In settling a lawsuit by the state Office of the Attorney General, Angel’s Gate Inc. of Delhi — which cares for terminally ill and handicapped animals — has been closed, founder Susan Marino said Monday.
The agreement signed in Delaware County Supreme Court this month allowed her to place all the animals in other locations, she said.
“This ruling means that people will no longer unwittingly relinquish their animals or their money to that hell on Earth formerly known as Angel’s Gate,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said. “It’s also a wake-up call to keep your eyes wide open if you are considering passing your animal on to an outfit that sounds good but is anything but.”
Marino denied she was guilty of animal cruelty. The charges stem from the organization’s late filing of papers accounting for donations, she said. When that is complete, she said, all money will be accounted for.
Angel’s Gate and Marino acknowledged that they had knowingly failed to account for donations since June 2007 in violation of New York law, according to a PETA media release. The settlement prohibits Marino from caring for or harboring any animals other than her own “pets” and from being an officer or a director of an organization that holds charitable funds for 10 years. Additionally, Marino was banned from owning any animals for six months by order of Kortright Town Justice Yvonne Pagillo on Nov. 7, the PETA release said.
In April 2011, PETA sent a 27-page criminal complaint, which the group said was generated through an undercover investigation, to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office.
In December 2011, Marino was charged with five counts of cruelty to animals, a violation of state Agriculture and Markets law. Those charges were based on an initial phase of the investigation. She was charged with 17 more counts in May.
This latest court decision is separate from the criminal case, Marino said.
WICZ.COM said that Broome County Assistant District Attorney Joshua Shapiro agreed in November the 22 counts will be dropped if she agrees not to own any animals for the next six months. She referred further questions to her attorney, James Hartmann of Delhi, who did not return a call for comment.