Target: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals President and CEO Matthew Bershadker
Goal: Permanently remove dogs from property and ownership of neglectful owner.
While a blizzard roared through the east cost, animal shelters received numerous reports of dogs freezing in the cold. One such report came from Brooklyn resident Evelyn Tully Costa, who used social media to draw attention to the deplorable state her neighbor, June Wiggins, allegedly kept her dogs in. But after several police visits, fines, and warnings, Wiggins seems unlikely to improve the living conditions of her pets.
Over the weekend, police responded to a call from a neighbor and then returned on Sunday to see if the dogs’ conditions had improved. This time the police issued a C Summons to Wiggins. This could result in 15 days of jail time if there is another infraction. The police also threatened to take the dogs, if she did not bring them inside. Wiggins let the dogs in for a time, but then reportedly threw them out into the cold again after the police had gone.
The ASPCA reportedly released a statement claiming that though the conditions were not ideal, they still did not meet animal cruelty definitions, and therefore the pets could not be removed. However, New York animal cruelty laws stipulate that dog owners should provide “shelter appropriate to [their dogs’] breed, physical condition and the climate.” It also stipulates that dogs left outside should have housing with “a waterproof roof… [and] be structurally sound with insulation.”
Pictures and reports from neighbors and the media repeatedly show that the dogs’ conditions do not meet these requirements. This is made worse by the fact that the dogs are old. Egypt and Prince are 15 and 14 years old, respectively. In addition to this, reports say the dogs suffer from arthritis, and that Prince is blind. Sign this petition to compel the ASPCA to re-examine the animal cruelty laws of New York and seize Prince and Egypt.
Dear President and CEO Bershadker,
Thanks to the efforts of Evelyn Tully Costa, the plight of two snowed-in dogs made headlines in New York. It also encouraged local law enforcement to make the case a priority. This led to multiple visits to the dog owners’ home to see if the dogs’ conditions had improved. June Wiggins, the owner in question, reportedly kept the dogs in the house for a short time but then cast them back into the cold the following Sunday night. She has now received a C Summons and the police have threatened to take the dogs if she does not keep them inside.
According to the NY Daily News, a spokesperson for your organization insisted that Prince and Egypt’s sufferings “do not meet the definition of animal cruelty as defined by the law, making seizure by the police impossible.” However, on examining 353-b of the New York animal cruelty laws, I find provisions which state that all dog owners should provide “shelter appropriate to [their dogs’] breed, physical condition and the climate.” It also stipulates that dogs left outside should have housing with “a waterproof roof… [and] be structurally sound with insulation.”
Pictures, videos, and reports from neighbors and the media indicate Prince and Egypt’s living conditions do not meet these requirements. Old, blind, limping and short-haired, these dogs do not have the provisions suitable for their age, breed, physical health or the weather conditions in New York.
We urge you to take a second look at the laws of the state, and to seize Prince and Egypt before they suffer further harm. Wiggins claims to keep the poor dogs for her protection, but based on the age and physical illnesses the dogs face, they can no longer fulfill this duty to her, anyway. Please act to help prevent further cruelty to Prince and Egypt.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: CC0 Public Domain