Yonkers SPCA disolved by NY attorney general
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:
YONKERS, N.Y.–New York state attorney general Andrew Cuomo
on March 9, 2010 won a court order disbanding the Yonkers SPCA.
“The court ordered all Yonkers SPCA members to surrender
their weapons, badges, and identification cards, and to forward
any assets to a legitimate organization that prevents animal abuse,”
reported New York Daily News staff writer Helen Kennedy.
Founded in 1912, the Yonkers SPCA in 1955 transferred
operations and assets to the Westchester SPCA and disbanded. In
2007, however, former Greenburgh police officer Sean Collins, 43,
revived the organization–on paper and at a web site.
“Under New York law,” explained Associated Press writer
David B. Caruso, “animal protection societies are given the power to
appoint peace officers,” who if registered with the state Department
of Criminal Justice Services, “may carry concealed weapons without
going through the normal licensing process, use deadly physical
force when making an arrest, seize weapons, and conduct searches.”
The Yonkers SPCA appointed 16 peace officers, none of whom
are known to have conducted any activities on behalf of animals.
Among them,” noted Kennedy of the Daily News, was another former
Greenburgh police officer, Erik Ward, who was fired for misconduct
in February 2007, after dominatrix Gina Pane testifed several months
earlier that he offered to help her with a marijuana conviction if
she would defecate on him.
John Mahoney, former president and attorney for the revived
Yonkers SPCA, claimed that the intent of reviving it was to
infiltrate dogfighting gangs. That was not done, but in 2008 some
of the members reprimanded another, Robert Castro, for allegedly
recklessly brandishing his firearm while intoxicated.
“Castro and his friends were kicked out of the group,
tensions rose and members started bringing guns to board meetings,”
Kennedy of the Daily News summarized. After then-president Joe Rosco
resigned, along with several board members, Castro became chief of
the short-lived Yonkers SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Unit.
Cuomo filed to disband the Yonkers SPCA on July 1, 2009,
after Rosco complained to the New York attorney general’s office that
the organization appeared to exist just to provide members with a
pretext for carrying weapons.
The New York Post revealed in 1993 that nine American SPCA
board members including then-president Roger Caras had improperly
designated themselves humane officers, under the same law that the
Yonkers SPCA used, in order to pack pistols without permits–despite
a warning from independent counsel Madeleine Bernstein that this
could jeopardize the ASPCA’s law enforcement privileges. The board
members subsequently surrendered humane officer status. Bernstein
has since 1994 headed the Los Angeles SPCA.
Similar scandals exposed in California and Pennsylvania
during the mid-1990s led to reinforced state standards for
designating humane officers.