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CALL TO ACTION! URGENT: Horse Abuse Case-Action Needed--Please Help



UPDATE, AUGUST 11, 2010
PERMISSION TO CROSS POST

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whiskey,

For those of you who are not aware, the final judgment regarding punishment of Keum Lee and Chong Lee for the misdemeanor conviction of abuse inflicted on two horses in their care, Suzi and Whiskey, has been rendered.

1. Legal ownership of Suzi and Whiskey was taken away from the Lees and awarded to Equine Rescue Inc. (http://www.equine-rescue.org/), the horse rescue organization that originally took them in after the seizure, and worked so hard to heal them.

2. An Order Not To Own has been issued to the Lees, which means they are forbidden to ever again own animals in Orange County, NY. The Court decided to allow them to keep one dog now in their care.

3. Each Lee will be required to serve 300 hours of community service.

4. Each Lee will be on probation for three years, for the crimes they committed against these horses. They will, therefore, be required to report to a probation officer throughout this entire time.

5. The Lees are require to pay full restitution to both Equine Rescue Inc and Pine Bush Equine, for the cost of care and medical treatment necessary to save the horses. This amount comes out to be just shy of $22,000.

Judge Berry commented on how moved he was by communications sent to him about this case, and he was clearly supportive of the fact that the Lees had not been allowed to simply walk off, with the horses and a fine, after causing such anguish to these animals. He apparently did seriously consider ordering jail time, and just as clearly, the Lees were in fear this would be the punishment. However, both Lees do have health issues, and neither has prior convictions. The Judge felt justice would be better served if the Lees were required to do something constructive as a punishment, hence his decision. It should be noted that jail sentencing would very likely have triggered an appeal process. As things stand, this apparently has been avoided.

Our personal feeling is that this was a strong, good judgment. Although we do feel the Prosecutor proved his felony case, and he did work so very hard to attain true justice for the horses, we also understand the felony law language regarding animal abuse is written to avoid both prosecution and conviction for crimes relating to animal cruelty. We understand, as well, that the case would certainly have been appealed, upon felony conviction, and very possibly overturned, leading to a less imposing punishment than the one finally handed down. All these things are realities when one considers the law and animal cruelty. Animals suffer; their abusers are not punished, or punished with a wrist slap. And so often, they seek and are awarded return of the very animals they have documentably abused. Judge Berry did not, in this case, let the Lees off lightly. Rather, he threw the book at them.

THE HORSES

In closing: heartfelt thanks to all of you for your phone calls, letters, faxes, for your support of justice for Suzi and Whisk. You cared. It made a difference. Do know: Suzi will likely not live a normal life span as a result of this abuse. Without functional salivary glands, she will forever be at risk. As she ages, the facial bone damage caused by the terrible infection, untreated for so long, will cause her to suffer. In all probability, she will reach a point in time when the act of eating her food, with aching facial bones and without salivary function, will prove too painful. In short, she will forever bear the wounds of her abusers; she will never be healed. Whiskey will fare better, healthwise. However, one day, losing Suzi will indeed break his heart. Lynda reports that, throughout, he was utterly dedicated to Suzi, would not leave her side, was unrelentingly protective. And so, the abuse these horses endured will, in fact, never be left behind them. Truly, the Lees will haunt them their whole lives. And how do you punish that?

SPECIAL THANKS

In closing, from these two horses:

Thanks goes out to each one of you. By forcing things to go forward, you made the difference in the path their lives would, and did, take. One path led to hell, one path led to heaven. Truly, taking action did save them.

Thanks to Lynda Broas and Equine Rescue Inc. Because of the work you do for horses in need, these two will never have less than green pastures, and your very special loving care. We urge everyone who reads this to support the work you do in saving horses. There are far too few hands-on organizations helping horses in desperate need.

To Rachael Fiske, of Pine Bush Equine: thank you, for never giving up on Suzi.

To Lucy Muller: thank you, also, for never giving up, and for your outrage. It proved to be contagious.

To Kerry Clair and Matt DeAngelis, and to all the supporters of Pets Alive who stood tall for this one: thank you. The DA's Office will never forget you.

To Orange County District Attorney Francis Phillips: you could have ignored us, but--you didn't.

And finally, to Jamie Ferrara, Orange County Assistant District Attorney: you put your heart into it. No one could ever ask for more. Not ever.

To so many others: thank you, so much, for caring. This time, it made a difference. And please, never, ever, turn away from an animal in need. Look into their eyes and feel their pain. It's there. It's real. They have, in the end, only you to help them.

