Emotional Intelligence Home Page
Daniel Goleman, Tara Bennett-Goleman, Juliana Bennett-Blue, p.2
Page one - Introduction to this case and emails from site visitors
Pate Three - More stories.
Haven or Hell article
May 17, 2004 - Trial delayed
March 16, 2004 - Attorney eyes more charges in Perth case
March 10, 2004 Newspaper Article .Woman's proposal to clean up house falls short: official
Thursday, January 29, 2004 -- PETA weighs in on animal case
http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/1951-- Julianna Bennett arrested for animal abuse
February 2, 2004 -- Bennett-Blue scheduled to appear in court
Animal Asylum - Article by Anne Pyburn
Notes from a legal case against Juliana Bennett-Blue
Letter to the editors - Be tough on animal abusers
Perth woman ordered to stop work
By SCOTT DONNELLY, The Leader-Herald
PERTH - A Perth woman charged with failure to provide food and water to an animal may face further charges for working to clean her condemned Morrow Road residence without the proper permits.
"I'm going to have to get an injunction to stop her from any further work until she applies for the correct permits," said Robert Howland, Perth's code enforcement officer. Howland said it became evident that Juliana Bennett-Blue had begun working on her home, also known as Blue Haven Farm, after a waste bin was placed near one of the entrances to the home. The large, metal trash receptacle is now full of what appears to be furniture.
"She's clearing stuff out of the house," Howland said. "Friday she told me that she had people coming to give an estimate for doing the environmental cleaning."
Bennett-Blue is scheduled to appear before a jury trial beginning May 25. More than 100 animals have been removed from Bennett-Blue's 172 Morrow Road farm since January, when sheriff's deputies responded to a call of dogs attacking a llama in a field there.
The house was deemed unfit for occupation shortly after. A report ordering the condemnation said the building did not have functional plumbing or heating, the electrical system was in need of repair, and the interior of the home was littered with refuse and animal feces "as much as 3-4 inches deep on the floors as well as being tracked onto countertops and furnishings."
Bennett-Blue was given until May 5 to bring the structure back up to code, Howland said. She was ordered to submit a detailed plan for the work to Howland earlier this month.
That plan, which suggested the floors would be "swept clean and some furniture discarded," was not detailed enough for Howland, he said.
"She hasn't supplied anything [else] yet, so I'm going to take this to the next level," he said.
Howland has said bringing the Morrow Road residence up to code would likely involve removal of the floorboards and walls, which have been soaked in urine and now have mold growing on them, respectively. He said anyone working in the home would have to have a respirator and disposable clothing. Also, any refuse from the house would need to be disposed of in a landfill certified to take such waste.
If Bennett-Blue does not comply with the court order to stop work until proper permits are issued, she could face additional charges, Howland said.
"These would be charges in violation of the fire and building code," he said.
Neither Bennett-Blue nor her attorney, Russell Martin, could be reached for comment.
Bennett-Blue loses in court again
By MICHAEL BONENBERGER
Recorder News Staff
PERTH - A Perth woman has lost her appeal of a case that began with a May 1994 raid at her farm.
Juliana Bennett-Blue's Blue Harvest Farm was raided and her animals were seized by the Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The 1994 inspection was conducted by the town supervisor, dog control officer, public health officer, and the SPCA which resulted in 28 charges filed against Bennett-Blue relating to animal neglect.
The inside of the two-story home was deemed unfit for habitation at the time of the raid, with a floor covered in human and animal excrement and household trash. Animal carcasses and starving animals were also reportedly found on the property at that time.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision Thursday that said the SPCA acted appropriately.
In October 1996, Supreme Court Judge Robert P. Best ruled on Bennett-Blue's appeal against the SPCA, deciding that the animal-welfare group had every right to remove the animals from the home.
"It's really a constitutional issue," Bennett-Blue said. "I'll keep fighting."
