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Son of Whitestown judge appears in court, animal advocates protest

By ANNA MEILER

VILLAGE OF ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) --  Joseph Sullivan, the son of a Whitestown judge, appeared in court Wednesday to hear if a motion to dismiss the case of animal cruelty against him had been granted.

Outside the court, animal advocates lined up with their hands behind their backs, representing a kitten tied with tape.

"We're not going away. These animals have a voice," they shouted.

In July, the 19-year-old was arrested after a police officer found him with two kittens in the women's bathroom of a Whitestown park on Gibson Road. One kitten's paws were bound with tape and there was a lighter on the floor. He was charged with a misdemeanor of animal cruelty under the Agriculture and Markets law.

Sullivan's attorney, Ricardo Mauro, filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying what Sullivan allegedly did doesn't fit the definition of torture.

There was no decision made on the motion Wednesday and the case was adjourned due to a conflict of interest because Sullivan's father, Daniel Sullivan, is a judge in the town of Whitestown. An assistant district attorney from Onondoga County is now being brought in to prosecute the case, instead of the Oneida County District Attorney. The decision will be delayed so the new prosecutor will have time to become familiar with the case.

The next court case will be on Nov. 13, giving the Onondoga County District Attorney's office over a month to become familiar with the case. The  defense will not be required to return to court at that time.

A decision whether or not to grant the motion will be made within fifteen days of Nov. 13. If the motion is granted, the case will be dismissed. If it's denied, the case will proceed.

In court, Sullivan's attorney objected to the delay which the judge quickly denied. In a phone interview, Mauro said he thinks it's fair to delay the case to give the new prosecutor more time.

Many of those animal supporters said they're pleased with the decision to delay the case.

"I'm pleased to know that it didn't just get dropped, isn't getting swept under the rug. There has been a special prosecutor assigned to it. It's been adjourned, but the main thing is it isn't just forgotten," said Linda Glover, an animal supporter.

One of the animal advocates present Wednesday was Edward Schulze, whose stepson found a kitten bound with tape in the same Whitestown park about two weeks before Sullivan was arrested. The kitten was severely injured and spent several weeks recovering at Spring Farm CARES and  Village Veterinarian. When the kitten was fully recovered, the Schulze's adopted it into their family and named him Chance. But, they still don't know who abused their kitten.

"This isn't done. Hopefully justice will happen, but this isn't done yet," said Schulze.

The Whitestown police originally ruled out a connection between the two cases, but on Wednesday morning Chief Donald Wolanin said they are starting a second round of interviews with witnesses to see if there is in fact any relation.

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