Linda



UPDATE, April 30, 2010
PERMISSION TO CROSS POST

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whiskey,

Yesterday afternoon, Judge Jeffrey Berry rendered his verdict on all counts in the case presented against Keum and Chong Lee regarding the terrible abuse of two horses seized, last spring, on their Wallkill property.

1. Judge Jeffrey Berry found Chong Lee NOT GUILTY on both FELONY abuse charges brought against him.

2. Judge Berry found Chong Lee GUILTY of both MISDEMEANOR animal abuse charges brought against him.

3. Judge Berry found Keum Lee NOT GUILTY on both FELONY abuse charges brought against her.

4. Judge Berry found Keum Lee GUILTY of both MISDEMEANOR animal abuse charges brought against her.

So there you have it. The voice of justice. Which means, quite simply, this: because of the language of the law, you can inflict life threatening pain and suffering on an animal, in New York State, and walk away, judged NOT GUILTY of felony animal abuse. You can garden in your yard while, yards away, a horse stands, head hanging in unendurable pain, suffering minute by minute, with no food provided, every rib protruding--and be judged: NOT GUILTY of animal abuse.

Because, that is exactly what happened to Suzi. According to the witnesses presented. According to Keum H. Lee: she didn't know. Though she has a doctorate in physics, she didn't understand. And though her husband, Dr. Chong Lee, has a medical degree and has actively practiced medicine for years, he too: didn't know. He too: didn't understand. Their claim? They didn't INTEND to bring harm to the horses.

The laws in this state regarding animal abuse reflect what you, as a citizen of New York, will tolerate. Is what happened in this case okay by you? Are the laws in this state regarding felony animal abuse what YOU want them to be? Are you OKAY with this tolerance of animal abuse going on, and on, and on--because YOU accept this as justice?

No?

Go to this website: http://www.nysenate.gov/ and here http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/

Find your elected representatives and CALL and WRITE and EMAIL them today and demand the word INTENT be removed from the felony animal abuse law and the word NEGLECT be put into the law. Tell them you want language that will convict and truly protect animals, from human abusers, written into the felony animal abuse law of New York State, and you want it NOW.

Every day, people inflict unimaginable pain on animals, and walk away from justice because of the language in our felony animal abuse law. If you don't act to change it, you, and all of us, are looking into the eyes of these animals--and then simply, turning away. Because the current laws are your laws. Our laws. And we are tolerating them. Please act, and act each week, to change this. Please: be persistent. Please: demand answers from your representatives on this issue.

Please: don't turn away.
There is no one else to help them. But you.
Please don't turn away.

1. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?

On June 25, Keum and Chong Lee will come before Judge Berry for sentencing for their crimes. He will decide how severe the punishment to the Lees will be.

2. WILL THE ABUSERS RECEIVE THE HORSES BACK INTO THEIR CARE?

If the Lees do not formally surrender ownership of the horses to Equine Rescue Inc., Judge Berry will decide the horses' fate.

3. WHAT YOU CAN DO

CALL AND WRITE TO JUDGE BERRY:
Contact Information for Judge Jeffrey Berry: 845-291-3120
Address: 285 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924

Keep in mind, Judge Berry IS an elected official. Please call him, and WRITE, to express your opinion on the above two issues! Ask for:

1. Maximum punishment for both Lees;
2. Permanent removal of the animals from their care;
3. A ruling preventing them from owning any animals, due to their proven disability to provide responsible, life sustaining care.

But please, be polite. Judge Berry did not write the weak laws regarding felony animal abuse. And he did find both parties guilty for a total of four counts of misdemeanor abuse.

WRITE TO CHONG AND KEUM LEE:

Feel like writing them? Go ahead! Write the Lees, and tell them just what you think of them at: 510 Prosperous Valley Road, Wallkill, NY 10940 Please do NOT threaten them.

Some Positive Aspects of the Case:

Just about one year ago, Keum Lee was scheduled to head to court to declare herself Not Guilty for ONE COUNT of MISDEMEANOR animal abuse. Despite all the suffering endured by TWO horses in her care, she was being charged with one count of misdemeanor animal abuse by the State of New York.

Your outrage--your calls, your emails, your faxes--delivered to District Attorney of Orange County Francis Phillips in regard to this clear miscarriage of justice resulted in ONE charge of misdemeanor animal abuse to ONE person, Keum Lee, being changed to a total of EIGHT counts of abuse charged to TWO abusers. And four of those charges were for felony animal abuse.

Today, TWO abusers have been found GUILTY of a total of FOUR charges of abuse, rather than one person being found guilty of one charge.

Think your voice doesn't really count, just one voice? Guess again. It DID count, for Suzi and Whiskey.

