Monday, November 07, 2011

Extorting Schenectady: New York SPCA Shows True Colors

Note:  What goes around comes around. 
Blue Dog State first wrote about the Schenectady SPCA and its "fergit shelters, we gonna arrest you" mission in a piece called

New Revenue Scheme for Animal Extremist Innovator
Schenectady SPCA sets itself up for 50% off the top
. . . thanks to its lawsuit against the Sheriff

Private persons associated on a volunteer basis with a private corporation and a clear animal extremist agenda will be independently enforcing dog control laws in Schenectady County -- without having to answer to county officials -- if  legislators approve the "Vicious Dog Control Law of 2011" on November 9.

As payment, the private corporation will receive 50% of all fines paid to the county stemming from their enforcement of state dog laws.  The remaining 50% of the monies paid by Schenectady dog owners pursuant to the enforcement of public laws will also go to the SCSPCA, in compensation for sheltering impounded animals. 

The Schenectady SPCA does not operate a shelter and it never has. 

As an added bonus when the contract gets signed, the private SCSPCA gains access to vehicles purchased and maintained at taxpayer expense.

In exchange for the money, the contract to enforce dog control regulations throughout the county, and the vehicles, the SCSPCA agrees to drop
the lawsuit it filed against the Schenectady County Sheriff.

Mathew Tully's SCSPCA initiated the suit in October when the SPCA -- which, again, does not operate a shelter and never has -- seized roughly 40 cats and a dog pursuant to its investigation of animal cruelty allegations. 

The SCSPCA insisted that County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino accept custody and responsibility for the animals pending adjudication of the charges.  When that didn't happen--the Sheriff cited financial constraints and lack of facilities--the Schenectady County SPCA sued him.

Cty. Sheriff Dagostino

In the meantime, the SPCA killed the impounded dog and about a third of the impounded cats.  They had fleas.

Although the numbers in the various press accounts vary, it appears that some of the remaining survivors of the "rescue" were farmed out to the illegal pre-adjudication forfeiture gulag "humane" network of fosters and shelters.   Seems at least some sheltering alternatives were available, after all.   Surprise, surprise.

Blue Dog believes that for all practical purposes those remaining cats might just as well have vanished from the face of the planet.  Whether they've since been killed, sold, given away, or simply "lost" in the system, they will not be available as evidential exhibits.

Follow the trail of dead cats

Setting aside the drama and the accusations, what really happened as a result of the Great SCSPCA Cat Seize?

Many of the animals the SCSPCA impounded (allegedly flea-ridden, but still alive) are now dead. 

Their owner, described in the press as a conscience-stricken "rescuer" who gradually became overwhelmed, awaits her day in court under the forlorn theory that she is innocent of deliberate and calculated cruelty to animals until proven guilty.  While 40 or more animals were seized from her home, she was only charged with one count of cruelty.  Innocent or not, the animals are history.  They will never be returned to her, even if she is cleared of the charges. 

The County appears to be submitting to pressure from a small private corporation with an adrenalin-driven lawyer at the helm.  Schenectady County exhibits zero understanding of New York's Agriculture and Markets laws. . .and worse yet, zero concern for the civil rights of its dog and animal owning residents.

And the SCSPCA ?  Tully is a lawyer, as are several of his volunteers, and he uses his law firm as an operations center for the SCSPCA.  As a result of filing a lawsuit using in-house legal services, Tully stands to gain an immediate 50% cut on any revenue they can generate by enforcing dangerous dog, leash and dog licensing laws in Schenectady County, plus control of the balance of the public monies collected pursuant to a state law. 

How sick is this picture? 

And who the freak is Mathew Tully, Esq., and his band of 10 or 12 volunteers-soon-to-be-Schenectady dog control contractors?

You better sit down, kids

Currently, Mathew Tully is the. . .

Chief Commanding Officer of the SCSPCA,

Director of the SCSPCA,Chief of Department of the SCSPCA,

President of the SCSPCA,Chief Humane Law Enforcement Officer of the SCSPCA,

and the
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SCSPCA.