Many of the 148 animals seized in 1994 were given away for adoption. Bennett-Blue was asking for the return of the animals that remained in SPCA custody.
The Appellate Court found the SPCA has the power to euthanize any animal that was treated poorly or abandoned and also seize animals from Bennett-Blue.
"We're pleased with the decision," said Suzanne Wells, SPCA manager in Amsterdam.
Bennett-Blue hasn't decided on whether to pursue another appeal.
"I'm really not some kind of freak," she added.
Bennett-Blue said the issue is no longer about animals, but more about justice.
"If someone takes property from you," she said, "they have to compensate you for it. It's in the Constitution."
She currently has eight llamas, 12 donkeys, a horse and some mules.
"I love animals," she said. "That's why I save them."
She flipped through pictures of healthy horses and llamas, some she claimed were abused while in the care of the volunteers.
eyes more charges in Perth case --March 16, 2004
By SCOTT DONNELLY, The Leader-Herald
PERTH - A town woman facing one count of failure to provide proper food and water to an animal will likely face additional charges by the end of next week.
"I believe we will be filing some additional charges," said Chad W. Brown, the Fulton County assistant district attorney prosecuting Juliana Bennett-Blue, owner of Blue Haven Farm on Morrow Road. "It may be earlier ... we're reviewing the files now."
The initial misdemeanor count, a violation of the state's Agriculture and Markets law, was filed in January after approximately 100 animals were removed from Bennett-Blue's house and farm at 172 Morrow Road.
Additional counts would also be misdemeanors, for which Bennett-Blue could face a total penalty of no more than one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
"All the charges will run together," Brown said Monday. "She can only be sentenced to one year on this."
Brown said the district attorney's office was waiting for veterinarian reports before filing additional charges.
"This is something we had been looking at before, but we wanted to have the other animals evaluated by vets," Brown said.
Still, it is unlikely Bennett-Blue would face charges for all of the animals seized from her property, no matter what their condition, Brown said.
"From a judicial economy standpoint ... it would require a longer trial process, and it would only get the same end result," Brown said.
Bennett-Blue's case is scheduled for a jury trial beginning May 25 in Perth Town Court. Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira has said she intends to seek jail time for Bennett-Blue because this is not the first time the Morrow Road woman has been charged with animal neglect.
Russell Martin, Bennett-Blue's attorney, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Sharon Hayes, director of Fulton County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said she was recently asked for five additional veterinarian reports by the district attorney's office.
The reports detailed the conditions of a donkey, two horses, a dog and a cat taken from Bennett-Blue's residence in January. The reports were provided by the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, where many of Bennett-Blue's animals were taken after seizure. According to the reports, the donkey was suffering from serious frostbite to the ears, resulting in the loss of two-thirds of the animal's right ear and about an inch from the left ear. The donkey was also emaciated and suffered from minor frostbite to the ankles.
Both horses were suffering from malnutrition, parasites and overgrown and broken hooves, according to veterinarian Barbara Clayton, who filed the reports.
The cat, which had to be euthanized after it failed to recover despite veterinary care, suffered from a serious upper respiratory infection, severe ear mites, severe flea bites, cat scratch fever disease, malnutrition and severe gingivitis, according to the report.
By BILL SHEEHAN
Recorder News Staff
PERTH - The case of a Perth woman accused of mistreating animals at her Morrow Road home has been scheduled for trial in May after a brief hearing Monday night.
Juliana Bennett-Blue, 72, pleaded not guilty last month to a single charge of failing to provide proper food and water to an animal in her care in a case that began with the appearance of Fulton County sheriff's deputies at the woman's Morrow Road home Jan. 9.
Officials were called to Bennett-Blue's home and discovered several dogs eating a llama that was still alive.
More than 100 animals, including cats, peacocks and donkeys, were found wandering the property and Bennett-Blue's home.
The charge related to a sheepdog found in an emaciated condition with a matted coat.
