New Holland Sales Stable was convicted of animal cruelty today for an incident of horrific neglect that occurred at the auction on February 16, 2015. Judge Rodney Hartman and the District Court of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania found New Holland guilty of the two animal cruelty charges brought before the court by D.A. Christy Wilson for which the Judge imposed a fine of $750 for each count of animal cruelty for a total $1500 in fines.
The case hinged on an investigation conducted by Animals' Angels that included video footage clearly showing a sheep with strong signs of hypothermia, flat on its side and barely alive, along with a goat that had something terribly wrong with its legs and was unable to get up. Both were thrown away like trash and left to die on a "dead pile", in the middle of other, already dead animals. Although auction personnel are supposed to monitor the premises for injured or sick animals, these appeared to have been deliberately discarded in their condition and were subsequently ignored.
According to Animals' Angels, auction workers were moving animals next to the "dead pile" throughout the morning of the incident and in fact, a truck backed up to the same loading ramp and animals were moved right across the area, but not one of these auction employees attended to the suffering animals nor did they alert the auction vet or auction management.
During the course of the trial Susan Martin, the humane officer for Lancaster County SPCA, testified that David Kolb, the General Manager of New Holland Sales Stable admitted to her during questioning that no protocols were in place for monitoring the premises for injured animals and that the sheep and the goat had been brought in already the night before on one of three potential trucks.
While the Judge explained his decision, he expressed his grave disappointment in the fact that the auction still lacked any sufficient supervision of its employees or effective emergency protocols.
New Holland is one of the largest auctions on the East Coast and thousands of animals go through this sale every week and they are no strangers to controversy. This is not the first time New Holland has been found guilty based on evidence that Animals' Angels has provided. In 2007, the auction was convicted of animal cruelty based on an almost identical case wherein three sheep were left dying for hours without intervention or assistance by auction personnel. Since that conviction, Animals' Angels has been urging auction management to improve conditions and establish humane protocols, but the auction continues to turn a blind eye to the behavior of its employees and has yet to implement appropriate monitoring or euthanization procedures.
While the convictions may be few at auctions such as New Holland, the incidents of mistreatment are anything but. "We have been monitoring New Holland and similar auctions regularly for years," stated Sonja Meadows, president of Animals' Angels, Inc. "To obtain cruelty charges at any auction is much more difficult than one would think, even when the neglect and abuse seem very clear. The cruelty laws are often different for livestock than they are for companion animals. Cases like the one we won today can only help change that. These animals deserve better."
Added Meadows "Not only do we hope that New Holland will finally learn that they cannot get away with treating animals so inhumanely, but we are confident that this latest victory in the fight against animal cruelty will be a beacon to other auctions who are committing the same crimes. The message is loud and clear: animal cruelty of any kind will not be tolerated."
Sonja Meadows also had this to say: "I'm thrilled that justice for these animals was secured today. I just hope this conviction will be the long overdue wake-up call for auction management and we finally see the much needed improvements for the animals at this auction. It is also our hope that law enforcement agencies will now make a more regular practice of visiting this auction to ensure that they are adhering to all regulations. Rest assured, whether that happens or not, Animals' Angels will be there, continuing to monitor this auction personally."
To read AA's full report from the investigation conducted on 2/16/15, please go here.
To see the video footage from AA's investigation, please go here.
About Animals' Angels, Inc:
Animals' Angels Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Maryland with full-time investigators working in the United States.
Our focus is on fighting animal cruelty and improving conditions for farm animals through investigations, public awareness campaigns and education.