All four people accused of mistreating Lily, the miniature dachshund, pleaded not guilty in Carlisle Town Court last Wednes-day morning.
All four are to return to court Wednesday, June 9.
The four are Carol Palmer, 42, of Schoharie; Joseph Cooper, 22; Tasha Cooper, 18; and Gene Cooper, 48. The Coopers are from Carlisle.
The four were charged in April with Section 353 of the Ag and Markets law for torturing, injuring and not feeding an animal. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
The story that’s sharpened interest in animal cruelty began on March 19, when David Gregory of Sloansville found Lily inside a closed cardboard box alongside Saddlemire Hill Road, Carlisle, in the chilly morning hours.
Thanks to Mr. Gregory, Lily made her way to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley, and days later attorney Mike West took her into his care.
Information provided by Mr. West and a story in the Times-Journal aided State Police, who found that the doxie had been deprived of food and water before being abandoned in the box.
Troopers arrested the Coopers and Ms. Palmer about a week later.
All four appeared in court with separate attorneys before Judge Karen Sisson last Wednesday. Assistant District Attorney Susan Mallery is handling the case for Schoharie County.
Although Ms. Mallery said she was ready for trial, all four attorneys asked for postponements, which Judge Sisson granted to June 9.
Contacted later, Mr. West––a former district attorney himself––said he recognized that the case would move slowly.
“But I think it’s going very well,” Mr. West said. “I’m glad Sue is involved; she has a lot of interest in the case. The prosecution and police are really handling it well.”
He’s frequently asked about Lily and the case, and Mr. West said the incident goes beyond one little dachshund.
“This case has given a face to animal cruelty, and my greatest fear is that it will fall flat on its face,” he said. “But I don’t see that happening.”
Friends and acquaintances have weighed in on what the penalty should be––fines, jail time or both––if the four are found guilty.
“I don’t know what the penalty should be,” Mr. West said. “All I know is that a little dog suffered terribly.”
Mr. West and his wife, Cyndi, have Lily with their other dogs, and the newcomer is gaining weight and becoming feisty.
“Lily’s doing fabulous,” Mr. West said. “She’s a real sparkplug.”