On Jan. 9 Bennett-Blue agreed to surrender the vast majority of her animals to the Fulton County SPCA.
A subsequent inspection of the property by town officials resulted in her farmhouse being posted unsafe for occupation on Jan. 21 due to the condition of the electrical, plumbing and heating systems and "unsanitary conditions of filth and contamination of animal feces."
Attorney Russell P. Martin pressed Perth Town Justice Wayne T. McNeil for a court date, saying his client had a right to a speedy trial.
"It's going to take me at least 60 days to put together a jury," said McNeil, setting May 25 as the date for proceedings to begin.
Outside of the courtroom, Martin said the terms of resolution, the surrender of all animals, compliance with codes and to clean the interior of the house on the property, set by the Fulton County district attorney's office, were unacceptable.
"One of them is to burn her house down. I assume that some people would prefer that she be in it," said Martin, referring to some of Bennett-Blue's neighbors who have lodged previous complaints about the treatment of animals on the property.
Bennett-Blue was not in attendance Monday night.
"She's in poor health,.suffering from high blood pressure," Martin said.
Fulton county D.A. Louise Sira has said that, if convicted, Bennett-Blue could get 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a year of probation.
Woman's proposal to clean up house falls short: official -- Wednesday, March 10, 2004
By SCOTT DONNELLY The Leader-Herald
PERTH - A plan by a Perth woman to clean up a home from which approximately 100 animals were seized in January is inadequate, according to town officials.
Juliana Bennett-Blue, owner of a house and farmland at 172 Morrow Road, had until Friday to submit a plan to bring the building up to code. The property was deemed unfit for occupation Jan. 21.
"She's submitted a couple of paragraphs here," said Bob Howland, Perth town code enforcement officer. "I think she's under the misconception that she's going to be able to clean the floorboards, but I think we're going to find that the penetration [of animal feces and urine] is just too deep for cleaning."
According to the inspection report that preceded the building's closure, the interior floors of the Morrow Road home were covered with animal feces "as much as 3-4 inches deep" in some places.
The building also has no functional heating or plumbing systems, and the electrical infrastructure is in need of repair as well.
Bennett-Blue has until May 5 to bring the building up to code or face further town legal action.
According to Bennett-Blue's plan, obtained by The Leader-Herald, Bennett-Blue would have all rooms in her house "swept clean and some furniture removed and discarded."
She suggests a private cleaning service would also be hired to "clean and sterilize walls and floors to remove cat odor."
Wallboard that now has mold growing on it would be removed and replaced, Bennett-Blue said. Also, an electrician and plumber would be hired and a new furnace would be installed, under the Perth woman's plan.
"There's no sweeping here," Howland said. "It's shoveling, and maybe to the point of a small back hoe."
There was some evidence Friday that Bennett-Blue has begun efforts to rehabilitate her property. Howland said he went to the farm on reports there was a man there making repairs.
"I stopped by to check on it because there were no building permits issued [for work on the property]," he said.
Howland found a carpenter, who said he was hired by Bennett-Blue, adding screen to one of the chicken coops on the property to house peacocks that were found inside the home when animals were seized in January.
Such work does not require a building permit, Howland said. But he told the carpenter that proof of liability insurance would be required before additional work could be done on the property.
"[Bennett-Blue] explained that the gentlemen who was doing the [chicken coop work] would be the one that would help her clean it out," Howland said.
Howland also told the carpenter - who was not identified - that a breathing apparatus and a throw-away protective suit would be required for anyone working inside the home. Also, any refuse from the house would need to be disposed of in a landfill approved for such waste.
Bennett-Blue faces one count of failure to provide proper food and water to an animal under the state Agriculture and Markets Law. The charge is a misdemeanor for which Bennett-Blue could spend up to a year in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira, citing past cases of animal neglect against Bennett-Blue, said last week she plans to seek jail time if Bennett-Blue is convicted.
