Ex-animal cop can’t sue NJ exterminators that starved baby raccoons
A former Monmouth County animal control officer's lawsuits against an extermination company and a horse farm have been thrown out after judges ruled that he had no right to enforce animal cruelty laws through litigation.
Stuart Goldman had sued the companies in an effort to get a judge to levy fines under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
In one case against a company called Critter Control of New Jersey, Goldman sued after a female raccoon was removed from the roof of a house but did not account for baby raccoons that were found a few days later. Goldman sued for damages and civil penalties based on the fact that the babies were unfed for a week after their mother was taken away and said Critter Control of New Jersey should have done more to ensure their well being.
That lawsuit was dismissed in September 2016 on the grounds that "only select organizations, not individuals, may pursue a civil remedy," according to an appellate decision this week that rejected his appeals.
After the dismissal, Goldman tried to amend the filing by adding that it was being filed in the name of the Monmouth County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which enforced animal cruelty laws. The county organization did not object to his lawsuit. But the court dismissed that attempt as well.
In April 2016, Goldman sued Simplicity Farms, claiming they were mistreating horses, including physical abuse, lack of food and lack of medical attention, which resulted in the death of a colt. Goldman filed the lawsuit because he "disagreed with the Monmouth SPCA's decision not to pursue criminal or civil charges against Simplicity Farms," the appellate decision this week says.
That lawsuit was dismissed in January of the following year, with Goldman once again unsuccessfully asking the court to reconsider the suit as being "in the name of the Monmouth County [SPCA]." That motion was ultimately dismissed by the judge who called Goldman's motion "futile." The judge ruled that state law was intended to have "uniform rules and regulations," and that if Goldman's lawsuit was successful it would "eviscerat[e] all of the sections of the statute regarding the appointment, training, [and] supervision of agents who have been determined [to] have the ability to engage in that function."
An earlier version of this story listed the company as Critter Control, rather than Critter Control of New Jersey.
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