Court Finds In Favor Of SPCA
Published: October 29th, 2008
By: Melissa Stagnaro

Court finds in favor of SPCA

OXFORD – A Brooklyn man, from whom the Chenango County Sheriff’s Department seized 77 dogs earlier this month, has been ordered to post a cash bond in the amount of $65,465 for the care of those animals.

In a decision rendered Tuesday by the Town of Oxford Court, Steven W. Fong, 56, of 405 Clinton Ave. in Brooklyn, will have until 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5 to post the bond.

If he fails to do so, he will forfeit ownership of the dogs to the Chenango County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A total of 76 Pomeranians were removed by Sheriff’s Deputies and the SPCA on Oct. 12 from property owned by Fong at 145 Williams Road in Oxford.

The dogs had been kept in a double-wide trailer on the property, under conditions which SPCA Executive Director Carol Hedlund described as “horrific.”

While executing the search warrant, deputies also discovered and removed 13 bags containing the remains of 38 dogs.

The Pomeranians and one pit bull, which was seized when Fong was arrested on Oct. 13, are currently being housed at the SPCA. According to Hedlund, the shelter is the only designated animal impound facility in Chenango County.

Since Fong has refused to sign ownership of the dogs over to the SPCA, Hedlund was prompted to file a civil petition with the court to recoup costs incurred during the first 30 days of care for the animals.

The petition, filed last week, was heard before Oxford Town Justice John Weidman on Tuesday. The judge described the civil proceedings as “triggered by, but not a part of” the criminal charges against Fong.

“Our purpose here today is to address the care and well being of these dogs,” said Weidman.

Since filing the legal documents with the court, the SPCA retained Attorney Michael Ferrarese of Lee, Emerson and Ferrarese of Norwich as counsel.

The hour-long hearing began with Ferrarese, who is representing the SPCA on a pro bono basis, leading Hedlund through a series of questions establishing her position at the animal protection agency and her cost estimates for the care of the dogs.

The SPCA’s $65,465 invoice, which was introduced into evidence by Ferrarese, detailed costs for the initial 30 days of care for the animals. Those charges included $34,635 for boarding of the 77 dogs through Nov. 11; $12,105 in veterinary care, vaccinations and medical treatment; $3,830 for grooming; $6,245 for supplies and chew toys; $2,050 for the handling and disposal of remains; and $6,600 in additional staffing required to care for the animals.

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