Ulster County (NY) SPCA Seizes Neglected Rabbits
Man Sought in Cruelty Case
By Tod Westlake
The Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UCSPCA) rescued a total of 26 neglected rabbits from a Kerhonkson property on October 21.
The animals were being kept at the home of Juan “Victor” Caniglia, of 18 Foordmore Road, and were living in filthy conditions, according to Brian Shapiro, executive director for the group. Some of the rabbits were in very poor condition, but are now being cared for at UCSPCA facilities.
“The animals are being cared for in our newly renovated barns,” Shapiro said. “They are acclimating well.”
Caniglia, it turns out, had previously been charged with animal cruelty, after it had been discovered that he was keeping more than 100 birds and three rabbits in a small outdoor shed on his property.
Earlier this month in the Town of Wawarsing Court, Caniglia received a $2,200 fine payable to the UCSPCA, and was barred from owning birds or rabbits.
The discovery of the rabbits last Thursday means that Caniglia would appear to be in direct violation of this court order, according to Shapiro. He was not at home at the time the animals were seized.
“We’re going to be pursuing a warrant for his arrest, based upon the fact that he was in violation of the court order,” Shapiro said. “We’re also strongly considering further charges due to the neglectful care of the animals.”
The good news is that all but one of the rabbits survived the ordeal, and the others are now doing well and are receiving medical care as needed. One rabbit, unfortunately, had to be euthanized due to a malocclusion with its teeth that prevented it from being able to eat normally.
“He couldn’t eat, and he was in such poor shape, that we had no choice,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro also mentioned that three of the rabbits are pregnant and that there has been a terrific response from members of the community who are interested in adopting a rabbit.
“The public has been very supportive,” Shapiro said.
Some of the responses have come from groups as far away as Massachusetts, according to Shapiro. This particular group, the House Rabbit Network of Woburn, MA, actually intends to fly a small plane into Kingston Airport this Saturday in order to take three of the rabbits, Shapiro said.
Shapiro said that he had no further information on the status of Caniglia. It is worth noting, however, that the two recent cruelty incidents involving Caniglia are not the first. Back in 1994 the UCSPCA had seized dozens of animals from his property.
Another good bit of news is that many of the rabbits are now ready for adoption. If you are interested in adopting a rabbit, please contact the UCSPCA at 845-331-5377 x-211.