The news is reporting the heart-wrenching story of the Millstone freezing farm animals. Note that he New Jersey animal cruelty statutes permit plaintiff, a former chief at the Monmouth County SPCA, to bring civil allegations for animal cruelty in the name of the SPCA, which extends the resources available to enforce the animal cruelty laws to promote the public interest.

A former chief at the Monmouth County SPCA filed a lawsuit Wednesday to force a farm owner to provide immediate water, food and shelter to more than 250 animals on a Millstone farm that has a history of animal cruelty violations.

The lawsuit and a motion, filed on behalf of Stuart Goldman, seeks to have farm owner Christopher Vaccaro and his girlfriend Tina Perna provide food and 500 gallons of drinking water and take measures to ensure the water remains unfrozen, according to court documents.

The suit also seeks to force the couple to provide adequate shelter for the animals – including bedding, a roof and a three-sided structure – and permission for Plaintiff, the Monmouth County SPCA and their veterinarians to inspect and examine the animals, and remove any animal that is at "imminent risk of death or serious physical injury."

"Immediate relief from the court is necessary to stop the suffering and death of these poor animals," animal welfare attorney Dante DiPirro said.


Law suit alleges dozens of nursing goats and sheep at risk of perishing on Millstone NJ farm

On February 25, 2015, Dante DiPirro, Esq., an animal welfare lawyer representing plaintiff Stuart Goldman, filed a complaint in Monmouth County Superior Court alleging that dozens of nursing goats and sheep are at risk of perishing on a Millstone Township farm unless the court orders immediate relief addressing a complete lack of drinking water, and inadequate food and shelter.

There are over 250 farm animals on the property — including approximately 60 dehydrated nursing goats and sheep, and too many kids to count — all of whom are suffering in the bitter cold without any drinking water, and without sufficient food or shelter.

The law suit names as defendants Christopher Vaccaro, the owner of the property, and his girl friend, Tina Perna, both of whom live on site and are responsible for caring for the animals.

In a certification of support filed with the court, plaintiff’s veterinarian states that based on her inspection and examination of the animals on Sunday, February 22, 2015, the animal care being provided is extremely poor. There was no potable water for the animals, insufficient food for the number of animals, and the shelters were insufficient, in poor repair, filthy and dangerous for the animals even go into the structures.

She found nursing mothers with babies that were seriously dehydrated. She found that animals were already dying — as shown by an emaciated goat carcass found hidden under a tarp in a shed. She concluded that unless the animals get immediate relief, they will continue to die; she anticipated that 20 to 30% of the total population will be dead in a matter of weeks. Most at risk are the nursing mothers, of which there are many dozen on the property.

In the court papers, plaintiff seeks emergent relief that ordering defendants to immediately provide the drinking water that the animals are being deprived of, and other measures needed to prevent further injury or death as the court case proceeds.

Plaintiff has been trying to get assistance for these animals since last winter when the animals were without proper drinking water, food or shelter. In February 2014, he contacted the Monmouth County SPCA, and they inspected and issued animal cruelty violations.

In January of this year Plaintiff had to act again. On January 8, 2015, contacted the MCSPCA to alert them that with bitter winter storms approaching and the farm animals still without proper drinking water, food or shelter, defendants were committing the same animal cruelty laws that Plaintiff had brought to the attention of the SPCA last winter. Goldman, Chief Amato of the MCSPCA and a farm animal care expert then went to the Property. Chief Amato and the animal expert observed that the shelters had no bedding and were inadequate both in number and condition, and that what little drinking water was provided was frozen solid. Goldman observed that the shelters were inadequate. As a result of the inspection, on Goldman filed animal cruelty charges.

Defendants still did not remediate the violations so Plaintiff contacted the MCSPCA again, and as a result Plaintiff and MCSPCA officers have gone to the property several times in January and earlier this month. Plaintiff’s efforts culminated on Sunday, February 22, 2015, when he, the MCSPCA and Plaintiff’s veterinarian went to the property and documented the violations that are the subject of Plaintiff’s lawsuit in Superior Court and request for emergent relief.

The MCSPCA has now also filed cruelty violations for improper drinking water, food and shelter. Its case will be heard in municipal court at the end of March. Plaintiff’s hearing in Superior Court seeking a temporary injunction that would provide immediate protection for the animals will be heard Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm.

About his Superior Court case, Goldman said: “The Monmouth County SPCA has been extremely supportive. Chief Amato has gone the property multiple times, has escorted my veterinarian on the property so that the animals’ health could be properly evaluated, and has indicated that both he and his investigators will testify in court in support of this case.”

About the hearing Friday, Dante DiPirro, Esq. said: “Immediate relief from the court is necessary to stop the suffering and death of these poor animals.”

Dante DiPirro Esq. of Hopewell NJ is an animal welfare lawyer.

Dante Di Pirro, Esq.
77 Snydertown Road, Hopewell, NJ 08525
609-429-0779 dante@dantelawyer.com

Valentines Day present — goats and sheep get in out of the cold!

Yesterday, Valentines Day, I learned that goats and sheep were being left outside in the snow, ice and freezing weather without any shelter in Millstone Township New Jersey, in violation of department of agriculture regulations and the New Jersey animal cruelty statutes.

Despite the fact that law enforcement had been to the property last winter and documented this and other violations, no shelter had been constructed.

With a forecast of a new snowstorm with 40 mile an hour winds and temperatures dropping down to 10°, I immediately started drafting emergent papers to file in court Monday seeking to have the animals immediately turned over to animal rescue groups for temporary protection and care. Simultaneously, former Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the Monmouth County SPCA Stuart Goldman began calling rescue groups to line them up to take in the animals in the event that we obtain a court order.

I am very pleased to report that as a result of our efforts, last night the Monmouth County SPCA went to the property and the animals were moved inside a greenhouse.

Mr. Goldman and I will be following up in court in subsequent proceedings seeking to permanently remedy the violations.