LORRAINE, N.Y. (WWNY) - An Adams Center man denied Wednesday that he has abused animals, and says he plans to sue neighbors for accusing him of being an abuser.
Jeffrey Zehr, 38, was charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty earlier this month. State police said they were called to a property in the Town of Lorraine where they found evidence of an injured horse that had been dragged and a month old calf in very poor health. Both animals were euthanized.
In addition, police said they found 14 animal carcasses and other animals alive but without proper food or water.
Zehr said Wednesday the horse was already dead, the calf was three days old and born prematurely and the carcasses were animals that had died over the winter.
Zehr faced about a dozen protestors Tuesday night as he appeared for a court hearing.
Wednesday, he said he didn’t care about the protests, and that he plans to sue the people who have accused him of being an abuser, and 7 News for reporting on the story.
The protestors at Tuesday night’s court proceeding said they want the law changed so that Zehr - or someone like Zehr in the future - will face more serious charges.
As the law now stands, animal abuse cases can only reach felony level charges in New York if the animal is a pet. Since the animals in Zehr’s case were all farm animals, the most serious charge Zehr could face is a misdemeanor.
" It makes me angry that nothing has been done about it and that everything that he (Zehr) has been charged with on these 12, 13, 14 counts will be misdemeanors," said Jeanne Chapman, a neighbor of Zehr’s, Tuesday night.
“I know the judge, he can’t go any farther with it than what the law tells him he can do, but I think the law should change.”