But Tully first hit the radar for many animal owners back in 2002 when, acting as a volunteer, he fraudulently misrepresented himself as an officer of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society and seized 15 dogs from a dog retailer.  The dogs were valued at approximately $9000, and were subsequently sold by the CGHS, which retained the proceeds.

Mad extortion skillz

According to
sworn testimony included in court records,

Tully . . . told [the dog owners] that, unless they immediately signed a document surrendering the 15 puppies on their premises to the Society, he would arrest them upon a misdemeanor charge of violating Agriculture and Markets Law § 357.  They allege in their verified complaint that Tully, who is also an attorney, told them that it would be one or two days before they were arraigned, that he would ask for high bail and that he would "demand that [their five] children be placed by the Department of Social Services until plaintiffs made bail." Plaintiffs signed the surrender document and were issued an appearance ticket."  [emphasis added]

During his persecution investigation, Tully made reference to the results of a veterinarian's examination of an allegedly unfit puppy sold by the plaintiffs.  Yet the
vet's sworn affidavit reads:

"I understand that Mr. Tully has given an updated deposition in this case in which he avers that[I found an animal] infected with a contagious disease dangerous to the life and/or health of animals called coccida. . . I absolutely deny that I ever told Mr. Tully. . . that any of the animals was infected with a contagious disease dangerous to the life and/or health of animals. . .the puppy was normal in all respects and was clearly not "infected with a contagious disease dangerous to the life and/or health of animals." [emphasis added]
Note:  to protect the vet's privacy, I have removed some details from the linked affidavit

All charges against the dog owners were dropped. 

Hat tip: 
Game Fowl News

Law.  Order. [Private] Police State.
Back in 2008, when Tully was busy promoting his newly established, shelterless SPCA, he was clear on his vision for Schenctady County: 

"I guarantee you, there is no point in having an SPCA unless you increase the volume of arrests,”
Tully said.'

Good to know.  How about the volume of extortions?

But the connection between addressing any "vicious" dogs in Schenectady County and setting Tully's private army loose on the public is a little vague.  How is kicking back half the revenue from unlicensed dog tickets to a private army going to help? 

State law allows for the immediate impoundment of unlicensed dogs.  Is that what folks in Schenectady County are facing?  Because the revenue numbers would be impressive.

What public oversight of law enforcement activities, what transparency in government--and private corporations--can there possibly be when it is handed over to a private corporation?  What elected public official acting on behalf of the People of Schenectady County will have any influence at all ? 

The proposed agreement between the SPCA and the County is specific:

"Except as provided herein, [the Schenectady County SPCA] shall not be subject to any rules and regulations applicable to the employees of the County, and shall fulfill its responsibilities independent of, and without any supervisory control by the County."

What recourse will people have when they get steamrolled by Tully and the SCSPCA?  Who can they complain to, if the County has agreed not to get involved ?

Dog owners of Schenectady County, you will be on your own.

Schoharie County and beyond.

According to Tully,  the  "ultimate end game for [the SCSPCA] is to make sure the SPCA is viable for years to come."

Also good to know.

Tully expects to be filing a similar extortionate suit in Schoharie County soon, and envisions his model being replicated across the State of New York. 

From there, who knows?

What you can do

The Schenectady County Legislature meets to consider the "Vicious Dog Control Act of 2011" on Wednesday, November 9 at 7:00 p. m.

Write, phone, and email the legislators.  Tell them you fear life in a police state patrolled by a crew of out-of-control volunteers with no responsibility to any elected official whatsoever.  The Schenectady County Chairwoman is Judith Dagostino.  Start with her.

Schenectady County Legislative Offices
620 State Street
6th Floor
Schenectady, NY 12305
Phone: (518) 388-4280
Fax: (518) 388-4591
email: legislature @

Corruption:  Tully.  Schenectady County.  Who else?

The proposal is illegal. 

Volunteers for private not-for-profits are not public servants.

The government cannot award special privileges to private corporations.

