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September 21, 2016 - 3:25pm

Lily's fate hangs in the balance as City Court judge set to hear appeal tomorrow

posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, crime, batavia, news.

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Lily, who likes to chase bubbles, has her life on the line.

In May, Judge Durin Rogers declared Lily a vicious dog and ordered her destroyed within 30 days.

Lily has had a stay of execution, so to speak, as volunteers and others have taken up Lily's cause, and the cause of her previous owner, Duty Caswell, to try and save her life.

Caswell has already surrendered ownership of Lily, and the Kramer Foundation, which specializes in rehabilitating dogs deemed vicious, has written to Rogers and confirmed an interest in obtaining Lily.

Lily's fate may rest on a hearing in City Court tomorrow (Thursday) on an appeal of Caswell's conviction of harboring a vicious dog.

The appeal was written by Public Defender Jerry Ader who stepped in after Caswell's conviction.

Ader's appeal rests on two primary points:

  • Caswell was not represented by counsel. He was not granted assigned counsel and did not hire his own attorney.
  • Caswell was convicted under Batavia's Municipal Law. A case in 2010 overturned a similar conviction because that local law, in Nassau County, was deemed void by conflicting with state law. Under state law, Lily would not be considered a candidate for euthanasia. 

Lily was taken into Animal Control custody on March 7 after she bit a 13-year-old boy on Hutchins Place while keeping a frightened woman pinned down as she screamed and Lily circled her.

At Caswell's hearing, the prosecution called three witnesses and Caswell produced no witnesses or testimony on his behalf. Rogers issued his decision after a short recess.

At some point, K-9 Deputy Chris Erion was called in to evaluate Lily. Lily bit him.

Erion confirmed he was bitten (his duty pants have a small tear, but he wasn't hurt) and said that Lily, with her current behavior, wouldn't be a good candidate as a family dog or a police dog. 

Volunteers with Volunteers for Animals believe that with proper training and socialization, she is redeemable. She is high energy and can't be trusted unsupervised, but they said she's fine when given a job to do, such as chase bubbles.

"Having a young, high-strung dog is difficult for anybody," said one volunteer. "Give her something to do and she's fine."

Another person at the shelter said, "With proper exercise and mental stimulation she is fine."

Erion, among others, said it was later learned that Lily may have given birth to a puppy prior to the March 7 incident, and her puppy was taken away from her. That would typically cause behavioral issues, both folks at the shelter and Erion said.

The hearing is tomorrow at 1:15 p.m.

File photo from March 7. The gentleman with Lily is a friend of Caswell's.

Dot Carrigan
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My issue with this, is that I wish animals were given as many rights as people. We rehabilitate people (?) and most return to prior life habits, but animals have proven that with the proper training and socialization they turn around 100%. I know it does not happen in every circumstance, but it happens more with animals than people!

Ed Hartgrove
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"... animals have proven that with the proper training and socialization they turn around 100%."

"... I know it does not happen in every circumstance, but ..."

I'm trying to figure out how both those statements can be true, Dot.

Dot Carrigan
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Ed, if an animal receives the proper training and socialization they can be turned around, if not they do not. People on the other hand, rehab or not it is a coin toss!

Ed Hartgrove
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Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

Uh-h-h-h... Okay, Dot!

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