Please contact your senators and state representatives at the websites below, and tell/write them this:

I demand changes be immediately enacted to the NYS felony animal abuse laws, and that these changes reflect realistic protection of animals from human abuse. I demand the word INTENT be removed from the law. I demand the word NEGLECT be entered into the law as punishable at the felony level. I demand that NOT PROVIDING VETERINARY CARE TO ANIMALS IN NEED OF THAT CARE be punishable as a felony crime. I demand the loopholes that allow animal abusers in this state to go unpunished and uncharged, be removed from the felony animal abuse statues. I demand an operational definition of felony animal abuse that describes *observable behavioral phenomena*, not invisible ghosts like "state of mind". And, I will continue to demand this until these changes are enacted.

Again: http://www.nysenate.gov/ and http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ for member search if you do not know your representative, and for a list of ALL representatives.

And here, for the Governor: http://www.state.ny.us/governor/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

Please, for Suzi and Whiskey and all those who are suffering even as this is being written, spend five minutes each day and: take action on their behalf.

Who else IS there, to help them? But you.

Will the assembly listen to one voice? No. Will they listen to thousands? Yes. Just as the DA listened.

Protection of animals from abuse in NYS is in fact, in your hands. Please, don't NOT act on their behalf.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
http://www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org/

UPDATE, April 19, 2010
PERMISSION TO CROSS POST

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whiskey,

Just about a year ago now, a woman named Keum Lee was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal abuse. The victims, a mare named Suzi and a gelding named Whiskey, were both skin and bone, and both were wearing halters too small for their heads, when the police and a vet arrived to evaluate them. The halters were so extremely constricting, and on Suzi, so misplaced as well, they caused infections. Over time, untreated by the caregivers, Keum Lee and Chong Lee, a physician by profession, these infections had grown so deep, and become so extensive, they caused the halters to literally adhere to the horses' faces. In addition to the burden of what must have been unrelenting, agonizing pain and misery, both horses were in starvation condition.

For a good while, it was touch and go as to whether Suzi would survive, despite being given intensive medical treatment, and despite the wonderful, healing care and support provided by Lynda Broas of Equine Rescue Inc.

Several weeks after the seizure, the prosecuting attorney offered Keum Lee a reduction in the charges, to one count of misdemeanor animal abuse, if she would just plead Guilty. In situations such as this, the abuser is routinely handed back the victims of abuse, and life goes on for all--in most cases, for the victim, torturously so.

But Keum Lee claimed she was innocent of any abuse. And in the interim, as Lee's lawyer and the assistant DA tried to work out a compromise, an appalled columnist named Lucy Muller began contacting people on behalf of Suzi and Whiskey, asking them to stand up and fight for the horses--fight for proper charges for their abusers, and safe sanctuary for their victims. And the people she contacted talked to other compassionate people, and the circle grew. Most importantly, everyone, it seems, expressed their outrage to the DA. And so, chapter one of this story ended with the one count of misdemeanor animal abuse becoming two again, plus two felony abuse charges being added, one for each horse. In addition, Keum Lee's husband, Chong Lee, the horses' owner of record, was also identically charged.

A year later, here we are. The seemingly countless hearings and motions have, at last, come to an end. The charges still stand. And now, on Monday, April 19, the trial of Keum and Chong Lee will begin at the Orange Country Government Center, in Goshen, NY. If you can, I hope you will be there to once again show your support for Suzi and Whiskey--and for all animals who suffer so senselessly at the hands of uncaring humans, every day, everywhere.

Folks, we did it. It's happening. Thank you so much for standing up to be counted, for calling and writing and faxing on behalf of these two horses, who did, truly, go through hell and back. Thank you for demanding justice. Thank you for demanding proper punishment for these alleged crimes. Thank you for demanding safety, for life, for these two horses. Thank you for letting me know, throughout this long year, you've not forgotten Suzi and Whiskey, and not forgotten, also, how very much they have suffered in their lives.

Monday, April 19th, the trial by jury begins. We'll keep you posted as things unfold.

Suzi and Whiskey will have their day in court.

Thank you so much for making this happen.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org


UPDATE, December 16, 2009
PLEASE CROSS POST FREELY

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whiskey,

A number of people have been in touch regarding the status of this horse abuse case, and I apologize for the delay in posting an update. As is always the case this time of year, with the short days--things are hectic!

In a nutshell, the case is proceeding through various legal hearings. The attorneys of the defendants, Keum Lee and her husband, Chong Lee, have submitted various motions that the Court must consider and decide upon--hence, these hearings. A motion is this: a written or oral application made to a court or judge to obtain a ruling or order directing that some act be done in favor of the applicant--to suppress evidence, for instance, that the defendants might argue was illegally obtained and might have an effect on the outcome of prosecution of the charges against them. In short, the Court must decide upon the foundations of the case so that it can proceed in an actual courtroom. This is the phase in which our case is now engaged, so every few weeks, a hearing takes place, and things progress from there.

