"If every human makes a positive difference in the life of another human, or another animal, the world will be a much happier place. Don't contemplate, wonder, procrastinate or ponder. The greatness of you needs only to be acted upon. Just do it!
--Theresa J. Barbour, Founder, Animals Need No Abuse (A.N.N.A.) Org.
beautiful horse was destroyed for lack of food: A Travesty
Candor, NY, Animal Cruelty Case
|Many visitors to
veganica.org have been following the story of Anna, a
local horse who was starved to death. Her story is
given below, following a report about the trial given
to me by Anna's owner, Theresa Barbour. Thank you for
your interest in this story and for your interest in
making a better world for animals.
On February 11th, 2005 Pete Cicci was found guilty of
the starvation and death of Anna. Testimony for the
prosecution was given by Theresa Barbour, Alan
Schelter (photographer of some of the photos taken the
day she was reposed), Ellen Schelter (minor child who
had owned the horse), Veteranarian Robin Rogers and
Cornell pathologist Dr. Summers, Sheriff's Deputy
Robert Blasch, and Crystal Chafee (horse hauler who
helped remove Anna from her horrible conditions at the
Cicci's). A deposition from a third veteranarian who
had examined Anna the day she was reposed was
presented by Cornell's Dr. Michael Ghast. Testimony
for the defense was given by Cicci himself, his wife
Billie Jo, his daughter Jaimie, and a friend of
theirs, Leroy, who claimed to watch them feed their
animals all the time and helps them frequently.
The trial was a jury trial. It took a total of 12
hours. I was grateful to those who had to take time
off work to be there, unpaid, to testify for Anna. My
daughter was there with her fiancee, three days before
their wedding. They did have to slip out to run to a
neighboring town to get their marriage license, as the
Candor town hall was closed except for the trial going
on for our case. Her soon-to-be spouse had come in
from Ft. Rucker late the night before on a short leave
to get married. Assistant D.A Adam Schumacher was
wonderful in keeping the trial going so that it didn't
get held over until Monday, when we had planned a
wedding and didn't want this to be ongoing. We truly
needed this chapter of life to be done. Finally by 9
p.m. the kids had gone to eat, and my husband and I
were the only people left besides the Ciccis. I had
had two cups of coffee, a salad, and a candy bar the
entire day, fearing that if I left, even for lunch,
something would happen while I was gone.
The jury finally came back with just what we needed: a
unanimous GUILTY verdict.
Sentencing was not to be until May 2, 2005. While we
waited the probation department did a presentencing
investigation and then makes reccomendations to the
district attorney's office. On May 2, Cicci was
sentenced to 3 years probation, 160 hours of community
service, approximately $520 (not even one-third of the
money owed) restitution to the Barbours, and
prohibition from owning or having animals on his
property during his probation.
This sentence was good yes, but good enough? NO. He's
already twisting the ruling: He works for a man named
Buck Dodge, who lives down the Barbours back road.
Dodge owns draft horses. The Ciccis have adopted
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustangs during this
ordeal, and all their horses are still be kept inside.
According to what they tell the probation department,
the animals are being kept in Mr. Dodge's barn.
Ellen Schelter, the girl who owned Anna, spent several
hours down the back road working for Mr. Dodge, for no
pay, just to be around the horses. She also boarded
Anna there until they could no longer care for her and
she was sold to the Cicci's. I wonder who takes care
of the Cicci horses then? I guess he probably tells
probabtion that Billie Jo does, but she Was the owner
of record of Anna too. BLM says that it removes
untitled horses if an owner is ever found guilty of
abuse or neglect of an animal. They won't do a thing
in this case, however, because Pete Cicci was guilty
but Billie Jo owns the mustangs, even though she also
owned Anna. We have seen him riding, walking his kids
on horses, and transportng, horses, and we know that
the Dodges go every year to the state fair in Syracuse
(Cicci had to be responsible for not only his own but
also any of Dodge's non-driving horses).
So in my opinion, Pete Cicci was found guilty, yes,
but he was not punished.
I continue to work for legislative improvements. We
need harsher punishments. I also think we need a
district attorney with the backbone to take offenses
like this and charge them as felonies. If we read the
law carefully in New York State, it seems clear that
Anna falls within the defintion of a companion animal,
and that her starvation was done with the knowledge
that Anna would die, and that the killing was
depraved. Why then is it not a felony? The only reason
Assistant District Attorney Scumacher came up with
when we debated this was that something like this has
never has been a felony charge in NY. Well I say
that's just not good enough! Not anymore.
Through my new organization, named in Anna's honor, I
intend to work to change this and keep moving in a
positive direction to bring about awarness and open
people's eyes, ears, and hearts to the damage people
do to animals.
Theresa J. Barbour
Founder, Animals Need No Abuse (A.N.N.A.) Org.
For additional information about Anna's case and
A.N.N.A, contact Theresa J. Barbour (ladyt_wolf.pack86yahoo.com)
Anna was a beautiful buckskin
mare. She was curious and full of life. Anna was one
of the lead horses in the Spencer Picnic Parade in
August of 2003. Anna was my daughter's best friend.
In November of 2003 we sold Anna
so my daughter could have some money to take to
college in the fall of 2004. The family I sold her to
had gotten a dog from us a year or so prior to this,
and he was spoiled by them. We thought this was a
great home for Anna, and they lived close to us as
well, so my daughter would be able to visit her
whenever she came home.
