People v. Mahoney

9 Misc. 3d 101, 804 N.Y.S.2d 535 (2005)

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People v. Mahoney

New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
9 Misc. 3d 101, 804 N.Y.S.2d 535 (2005)

Facts

The owner of a leased property entered the premises for a showing to a prospective renter. The owner’s current tenant, Mahoney (defendant), resided at the property with multiple dogs. Upon entry, the owner found the floor to be covered in dog feces and noticed a small dog walking around freely. The owner contacted the local authorities regarding the dog’s living conditions and was redirected to the local Humane Society (the People) (plaintiff). The owner returned to the premises several days later with a representative of the Humane Society. There, they found that the small dog had no food or water. When they ventured into the basement, they found a second large dog in a room filled with feces. The dog was lying in a pool of its own blood and was too weak to move. The blood was coming from several bleeding ulcerated sores on the dog’s stomach. The Humane Society representatives removed the dog, and it died later that night under veterinary care. Mahoney was charged with one count of “overdriving, torturing, and injuring of animals; failure to provide proper sustenance” under the New York statute prohibiting animal cruelty. The trial court, in reading its charge to the jury, stated that the term sustenance was distinguishable from the terms food or drink, and that the statutory meaning was the provision of veterinary care and shelter adequate to maintain an animal’s health and comfort. The jury convicted Mahoney. On appeal, Mahoney argued that the trial court erred in providing a definition of sustenance that was contrary to the word’s ordinary meaning.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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