About the only significant development of which we are aware, is this: the Lees have employed separate lawyers at this time--this is recent. It does appear that the case is going to go the distance, in a court room--and this is what, all along, we have been hoping would happen. Felony charges are rarely brought in the case of horse abuse, as horses are generally considered livestock farm animals, and thus, have little protection from human abuse above the misdemeanor level--if that. Why? Because legally providing protection for farm animals would very much complicate issues for the huge factory farming industries; considered products, rather than living entities who feel fear, pain--who suffer when treated cruelly and kept in filthy conditions--farm animals have essentially no protection from the tortures inflicted on them during the course of their often truly horrifically miserable lives. Considering horses as companion animals, rather than livestock, because of the interactive nature of their use--and the lack of their presence, at an establishment, as a food product--will lay the groundwork for strengthening their legally enforceable protection from human cruelties--across the state. And hopefully, eventually, across the nation. And any legal issues that are resolved by strengthening protection, of animals, from human cruelties--is progress.

And so, a successful prosecution of this case will, indeed, have far reaching effects. The language of the law is--restrictive, and shades of gray. Successfully prosecuting this case on the felony level will be a challenge, but--we are ever hopeful. It is our belief that the ADA and DA are fully committed to obtaining justice, and protection, for these two horses who have documentably suffered, so very much. This commitment has always been utterly essential.

Thanks to everyone of you for NOT forgetting this case is in progress--for NOT forgetting Suzi and Whisk, and the terrible pain they have endured. Do know, we'll keep you posted as events unfold--and unfold, they will.

In closing: Happy Holidays to all! And thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for caring--and continuing to care for all suffering animals. There are so very many. Individuals, each. Just, like--us. We cannot forget them. And, we must never stop fighting to achieve respect for what they are, how they feel--and how much they are forced, at the hand of humans, to endure--both screaming, and in silence.

Linda

UPDATE, September 20, 2009
PLEASE CROSS POST FREELY
Dear Friends of Suzi and Whisky,

Just a brief update: On September 16, Keum and Chong Lee were both back at the courthouse for what has been termed a "conference" with Judge Berry regarding their alleged crimes of both felony and misdemeanor animal abuse. That meeting has resulted in the scheduling of yet another conference, on October 26. Both Lees have filed motions to have the charges against them dismissed. We will continue to closely follow this case, and we will continue to keep all of those who have done so much to seek justice for these abused animals, alerted to case progress.

Shown are pictures of Suzi and Whisk as they appear today. Suzi, once skin and bones and riddled with infection--considered very possibly terminal--continues to gallop, full speed, down the road to recovered health. Whisk, initially very debilitated , though not terminal, has blossomed. For these remarkable recoveries, we thank Lynda and Mike Broas, Dr. Rachael Fiske, Pine Bush Equine, and all of those who worked so hard to keep these horses from going back to the unloving embrace of their alleged abusers--abusers who indeed, refused to surrender the animals; who indeed, wanted them returned.

Though now beautiful to behold, both horses still bear the scars of their visit to the dark side of human nature. I often wonder if certain sights and sounds and scents take them back, at times, to those terrible days of pain and starvation and despair--or if, living in the moment, they are able to forget. When Lynda learned the pre-Lee names of the horses were DaisyMae and Digger, she used them--and instantly, the horses responded.

One can only conjecture what they might feel if they are ever again confronted by Keum H. Lee, or returned to their concentration camp quality facilities. Quite simply: this must never be allowed to happen.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
http://www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org/

UPDATE, September 1, 2009
PLEASE CROSS POST FREELY

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whisk,

After considering the prosecutor's evidence of inflicted torture and cruelty, the Grand Jury has essentially thrown the book at both Keum H. Lee, and her husband, Chong S. Lee, for the suffering endured by the two horses in their care: Suzi and Whiskey.

Information now in the public domain confirms that Keum Lee has entered a Not Guilty plea to the two felony (injuring and torturing an animal) and two misdemeanor (aggravated animal abuse) charges now pending against her. The case will resume on September 16 with a conference regarding these charges, and her plea.

In addition, her husband, Chong S. Lee, has also been charged with two felony counts of injuring and torturing an animal, and two misdemeanor counts of aggravated animal abuse. Dr. Lee, a New York physician, has pled Not Guilty to his charges, as well.