We do not have private armies in this country.

Schenectady County cannot simply set an unsupervised posse loose on its citizens and hope for the best.  Or the cheapest.

Something is terribly, terribly wrong here.
Blow that whistle, ring that bell.

We cannot let this happen.


Anonymous said...

Schenectady SPCA is a menace. They ruined my life, destroyed my farm, caused me to lose a $50,000/yr job, and now my children get death threats. When the courts threw out the charges due to the complete non-existence of evidence, Tully wouldn't even toss me an apology. The man is probably a sociopath.

Upstate New York needs an organization to "watchdog" this neo-fascist psycho. Protest his fundraisers, expose his machinations, succor his victims, etc.

Greg Casalaina

Selma said...

Why isn't this on the front page of the NY Times an elsewhere? This is similar, but much worse, to what happened in Ontario when the OSPCA, a private charity, got public money to the tune of $7 million initially with promised continued funding and a mandate to enforce laws with no oversight and no accountability. At least their continued operation wasn't contingent on the number of fines they collected. That's the stuff of nightmares!

Anonymous said...

Selma, I hate to wheel out the old "media bias" trope, but...this isn't in the New York Times because these groups are bulletproof as far as the media is concerned. This is for three reasons:
1)Part of this is due to ignorance. Heck, before they ruined my life, I thought SPCAs were "little old ladies in tennis shoes who run neuter clinics". I had no idea they were armed, armored brownshirts until I started researching them after they systematically destroyed my life to maximize their fundraising opportunities. This image of the "old style" SPCA protects these yahoos from media scrutiny.
2)The Animal rights complaint machine. When news venues run stories even mildly critical of these groups, they have to spend the next week fielding "outrage" calls from Legions of Self-Righteousness. Who wants to deal with that?
3) These groups provide access. "Animal abuse" news stories are highly successful at getting people to "tune in". They are also easy. The newscaster simply parrots the SPCAs "press release" (aka propaganda) and voila! Free outrage! And nothing fills airtime or sells papers like outrage. If news venues are publically critical of SPCA goon squads, there is a fear that the SPCA will cut off the tap of "free 'n easy", stories thus forcing reporters to actually report stuff.

To my knowledge the John Stossel 20/20 thing was the only major news venue to "do" anything on this subject.

I have contacted over 100 news agencies in an effort to interest them in my story. Only one very small, very local paper even bothered to call me back:

That's a pretty good story. But no interest from the big agencies, because everybody knows, Tully and his ilk are the "good guys".

Anonymous said...

according the news the spca never arrested you it was the new york state police who arrested you.

Anonymous said...

Tully enjoys leaving anonymous comments, but lacks the nads to sign them.

Sure, Matt. It was the State Police that arrested me. AFTER they'd recieved several hundred hysterical calls from animal rights activists demanding my head on a pike.

Now WHY did several hundred shrieking harpies call the NYSP expressing a very un-Gandhi like desire to see me in handcuffs? Why, because my story had been on prime time news for several days. Why was the media interested in my case? Because Tully made seven separate UNSOLICITED press releases to every news venue in the Capital District, that's why.

The arrest, while unjustified, was a minor inconvienience. My life family and career were derailed by the endless media coverage, complete with hyperbolic adjectives like "horrific". I think I could have handled the 3 hours I wasted at the police station being "booked" on charges everybody knew would be dropped due to the vet report.
It was Tully's media-whoring, not the NYSP's uncharacteristically timid decision to arrest me that did the damage to my life.

In fact, I was only arrested to appease the army of fanatics who called the State Police. That army was ginned up by the media manipulation of Schenectady SPCA and one or two other local animal rights groups. These groups decided to destroy my life in order to improve their fund-raising.

Tully made a conscious decision to splash my case all over the news in the name of self promotion, destroying my life in the process. He did this before having all the facts, knowing full well what its effects would be on my family. This man is a menace and an eloquent illustration of why privately-funded activistist should not be given police powers or the aura of authority that goes with it.

Greg Casalaina