LOCKPORT – City Judge William J. Watson has scheduled a trial for July 8 in the Barbara Hale Gonzalez animal cruelty case, but it’s uncertain what the subject matter will be.
That’s because Watson said Wednesday he hasn’t decided whether to grant a motion by Gonzalez to force the return of two dogs and a horse, seized from Gonzalez’ Hartland farm in 2009 after her veterinarian called police to complain about how the animals were being treated.
Gonzalez was given an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal on the cruelty charges. She brought suit to get the animals back and to obtain damages from the SPCA and the people who adopted the animals.
Attorneys in the case said it’s possible a jury may decide on the possession of the animals, but if Watson decides that question, Gonzalez still is pursuing damage claims against the adopters and the SPCA of Niagara. A ruling on possession of the animals by Watson is likely to be appealed, which attorneys said would certainly delay any trial.
Three dogs and a horse were adopted by others, including the veterinarian; one of the dogs later died of cancer.