For a practicing physician, one usual consequence of a felony conviction, or even a misdemeanor conviction, is the suspension of their license to practice medicine. The State Board of Professional Medical Conduct will, upon conviction, review the case and make a judgment as to whether the physician will lose the license to practice or not, and if the license is revoked, whether this action will be permanent or temporary. Early cooperation with the prosecution has the documented effect of reducing the licensing penalties. The felony and/or misdemeanor convictions do not have to be of a medical nature for the physician to have the license revoked. So: there is now a large, dark cloud on the horizon of Dr. Chong. Dr. Chong purchased Suzi and Whisk, and was the owner of record at the time charges were filed against both Keum and Chong Lee.

The case number is Orange County 00497-2009. The Lees, though separately charged, are both part of one numbered case.

Heartfelt thanks, again, go out to all of you who stood up and demanded justice for the suffering imposed upon these two horses by two cruel people. Though eminently educated and clearly enjoying a very comfortable income, they allowed, and are responsible for, the days and weeks and months of anguish endured by these two horses.

Not Guilty--they have both declared.

We will keep you posted on where things go, from here.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
http://www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org/

Update, August 21st, 2009:

PLEASE CROSS POST

(This was put together by Linda Brink, Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary, Warwick, NY)

Keum H. Lee has now formally been charged with two counts of felony animal abuse and two counts of misdemeanor animal abuse. Today, those charges were read to her. She still has not entered a plea. The next court date is September 16, in Goshen--the case has been adjourned until that date. Apparently, how Lee wants to handle the charges brought against her has not yet been decided.

So, between now and September 16th, things could change--or not change. The ADA and Lee might come to an agreement, in which case Lee will plead Guilty to the lesser misdemeanor charges and perhaps, surrender ownership of the horses and agree to provide payment of all expenses to heal them, and a maximum fine, in exchange for a dismissal of the felony charges. Or, Lee can plead Guilty to the lesser charges but not surrender ownership--in which case we sincerely hope, and strongly support, prosecution of Keum H. Lee for all of the charges currently against her. Pleading Guilty to misdemeanor charges without accepting additional responsibilities for her actions is, quite simply, not enough.

Another possibility is that no agreement between Lee and the ADA is reached, in which case Lee will enter a Not Guilty plea to all charges and it's off to court for a resolution.

Again, our suspicion is that she'll enter a guilty plea for the two lesser charges and surrender the horses. And the ADA will go with it.

Of all of these possibilities, only one will carry the day on September 16. Until that time, the future of Suzi and Whisk, and also that of Keum Lee, remains: undecided.

Update, August 7th, 2009:

PLEASE CROSS POST

(This was put together by Linda Brink, Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary, Warwick, NY)

Dear Friends of Suzi and Whisk:

It's been weeks now since Keum H. Lee last appeared at the Wallkill Courthouse. Although, surely, the case must be progressing, we have become greatly concerned by the amount of time that has passed--even since the rally. Our calls to the ADA remain unreturned.

At this very important juncture, we feel it is absolutely essential that all of those in support of justice for Suzi and Whisk once more contact the ADA and DA's office and let them know: cutting a deal with Keum H. Lee, after the suffering she has allegedly inflicted, is absolutely unacceptable.

It will be too late, after the fact, to express your outrage. The silence is--very disturbing! We all know: the law seems to change when the victims are animals. We all know: in the eyes of the law, too many times, the suffering of animals is dismissed as inconsequential. And how many times are the animals returned to the very monsters who hurt them? Too many times.

PLEASE, take a moment to once again raise your voice in support of justice for these two horses, who have been through so much. Their suffering is representative of the suffering of so many, and pursuing and enforcing felony charges, and reasonable punishment, will not only achieve justice for Suzi and Whisk, it will help so many other animals now living in despair. Horses in particular, ignored, starving in fields, wounded, in need of medical treatment caregivers see no reason to provide --this case, if properly handled, will state loud and clear: somebody does care. I care! You care! There is such a small chance of punishment, when the crime committed is abusive to animals--no matter how heinous. A positive resolution of this case can, and will, send a message to all those who shrug off their abuse: you will be prosecuted. You will be punished. Because: we care.

PLEASE, for Suzi and Whisk, make one more call,
send one more fax, write one more letter--and roar.

For justice. For animals who can only, themselves, suffer in silence.

The message: No deals for Keum H. Lee. No compromises. Only: justice. This is a felony abuse crime. If convicted, Lee deserves felony abuse punishment. For the crimes she allegedly committed against Suzi. For the crimes she allegedly committed against Whisk. Be their voices--and roar.

