New York State Supreme Court Justice Raymond Elliott reportedly heard the case of Zeus, the Great Pyrenees, who was reportedly found frozen to the ground last year during the polar vortex.
It all started after neighbors claimed that Robert Krupa, a New York resident, left Zeus, his then-13-year-old Great Pyrenees, outside his residence all the time during January’s subzero polar vortex. Zeus was allegedly chained up outside and had a shelter that neighbors said was much too large to keep him warm. The New York State Police that were called didn’t charge Krupa with any kind of animal neglect charge, stating that after visiting the property, they felt that no crime had been committed against Zeus, the Great Pyrenees. Wes Powell, an animal control officer, the Colombia County Sheriff, and the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA assisted the state police in their investigation into Zeus’ safety, according to the Register Star.
Once nothing was done, the New York State Citizens Against Puppy Mills retained Matt Albert, a former assistant district attorney, to argue Zeus’ case at no charge, according to a Facebook update.
“In January, 2014, Zeus was literally frozen to the ground during the midst of the polar vortex. A neighbor and advocate for Zeus, who has literally been haunted through the years by thoughts of his wasted existence, stood her ground and demanded the authorities take action. Trooper Andrew Behrens from the New York State Police, along with Walker did what they always do when they see animals suffering in such a manner… nothing. This time, their apathy and uselessness was too much to take. Advocates around the globe rallied for Zeus, and a lawsuit was filed by myself on a pro bono basis with the relief being sought that Justice Elliott would mandate that the state police enforce the laws that they are obligated to enforce.”
Zeus’ case ended up before a judge at the New York Supreme Court when the animal’s advocate reportedly sued the state police. Zeus’ pro bono lawyer said that the police should have charged Krupa through New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, under Section 353-b, which requires dog owners of outdoor pets like Zeus to have “shelter appropriate to its breed, physical condition and the climate.”
“(Zeus) was living in a house with no insulation in a polar vortex,” attorney Matt Albert reportedly told Judge Elliott. “He’s living alone, on his chain, with a (dog house) flap that did not protect him from the elements.”
Trooper Melissa McMorris told the press that troopers did periodically check on Zeus, but were never able to find enough of an indication that his welfare was in danger, so no probable cause could be found. Still, veterinarian Dr. Tina Aiken said that Zeus had diminished muscle mass, even for his age, and that indicators of arthritis showed through in just the pictures she saw of Zeus. The Great Pyrenees’ lawyer produced around 50 pages of evidence that included testimonies from veterinarians, Great Pyrenees experts, and eye witnesses, according to Times Union.
Ronald Perez, with the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA, wrote an editorial piece for the Columbia-Green Media stating that Zeus was never neglected, but was simply a farm dog. Perez said that the dog house was in full compliance with state guidelines, regardless of what was suggested by neighbors. Perez said that Zeus’ caregiver had always cooked all of Zeus’ meals for him, and that the dog had regular veterinary care. Perez added that Zeus was at least two or three years older than the expected age of a Great Pyrenees.
“Zeus was examined by a CGHS/SPCA Investigator, the New York State Police, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, a veterinarian, and a veteran dog control officer. It was concluded by all that Zeus was in exceptional condition for a dog of his age, thirteen years old. The national average lifespan of a Great Pyrenees dog is typically ten, maybe eleven years of age.”
Matt Albert’s business page updated this week about the New York Supreme Court’s decision, stating, “Zeus will die at the end of a chain, probably frozen into the ground, and never knowing the kind touch of a human hand.” The post was shared over 10,000 times as of Wednesday. The dog’s caregiver has reportedly moved from the residence since this time last year. Albert announced the news of the judge’s decision on the business page.
“And so ends the sad saga of Zeus, with a mind numbing decision from New York State Supreme Court Justice Raymond Elliott, which was as ill thought out as it was callous and bureaucratic. Justice Elliott states, and I quote, that it is ‘discretionary for the New York State Police to comply with all the provisions of the New York State Agricultural and Markets Laws.’ Let me repeat, and this is a DIRECT quote from his decision, it is ‘discretionary for the New York State Police to comply with all the provisions of the New York State Agricultural and Markets Laws.’ [sic]”
Unchain New York announced that many people are now trying to locate Zeus, but that he was not seen outside this winter anywhere. On Zeus’ pro bono lawyer’s page, dog lovers are in an uproar, and some are threatening to find Zeus and take him in the middle of the night. Many from out-of-state have requested an updated address, and noted that they would be “up to the task” if the dog’s owner’s address was ever posted online. Strangely, some people even admitted on the attorney’s public Facebook page to stealing and re-homing dogs after finding them neglected. One Facebook user suggested that people should pool their energy and money together and simply buy Zeus, the Great Pyrenees, a spacious kennel and a better dog house so that he can be protected from the elements and off his chain for good.
[Photo via Facebook]