NYC

Robert Everle: "Zoo From Hell' Owner Gets Probation

09/12/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

WEST HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — A New Yorker convicted of animal cruelty has received three years of probation for running what a prosecutor called a "zoo from hell."

Robert Everle (EH'-vur-lee) of West Haverstraw (HAV'-ur-straw) will do 450 hours of community service with an animal welfare group. A judge also has ordered him to pay a $13,000 fine and a $17,000 veterinarian's bill.

Everle was convicted in May of torturing, injuring and starving farm animals. He could have faced up to two years in jail.

Everle kept more than 100 animals, including rabbits, puppies, kittens, sheep, rams, pigeons and ducks.

Defense attorney Richard Novick said Everle meant no harm and was never told what needed to be corrected at his property about 30 miles north of New York City.

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WEST HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. -- A farm-animal breeder who ran what a prosecutor called "the zoo from hell" was convicted Tuesday of animal cruelty.

A jury in West Haverstraw deliberated less than two hours before convicting Robert Everle of all 13 charges of torturing, injuring and starving animals.

State police raided Everle's property, 30 miles north of New York City, in July, and witnesses testified that they found several animals dead, many malnourished and dozens living in unsanitary conditions. The animals included ducks, chickens, guinea hens, rabbits, sheep, dogs and cats.

At the time of the raid, Rockland County prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri described the property as "kind of like a petting zoo gone out of control" and "the zoo from hell."

"To be blunt about it, when the wind shifted, it was one of the worst things that I had ever smelled," he said at the time.

During the trial, jurors saw photos of animals sitting in their feces in cages, crates and boxes. They also saw pictures of a ram that allegedly couldn't walk because of overgrown hooves and couldn't turn its head because it had never been sheared.

Veterinarians and animal welfare officers described the conditions as horrendous. One described a mixture of animal food with animal droppings.

Everle, 59, testified that he had been raising farm animals since 1961 and took good care of his 300 animals, building their cages and feeding them vitamins. A Cornell University professor testified he saw no cruelty in photos of some of the animals. He conceded he never saw the animals live.

Sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 11. Everle could lose his animals and be sent to jail for up to two years.

At the time of the raid, the 20 worst-off animals were taken away, treated and the survivors eventually relocated, Dellicarri said. About 300 others remain at Everle's place, but under a court order that requires improved conditions.

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