Who to Contact:

Francis D. Phillips, District Attorney
255 Main Street
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-2050
Fax: (845) 291-2085
fphillips@co.orange.ny.us

Jamie Ferrara, Assistant District Attorney
255 Main Street
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: 845-291-2050
Fax: 845-291-2085

Please help. I truly fear we don't have much
time in which to act and make a difference.


Update, July 25, 2009:

Dear Friends,

Here is an update on what is happening in the case of Suzi and Whiskey.

THE FELONY UNIT DECISION

Over two weeks ago, the DA's Felony Unit concluded their investigation of the case against Keum H. Lee and recommended a felony abuse charge be brought against her for the cruelties inflicted upon Suzi, a horse seized from her care in April of this year. In addition, the misdemeanor abuse charge for her neglect of the other horse in this case, Whiskey, formerly dropped, has now been reinstated.

A re-examination of this case, and a review of appropriate charges to be brought against Lee--these are things that have happened as a direct result of your phone calls, letters, and faxes. Thank you so much for seeking justice for these two horses--who have documentably suffered so greatly over the last year. Your direct involvement--your expressed outrage at the suffering these animals were forced to endure--is what made the difference between a shrug directed at Keum Lee, by the justice system, and a knockout punch in the face.

THE GRAND JURY HEARING

As is the protocol when felony charges are recommended, a Grand Jury was convened, and the evidence was produced to indict Keum Lee, and possibly her husband, for felony and misdemeanor animal abuse. However, before the grand jury could retire to render a verdict, Lee asserted her right, via her lawyer, to testify on her own behalf. A second date, this past Thursday, July 23, was scheduled at which time Lee would speak to the Grand Jury. On that day, however, she claimed illness, and so a resolution of the charges has been delayed yet another week. The ADA has, at this time, made it quite clear: no more delays will be tolerated.

And so, we wait. Another week.

SUZI AND WHISKEY

As all these human things have been following their convoluted path, Suzi has continued to heal in the truly loving hands of Lynda and Mike Broas of Equine Rescue Inc. and under the continued attentions of Dr. Rachael Fiske of Pine Bush Equine. Though her prognosis remains guarded, Suzi is doing so much better than in previous months. The terrible damage of the infection remains, but the infection itself is not, at this time, continuing to spread. In addition, treatment for ulcers, a frequent side effect of equine stress and starvation, has given this dear horse a new lease on life as far as comfort is concerned. Both Suzi and Whiskey are, to all appearances, finally enjoying life.

Thank you so much, Lynda and Mike, and Dr. Fiske. Thank you for caring so deeply, from the very start, for these two animals in need, and for fighting so hard for both their lives. And for fighting for justice for the worth of their lives.

The life of every animal is precious. Thanks to each one of you for recognizing that one simple fact, and standing up for it. Animals cannot stand up and speak for themselves; they can only, so often, quietly endure their pain.

Thank you so much for caring.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
http://www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org/

 

Update, July 15, 2009:

Dear Friends,

Reports have been coming in regarding the progress of the case against Keum H. Lee for the alleged extreme abuse of two horses in her care: Suzi and Whiskey. If you are receiving this email, you have been following this case.

We should be able to report, by Friday, exactly what charges are being brought against Keum H. Lee, and how things will proceed from that point. At this time, however, I'm writing to ask that any among you who may be writing strongly worded or threatening letters and emails to the DA and investigators representing the DA--please, refrain. The new ADA on this case is compassionate, and totally committed to bringing felony charges to bear against Keum Lee. This is not a lip service investigation, but a thorough gathering and examination of all of the facts relating to the condition in which these two horses were found--a condition that reflected almost surreal suffering. Interviews and extensive investigation of the Lee's, and all aspects of the events leading up to the initial placement of charges, are being scrutinized and reviewed.

The ADA has been to visit with Suzi and Whiskey, as well.

Please, we asked for justice, and the pursuit of justice is exactly what we are getting in return: the investigation is proceeding full steam ahead. Although emotions always run high in cases like this, as well they should--in this case, we simply cannot complain. A great deal of work has gone into gathering the evidence that will hopefully convince a grand jury felony charges should, and must, be brought against Keum H. Lee for the crimes she is accused of committing. The ADA is aggressively pursuing the felony charge, and a conviction.

And so: we need to work with the legal system in a respectful way, at this point. We need to thank them for listening. We need to thank them for caring. And we need to thank them for taking aggressive action to achieve justice, for Suzi and Whiskey. Taking action for these two horses is sending a message, loud and clear: abuse is punishable in a way that will truly hurt those who inflict it.

