Court ruling puts seized Pomeranians in SPCA's hands

NORWICH – New York State Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dowd lifted the temporary stay on a ruling in the Town of Oxford Court which ordered the forfeiture of 77 dogs previously owned by Steven W. Fong to the Chenango County SPCA if a $65,465 cash security was not posted by Nov. 5.

Without the stay and in the absence of payment, ownership of the 76 Pomeranians and one pit bull seized by Sheriff’s deputies from Fong in October will now transfer to the SPCA.

Dowd’s decision stated that “after review of the submissions and consideration of the oral arguments, the court finds that it does not have jurisdiction in the instant case. ...The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on November 5, 2008 is vacated immediately and the case is dismissed.”

Dowd handed down his ruling Friday after hearing oral arguments from both attorney Scott Clippinger, representing Steven Fong, and attorney Michael Ferrarese of Lee, Emerson and Ferrarese, who is representing the SPCA on a pro bono basis in the civil proceedings.

Clippinger filed the motion to show cause and requested the restraining order in the higher court on Nov. 5. He began his arguments by describing his client’s attachment to the dogs, which he had moved from his primary home in Brooklyn to a double -wide trailer in the Town of Oxford. He described Fong’s relationship with the dogs like “family.”

He criticized the accusation that the dogs were not being properly cared for and alleged the health of the animals was “ideal.” He expressed his frustration with the civil hearing in Oxford and claimed he was kept from cross-examining the SPCA’s director Carol Hedlund during the proceedings.

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