A jury trial is currently scheduled to begin May 25 in Perth Town Court. Bennett-Blue's attorney, Russell Martin, could not be reached for comment today.
PETA weighs in on animal case Thursday, January 29, 2004
By OMAR AQUIJE, The Leader-Herald
PERTH - The world's largest animal rights organization is urging Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira to prosecute Juliana Bennett-Blue, and, if convicted, prohibit her from owning animals and undergo psychological treatment.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization with more than 800,000 members, stated in a letter to Sira that Bennett-Blue may be an animal "hoarder."
Bennett-Blue is currently charged under state Agriculture and Markets law with failing to provide proper food and water.
Earlier this month, authorities retrieved about 20 animals from Bennett-Blue's Morrow Road property. During the following weeks, more than 100 animals - including horses, donkeys, llamas, goats, dogs and cats - were taken and placed under the custody of the Fulton County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In 1994, 148 animals were taken from her custody for similar reasons.
It is Bennett-Blue's history with animals that has PETA asking for immediate action.
"We want to make sure that the district attorney takes all abuse cases seriously," said Daniel Paden, a cruelty caseworker for PETA.
Paden said PETA's obvious concern is that there may be some dementia or other mental health disorders with Bennett-Blue.
Bennett-Blue denies that there is anything wrong with her.
"I believe many lies were told about me," Bennett-Blue said.
Bennett-Blue, who is pleading innocent, said she visited a psychiatrist in 1994 who said there was nothing wrong with her. She said she gave her animals up to the SPCA because they were too much to handle.
Sira said she was contacted by PETA along with other individuals and organizations regarding the case.
"They [PETA] are bringing to my attention that they are seriously looking at the case, and I welcome that," Sira said. "I don't want this situation to continue to occur."
Sira encourages these organizations to urge the state Legislature to consider animal collecting as a separate crime.
Due to the low-level nature of the crime, Sira said a judge is limited to what he could do. Even if additional charges were filed against Bennett-Blue, it would not increase the sentence since all the animals were neglected at the same time, Sira said.
If Bennett-Blue is convicted, any psychiatric treatment could be ordered as a condition of probation or discharge in the case, Sira said.
However, if Bennett-Blue is suffering from some mental disease, "she may not be criminally culpable for the charge," Sira said.
"We won't know that until it's raised by the defense of herself," Sira said. The court would also need to agree to a psychiatric evaluation.
Bennett-Blue has been staying with a neighbor since her home remains without heat or water. The town placed the house as uninhabitable and has given Bennett-Blue the option of either bringing it up to livable standards or tearing it down.
Trash and animal feces up to 3 feet high were found throughout the house when the town code enforcement officer visited the property earlier this month.
"One tends to wonder why a person would choose to live this way. It's clear that she is not able to maintain the property or animals," Sira said. "There are a lot of unanswered questions that hopefully will be answered in the case."
Bennett-Blue is scheduled for court next week.
Paden said situations like this are common. Nationwide, PETA receives about 30 cases each week.
"They may start out with the best intentions, but they lose sight of the situation," Paden said. "Unfortunately, the animals end up suffering."
scheduled to appear in court
The owner of the Blue Haven farm in Perth is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Julianna Bennett-Blue has been charged with failing to provide food and water to animals at her farm on Morrow Road.
More than 100 animals have been taken from the property and placed in SPCA custody.
Last month, a deputy suffered minor injuries from a cat as authorities searched the farm to collect more animals.
Deputy Scott Everson was bitten by a cat and was treated and released from Nathan Littauer Hospital
Letter to the editors - Be tough on animal abusers
I am writing in regard to the animal cruelty cases that are happening in our area at this time. Shame on these people. I am so upset every day when I read about animal abuse. These people should be made to withstand the same cruelty as these animals. If people cannot feed and care for their animals, then they should not ever be allowed to have any animals again. They should have enough sense to not get any animals again. I can't believe that Julianna Bennett-Blue was able to have animals again after what she did the last time. What is wrong with the prosecutors in these cases? Do they not have any love for animals?