The public won't stand for it. The police will react to it. The justice system will punish it. In Orange County, NY, perhaps we'll make a difference that will echo throughout the state. And beyond. A start. A first step forward. Justice for horses. Justice for all animals. For the silent victims who have waited--in nourishing fields, in filthy sheds, on chains, in dark basements, starved, beaten, abused, neglected--silent victims who have waited far too long to hear, a caring voice.

Linda Brink
Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary
Warwick, NY
http://www.sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org/

 

PLEASE CROSS POST

Update, July 9, 2009:

Dear Friends,

First and foremost: thanks to all who wrote, called and faxed the Orange County, NY, DA and ADA on behalf of the abuse case of these two horses, Suzi and Whiskey. It was your expression of outrage that brought about a review of this case--a case in which animals truly did suffer; a case in which animals will bear the scars of their suffering for life. Had you not actively intervened, this case would now very likely be closed: one count of misdemeanor abuse, guilty. A slap on the wrist of the hand that caused two animals months of extraordinary pain and suffering, and months of starvation as well.

And a very special thanks to all who came to Wallkill for the rally--I know a number of you drove many miles to stand up in a very personal way for Suzi and Whiskey--thank you. This effort brought the focus of the press to the case, and reinforced its public importance to the justice system community: two non-human lives were abused, and people are demanding justice. Thank you so much.

At this time, as previously stated, the case against Keum H. Lee is under review by the felony unit, and will go forward, from there, to presentation before a grand jury. We will keep you posted as to the progress of this review, which is expected to conclude shortly.

Keum H. Lee is currently scheduled to come before the court again on August 5. All reviews must be completed prior to that date.

The best news of all: the last x-ray taken of Suzi's wounded areas reveals no new infection tracts in the wound--an important finding. Prior to this, the infection in Suzi's facial bones was not responding to any given therapy, and if the infection continued to degrade, her prognosis was grim--the infection would very likely travel into the brain cavity. But now, at last, there is reason to be hopeful that healing has finally begun. Though the prognosis is still guarded, this finding provides good reason to be hopeful that Suzi will heal. And she is looking so much better! We will continue to be positive, and continue to hope for the best.

And finally: thanks to Dr. Rachael Fiske, and to Lynda and Mike Broas, for the long hours of nursing, for caring, for doing everything that could be done to keep the light in these two depressed and injured animals glowing. You saved them. Words cannot express the gratitude of hundreds of caring hearts. For ending the pain of these two sweet horses, and getting them to safety, words will never be enough.


(Written by Linda Brink)

UPDATE, June 25th: The case went to court and Lee was granted an extension. The case HAS been turned over to the felony unit for review. No word yet on if they will try the case as a felony. Let's hope so.

The horses are not at Pets Alive. These horses were saved and are being treated at Equine Rescue Inc. Please make your donations there in order to help with their care. So far vet bills have exceeded $5000.

This is a Call for Action directed to any and all people who have feelings of respect, and love, and compassion for animals, and who care enough to help seek justice, and safety, for two horses who have suffered terribly at the hands of an alleged abuser.

The photos are graphic--but they are real. They are documentation of just how much suffering was inflicted on these two innocent animals at the hands of the person responsible for their care. Look at them, and please: stand up for justice. Stand up with us to protect the future of these animals. Stand up with us to send the message, loud and clear, that animal abuse in New York State will not be tolerated, and will be punished, with a vengeance.

Stand up for Suzi, who has hurt so much, for so long. Join forces with others who care. Be her voice. Tell her story. Defend her right to live without pain and suffering. Send the message, loud and clear, that there are people who will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, with voices, with letters, with phone calls, with faxes, with their hearts and minds, with their outrage--outrage that animal cruelty is not viewed as an accountable crime, that people can do such things, and simply--walk away: walk away with the very animal they tortured beside them, his/her heart hammering with fear and despair as people do nothing more than shake their heads and turn away.

Look at Suzi and consider just what it is this sweet horse has endured at the hands of the person entrusted to care for her. Should the person who caused this go unpunished? One count of misdemeanor cruelty is the charge, when Suzi's pain went on for days, and months, and is still going on. Suzi is still receiving daily visits from the vet. Should this person be allowed to receive Suzi back again? That is Keum H. Lee's plan: she has refused to surrender ownership of these horses. Should the fact that she starved Suzi's companion be dismissed, as if that suffering did not occur, was not worthy of mention in the charges against this person?

The Defendant: Keum H. Lee, female, age 58, occupation: physicist

The Story: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090428/NEWS/904280324

On the night of Thursday, April 16th, near midnight, a call reporting a horse loose on a Wallkill road came in to the police station. The attending police officer reported "it smells like the horse's face is rotting off"--which indeed, was exactly the case. On Friday, April 17th, Animal Control and an equine vet went to the property of the horses' caregiver, Keum H. Lee, to investigate.

Suzi, described as a palomino mare, was declared to be approximately 600 pounds underweight, and suffering from extreme untended facial wounds, and infection. Her companion was found to be approximately 200 pounds underweight. Under the direction of the investigating veterinarian, the horses were immediately transported to a local equine rescue organization for proper care and rehabilitation. Everyone's heart went out to these two survivors--and yet, they are hardly now in a situation that can be called safe.

The Case
Although reportedly charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, Keum H. Lee is now charged with only one count. This, despite the obvious, documentable, and agonizing suffering and starvation imposed on one animal in her care, and the obvious neglect and starvation of another animal in her care. Keum H. Lee has yet to pay one vet bill. She has refused to surrender her right to care for these animals. She is, in fact, pleading Not Guilty to the single charge against her--despite overwhelming evidence against her.

The Abuse:
Removal of Suzi's halter revealed wounds filled with maggots. Because a salivary duct on the right side of her face was crushed during the ongoing ordeal, and the condition was not treated, she leaks saliva through her jawbone. After a six hour operation, Suzi is reported as not recovering well.

Prior to Suzi escaping to the road--an act that likely saved her life--numerous reports had been filed regarding abusive conditions for animals at Keum H. Lee's address. No action was taken by authorities until Suzi was reported loose in the road--at which time, action was taken because the situation was a public safety one.

What Is Going To Happen?
If no one cares, and no one acts, this is what will happen: Keum H. Lee will be found Guilty, or found Not Guilty, of misdemeanor animal abuse. If found Guilty, she will pay a small fine. The horses will be returned to her--despite the statement of the examining equine veterinarian and the observations of the clinic veterinarians that these horses suffered, were starved, were abused--despite the documented agonies she has already inflicted on these animals: the horses will be returned to Keum H. Lee.

The Alternative: Express Your Outrage!

You can make a difference. Person by person. Caring heart by caring heart, we can make a difference in the lives of these two horses.

  1. Call, write, and fax the following people and politely and intelligently DEMAND:
    • that the correct felony charges be brought against Keum H. Lee for her willful extreme neglect and abuse;
    • that Keum H. Lee be charged on separate counts for the abuse inflicted on two different animals;
    • that Keum H. Lee NOT be allowed to receive these animals back under any circumstances;
    • that Keum H. Lee be required to pay for all related veterinary care provided;
    • that Keum H. Lee be refused the right to care for any animals as long as she lives in the state of New York.
  2. Please forward the story of Suzi and her companion, and how they have suffered and are suffering still, to everyone you know, and ask them to stand up with you in support of helping these two horses to a life of health and safety.
Who to Contact: Express Your Outrage!

Francis D. Phillips, District Attorney
255 Main Street
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-2050
Fax: (845) 291-2085
fphillips@co.orange.ny.us

Andy Kass, Esq.
c/o Orange County District Attorney's Office
18 Seward Avenue
Middletown, NY 10940
Phone: 845-615-3640
Fax: (845) 346-1189

Tanya Beamer, Esq.
c/o Orange County District Attorney's Office
18 Seward Avenue
Middletown, NY 10940
Phone: 845-615-3640
Fax: (845) 346-1189

From Suzi's heart to me, and our heart to yours: thank you for caring.

WE ARE ALSO ASKING PEOPLE TO SHOW UP OUTSIDE THE COURT (WITH SIGNS IF POSSIBLE) TO SHOW THE JUDGES AND LEE HOW WE FEEL. MAKE SIGNS THAT SAY THINGS LIKE "WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS IN OUR COMMUNITY" OR "LEE DESERVES JAIL TIME FOR HER CRUELTY" OR "NO BREAKS OR PLEA DEALS FOR ABUSERS" - OR THINK OF YOUR OWN VERBIAGE...BUT SHOW UP! BE THERE ON JUNE 24TH AT 11 AM. Wallkill Township building, 99 Tower Drive, Middletown, NY.

This comment was made by her caretaker:
"I just came in for the night and before leaving I say goodnight to each one....when I reached her stall I saw her struggling to chew her hay, the pain in her jaw is so obvious, I soak her feed (25 pounds a day) but we have decided, the vet & I, that she has to continue to chew or else the arthritis caused by this will weaken her ability to eat in the future...she's trying so hard........if adding my name and the org name and contact info adds any weight or credence....please do so. I'm angry at this woman. I'm sad for this kind soul who is suffering. Thank you for sending this out to people. Sending up a prayer that it helps and that she will not suffer forever.....thanks."






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