For months I made calls, sent a certified letter, and
asked for payment to be made for Anna. I would hear
how great Anna was doing and how one of their
daughter's would be doing 4H with her. They have 2 BLM
(Bureau of Land Management) mustangs they bought at
Cornell University Auction. Finally, on June 24, 2004
I made another call to see if they had payment for us,
up until then I had received 1 of the monthly
payments. Pete Cicci, the man who co-purchased Anna,
explained to me that he was "at the point where
he was just going to have to bring her back" to
us. I told him that was fine. He said he would bring
her down to us over the weekend. This was on Thursday
the 24th of June. My husband told my daughter not to
wait just to go get her.
My daughter called a woman who had boarded Anna before
this, and the two of them went to pick her up. My
daughter came back and was sobbing. She said Anna was
skin and bones. I called the woman who had trailered
Anna to her new home to get her opinion. She informed
me that Anna was extremely emaciated. She said that
she would turn them in if I did not.
I called the Tioga County Sheriff's Department, and
they sent Deputy Rob Blasch out. He agreed to meet me
up at Anna's new stable. When I arrived he was there
along with Officer Dave Lanning of the Spencer Police
Department. They were both taking pictures of Anna. I
was shocked when I saw Anna, she looked terrible. I
knew she had not been fed.
I called Cornell Vets, since I use them on my goat
farm. They sent out Dr. Gast. He said she was
emaciated, dehydrated and might have pneumonia. He
gave her an IV with several medications. He said he
was hopeful, because Anna was lying down when he got
there, but had gotten on her feet before he left. He
also gave us a feed regimen to follow.
On the morning of June 25th, 2004 I awoke to a call
from Deputy Blasch. He was continuing his
investigation, but didn't think he could bring charges
at this point. He said the mustangs did not look as
bad as Anna.
Later that morning I went to see Anna. She had gone
down about 2 a.m. and could not get up. She tried over
and over again to get up, but could not. Once again, I
called Cornell, it took Dr. Gast 5 hours to be located
and be able to make it out to us. Upon examining Anna
he said that time would tell, and it would be up to
Anna now. He said he was glad she had such a voracious
appetite. Anna, had spent much of the morning working
herself out of the stable and into the grass. She
would try to stand and lunge herself one way or
another before she fell again. Dr. Gast said Anna was
simply too weak to stand. He helped us drag her back
into the stall so she wouldn't get sick from eating
the food her system was not used to having.
On the morning of June 26th, I received a call from my
daughter who had taken her sleeping bag and
sweatshirts (and Anna's favorite treats - carrots and
lollipops) to spend the night in the barn with Anna.
When I got the call my daughter was hysterically
crying. Anna was still down and now choking on blood
from cuts on her tongue and lips, she acquired trying
to stand and falling. She was thrashing, trying to get
up. I sent my son and youngest daughter up to her
right away, while I called the vet and some other
help. The Cornell vets were all out of the office and
they said they would try and locate someone. I knew
Anna could not wait. I called a local equine vet
someone had told me about the day before.
She arrived about 5 minutes after me and examined
Anna. She said Anna did not have pneumonia. She
explained that a less experienced clinician may have
made that diagnosis because the loss of fat layers
between the lung compartments would make it sound like
pneumonia. She said that the most humane thing to do
was to euthanize Anna. She explained that even taking
Anna to Cornell Equine Hospital and having her in a
sling and treated for a long time there, she would
only have a 15-20% chance of survival. My daughter
asked her to do it and get it over with, she said she
didn't want Anna to hurt herself anymore.
The vet put Anna to sleep, her diagnosis - CAUSE OF
Pete and his wife Billie Jo
Cicci, had failed to provide Anna the nutrition she
needed for life. Pete, 47 years old, told Deputy
Blasch, they just didn't have the money to pay a vet.
Deputy Blasch who informed the Cicci's, based on the
word of someone who was a civilian bystander when Dr.
Gast was there on the 24th, that the horse had
pneumonia. Deputy Blasch thought if the horse had
pneumonia, this might explain the weight loss. We had
Anna taken to Cornell necropsy for an autopsy, so they
could not use this as a defense, as if not providing
vet care is ok! Deputy Blasch explained that he was
waiting for the vet reports and the Pathology report,
then he would talk with District Attorney Jerry Keene
to see if charges could be made.
When the reports all came back, all 3 reports stated
the cause of death to be
malnutrition/emaciation/starvation. The autopsy stated
the horse weighed only 264 kg., her Henneke score was
1.0, she had little to no body fat and significantly
decreased muscle tissue (a result of not having
anymore fat reserves).
Deputy Blasch, on July 1, 2004 charged Pete Cicci, 47,
of 173 Schumacher Rd., Candor, NY 13743, with animal
cruelty. Cicci was issued an appearance ticket for the
Town of Candor Court, July 19th, 2004 at 3p.m. The
Deputy did not remove the other animals from the
premises, nor did he charge both parties responsible.
I am, however going to pursue this matter in civil
court as well. The charge of animal cruelty on the
part of Pete Cicci was listed in the Binghamton
Press and Sun, Section C, Friday, July 2, 2004.
I hope Anna's story can help people see that we need
quicker response time and much harsher punishments for
those who would be so cruel. For any further
information please do not hesitate to contact