I have three dogs, and would die for them before I would let anything happen to them. They are fed and exercised every day, and bathed and brushed weekly and taken to the vet when needed. They sleep in our bed and are very well cared for. Why can't everyone treat their animals like their best friends and not their worst enemies?
Thank you to all the SPCA volunteers for all the love and caring that they have shown these abused animals. To whomever is prosecuting these people, please do not let them care for another living being ever again.
Notes from a legal case against Juliana Bennett-Blue
Plaintiff and the Sheriff's Department raided defendant's farm, located in the Town of Perth, Fulton County, and found 148 live animals and numerous decomposing animal bodies; many of the animals found alive were severely malnourished and approximately 34 animals had to be immediately destroyed. The Sheriff's Department seized the remaining animals and placed them in plaintiff's custody and defendant was charged, in violation of Agriculture and Markets Law §§ 353 and 356, with several misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Thereafter, in accordance with a plea agreement, defendant entered an Alford plea to a violation of Agriculture and Markets Law § 369, interference with officers, and was sentenced to a period of probation. The terms of probation included, inter alia, monthly monitoring of defendant by licensed veterinarians for one year and, further, that the animals seized, except those adopted out to other families, would be returned to her. The plea and sentence agreement was reduced to writing and executed by defendant, her attorney, an Assistant District Attorney and the Town Justice; significantly, a representative of plaintiff's organization did not sign the agreement. Subsequently, plaintiff commenced this action pursuant to Agriculture and Markets Law § 373 seeking, inter alia, permanent custody of the seized animals (id., at 705-706).
Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Juliana Bennett-blue (255 AD2d 705),
delayed in Perth woman's animal neglect case - May 15,
By JARAD I. WILK The Leader-Herald
PERTH - The trial for a town woman who was charged after authorities removed dozens of sickly animals from her home has been delayed because she's changed lawyers, the Fulton County district attorney said.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira said a judge ruled Thursday to postpone the May 25 trial for Juliana Bennett-Blue to allow her new attorney, Bjorn Holubar, time to review the case.
She said Bennett-Blue fired Gloversville attorney Russ Martin in favor of Holubar of Manhattan.
The trial, which was supposed to begin May 25, will now start in July, Sira said. She said an exact date has not been set.
Bennett-Blue was charged with failing to provide food and water to an animal relating to an emaciated dog found on her Morrow Road farm in January. She faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines if convicted.
Six horses, 18 donkeys, six ponies, eight llamas, seven miniature horses and a mule were taken from her farm in January.
In all, more than 100 animals were removed from the property, including dogs, cats, goats, sheep, geese and peacocks.
Holubar has represented Bennett-Blue in a code-violation case. Bennett-Blue was charged with a code violation after officials said she failed to file the necessary paperwork to clean her Morrow Road property. An agreement was reached in which the charge would be dismissed for six months.
Holubar also is the attorney for Oppenheim couple Dr. James and Henriette Fagan, who were arrested in November after more than 200 animals were seized from their home. Mrs. Fagan pleaded guilty and is expected to receive a sentence of three years of probation.
Sira said because Holubar has not been representing Bennett-Blue in the criminal case, the judge decided to allow "more time to familiarize himself."
"I obviously objected," Sira said. "These are the typical delay tactics we've seen in these cases. Lengthy adjournments are not in the best interest of justice. I am extremely displeased with the judge's ruling. I have to live with it, but I don't have to like it."
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Director Sharon Hayes said the news of the adjournment was not surprising. She said she expected Holubar to take over the criminal case at some point.
"I was [given a] subpoena about a week ago to be a witness at 9 a.m. on May 25," Hayes said. "I guess I can throw that one out.
"I expected a delay," she said. "But I didn't expect it to be delayed almost two months. Adjourning it is not going to change the truth."