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Press Stories 1980-2004
Horse Hauler Faces $11,100 in Fines
By Lynn M. Ermann Staff Writer
SCHROON - Like thousands of truckers along the Adirondack Northway, David A. Carper, a driver for Frank C Carper & Sons, drove a "slaughter truck". He carried horses from New Jersey up to slaughterhouses in Canada. He traveled at night, when no one would see the conditions in which he kept his animals.
The only danger Carper faced was car trouble.
And on the night of Jan.27, the strain of the cold weather on his truck's engine forced Carper to pull over to a rest stop along the Northway. As Trooper Thomas Garcia of the State Police in Schroon Lake approached the truck to help the stranded driver, he saw that it was filled with horses, jammed in on two levels.
"They were just frost covered their eyelids, their hair,"
said Dr. Robert Lopez, a Westport veterinarian who inspected the truck and its live cargo.
Carper like another worker from his company who was arrested in 1992 might have been charged a $100 fine and dismissed.
But Tuesday, Schroon Town Justice Jean R. Strothenke charged Carper for each horse he transported in violation of the Agriculture and Markets laws.
For the 40 horses that he transported improperly, Carper is paying a total of $11,100.
The compartment where the horses were kept was insulated insufficiently ,causing them to be covered with frost, according to Essex County, Assistant District Attorney Deborah Whitson
There were no sturdy partitions placed 10 feet apart from each other, as required, to separate the horses, according to Whitson.
And the truck held horses on two levels, also a violation, she said.
Elizabethtown, NYApril 27, 1994
New Jersey man fined for illegal transport of horses
By John Duval, Staffwriter
SCHROON LAKE--A 21-year-old New Jersey truck driver was fined more than $11,000 in Schroon town court Monday,April 18. The action came after his arrest for improperly transporting horses from his state to a Canadian slaughterhouse.
According to town court and the Essex County District District Attorney's office, David A. Carper, 21, was arrested by Schroon-based state police on Jan. 27. County officials said he had stopped his tractor trailer rig that night at a rest area off I-87. State troopers while checking out the area found Carper was carrying 40 horses in a bi-level or two tier truck. Such transportation of animals is illegal in New York State.
He was originally charged with 150 counts of violating the state's agriculture and markets law which governs the transportation of animals. Carper, from Cranbury, N.J., was identified as a driver for Frank Carper, identified as his father, also from Cranbury, N.J. Shortly after his Jan. 27 arrest, he was released on $500 bail to reappear in town court.
A nine-hour town court trial was held April 13. The county district attorney's office was represented by Assistant District Attorney Deborah Whitson. Carper was represented at the trial by Attorney Albert Carilli of New Jersey.
Troopers Thomas Garcia and Donald Messings, who arrested Carper, also were at the trail providing testimony. Whitson told the Times of Ti, some evidence at the scene at arrest time couldn't be properly recorded by troopers. She said 35-degree below zero temperatures prevented troopers from being able to adequately take enough photographs at the arrest scene.
"Even pens would stop working because of the cold,"Whitson said.
Whitson said the troopers allegedly found the horses in Carper's truck were so cold some had their eyes frosted over. Others were found slipping on frozen urine inside the truck. Whitson said Carper could have also been charged for not having barriers set up inside the truck separating some of the horses and for not having a non-skid floor inside the vehicle for the animals.
Carilli argued in court it was improper far the state to lodge a distinct charge for each horse that was transported in violation of the state regulations. He urged the charges should be linked to the trailer and he asked the number of charges be dropped from 150 to four. Whitson argued the statute was designed to protect the horses and the per horse charges were proper.
As a result of the April 13 trial, the original 150 counts of violating the agriculture and markets were reduced to 110 counts. Carper was found guilty by Town Justice Jean R. Strothenke who decided her ruling on the case during the weekend of April 16 and 17.
Strothenke explained the offense was dropped as a misdemeanor to a violation offense. Carper was allowed to remain free on bail. The judge announced her decision setting the fines April 19. The judge said Carper would be notified of the court action.
Hoof Print 1994
by Ann Bartgis
Shipping of horses to slaughter has again resulted in legal action. Records indicate that David Carper, 21 of New Jersey was arrested on January 27th by Schroon-based New York State Police. While on a routine patrol along Interstate 87 (the Adirondack Northway) police checked a rest area where Carper had stopped. The truck he was driving was found to be carrying 40 horses in a bi-level or two-tiered arrangement. He was originally charged with 150 violations of New York State's Agriculture and Markets Law, which regulates animal transport in the State. Violations included partitions not of sturdy construction, more than one tier holding animals, floors not covered with abrasive material, and insufficient insulation or materials to maintain an adequate temperature in the compartment containing the horses.
Carper, a driver for his father Frank Carper, was released on bail and re-appeared in Schroon Town Court an April 13th. The nine-hour trial included testimony by the two troopers who arrested Carper. Essex County Assistant District Attorney Deborah Whitson said that due to extreme temperatures at the time of the arrest, some evidence at the scene could not be properly recorded, and in the best interests of the animals, things were expedited as much as possible that January night. At around 35 degrees below zero, the ink in the pens froze, however also as a result of the cold, troopers found horses slipping on frozen urine inside the truck. The attorney for Carper, Albert Carilli of New Jersey argued that it was improper to file a separate charge for each violation for each horse; as an example, Carper was charged with 40 violations of the law requiring sufficient insulation or coverings to maintain an adequate temperature. Cariili maintained that there were no instruments actually inside the compartment to measure the temperature there. Assistant D.A. Whitson argued that the law was designed to protect each individual horse, however the original 150 counts were dropped to 110.
Town Justice Jean Strothenke, in her decision of April 18, 1994, found Carper guilty of 35 charges relating to partitions in the compartment, 35 charges relating to the shipping of horses in a two-tiered compartment, and 40 charges of failing to maintain adequate temperature in the compartment. The charges relating to the lack of a non-slip/abrasive material on the floor were dismissed. Carper was fined a total of $11,100. Attorney Carilli maintained that the New York laws were unconstitutional as they attempt to regulate interstate commerce.
Assistant D.A. Whitson stated that the Carper's have filed a notice of appeal. This will be heard in Essex County Court in Elizabethtown. They have also made a motion to suspend the order to pay the fines pending the outcome of the appeal. Whitson does not expect any resolution to the case until much later in the year.
The same owners were involved in a similar case just two years ago (April 15-27, 1992) where the horses were confiscated. Carper's attorney at that time also inferred that interstate commerce was being interfered with. Charges in that case were dismissed. Called as a witness in both cases was Dr. Robert Lopez of Westport. Two days after this year's case was heard in Schroon town court, a letter was written to Lopez by Monica Berntsen-Carper on the letterhead of Camelot Sales Stables- Frank Carper, requesting payment of "$6000. for loss of income" incurred when Lopez "caused a load of horses to be confiscated" relating to the case in 1992. Lopez was given 30 days to submit payment or "legal action will be taken to collect this debt". We will keep you posted on both cases. For more information on this issue, see HoofPrint. June '93 issue- Abuse neglect, or just poor management.
Hoof Print 1994
by Ann Bartgis February 1995
The wheels of justice: