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Comments from Mr. Jon Katz of Bedlam Farms

A Good Day For Joshua Rockwood: Loaded Miles And Management Fees
April 27, 2015, Jon Katz

It is always a shocking thing for me to see an innocent person treated like a criminal in his own community, I think when a culture criminalizes farming in the name of loving animals, it is turning to the dark side. Farmers are part of a nation’s soul, we fare as they fare, we suffer as they suffer, even if we rarely realize it. A country that forgets where it’s food comes from and what the real lives of animals are like is losing itself in a different way.

Today, another hearing in the saga of Joshua Rockwood, a young farmer caught in a brutal winter, now facing 13 charges of animal cruelty and neglect in a community that seems to know nothing about farms or animals any longer. It’s hard to imagine anyone having a good day in the midst of this long, painful, expensive and arduous ordeal. But Joshua has set about proving that there is justice for an honest man, that the legal system can work for him as well as against him.

He had a good day today.

Unlike so many of the people caught up in the hysteria over animal cruelty and abuse, Rockwood knows how to use his blog and the Internet, he has raised $55,000 online for his legal fees and drawn a powerful army of supporters to his side. They are loyal and loving people, I am very happy to sit among them.

The judge announced the case today as “West Wind Acres Farm versus the complainant, Peaceful Acres Sanctuary,” so it has at least become clear who the complainant was and is. Today’s hearing – delayed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. was not about the charges of animal cruelty, it is about how much Joshua is being asked to pay by the Peaceful Acres rescue farm in order to get his two draft horses and pony back, should that become possible.

To date, the bill for boarding the three horses is $7,500, according to Marci Beyerl, director of Peaceful Acres. That is for the first 30 days only, it does not include the last month. Beyerl was called to testify about the costs of caring for Joshua’s seized horses, and Joshua’s attorney, Andrew SaFranko was eager to question her about her charges and fees. About 30 of Joshua’s friends, family and supporters came to the hearing, even mid-day, some came long distances to show support for him.

Real courtroom scenes are not like Law & Order or Perry Mason. Smart modern lawyers speak slowly and carefully, take notes, reference files, there are no fireworks, little drama. I’ve covered a lot of trials, SaFranko had done his homework, and knew his stuff. Court proceedings are almost uniformly boring, not exciting. There are lots of conferences, delays, reading of statutes. Still, the cross-examination of Beyerl was, I thought, both revealing and disturbing. It was something of a surprise to me.

And it did shed some light on some of the very troubling issues raised by the Rockwood case. First, Rockwood is accused of nothing that doesn’t happen on almost every real farm in America, especially in a brutal cold wave. Then, there is the increasingly incestuous relationship between some animal rights organizations and the police, who are being drawn into the deepening conflict over the future of animals in our world and the true nature of farming. Americans have, in fact, forgotten where their food comes from and they have forgotten the people who make their food possible.

There are issues relating to conflicts of interest involving people given great authority over other people, and who often have a financial stake in the outcome of their actions and accusations. As the animals of the world disappear in the new Inquisition over animal abuse, the fate of every one becomes more precious. No one is opposed to animal rescue or animal abuse, and so no one thinks to question animal rights organizations and some rescue operations about their procedures. But the Rockwood case is raising a number of questions.

And then, there is the powerless and frightening position many farmers and animal lovers – especially poor ones – find themselves in when confronted with the Orwellian power and aggression of the contemporary animal rights movement and its growing links to local governments. Joshua Rockwood knows how different his story might have been if he had not been able to raise all that money on his gofundme site.

I have three good friends who operate horse and animal rescue farms and sanctuaries – one of them, Ken Norman, our friend and farrier – was sitting right next to me in the courtroom, and in the interests of fairness, I cannot believe how hard they work, how little money they have or earn, or how open they are about what they do. It is all about the horses for them, I don’t think any of them know what a management fee is.

So I was interested in hearing Nanci Beyerl’s testimony.

Beyerl was part of the convoy that came to Joshua Rockwood’s farm in March – she testified that she was asked by the police. The raiding party seized the three horses, and left a large paper trail of charges and accusations, none of which have yet to be addressed in court.

Beyerl conceded that she charges twice as much money for impounded horses – those seized in cruelty cases – as she does for rescue horses who are not impounded. She is asking Joshua to pay for more than $800 a month for the care of his horses if he wishes to get them back, or even if he never gets them back. For rescued horses who are not impounded, she says, she charges $400. In addition, she is charging a daily management fee of $104.

She surprised the farriers and horse rescue people present when she testified that she does not charge for “loaded miles” in the way most animal carriers do, she charged by time and distance for transporting the horses. She is seeking $600 in reimbursement for transporting the three horses to her farm from his – a distance of nine miles.

Beyerl said her boarding rates for Rockwood’s horses are $28 a day, $13 more than her fees for horses that are not impounded. She is also charging Rockwood more than $1,000 for veterinary care – one of the horses is pregnant and about to foal.

She said impounded horses require more time and care than other horses, including talking regularly to the police and the DA’s office. I don’t know Beyerl, she seems to have saved a lot of horses, but she seemed angry to me and at times defensive. Once or twice, she appeared almost outraged that her expenses were even being questioned. She said impounded horses are expensive in part because she doesn’t allow her volunteer staff to handle them or care for them for insurance reasons. Yet she conceded that she brought eight people – all but one volunteers – along on the raid of Joshua’s farm that resulted in the seizure of his horses.

SaFranko pressed her on just how much time she spent managing two draft horses and a pony for $104 a day. She said caring for his horses took her away from her regular duties. She also said she was submitting invoices for $600 for transporting the horses – $400 from her and $200 from a second rescue farm whose trailer was used.

SaFranko then called Wes Laraway as a witness for the defense. Callalway is a history teacher and 20 year veteran of animal and wildlfe rescue runs his own sanctuary in Middleburgh, N.Y., he has five horses and eight donkeys and is lately specializing in exotic animal rescue. He was, I have to say, right out of central casting, tall, ruddy, white-haired, credible and direct.

Laraway (he was not paid to testify) said he never heard of a management fee and had never charged one. He did not charge any fee for the animals that he rescued and cared for, he did accept donations. He has never heard of the practice of charging more money for impounded horses than rescued ones, and has never done it. He said he used a “loaded miles” fee arrangement for all of the animals he had transported. That is, transport charges are computed and begin when the animals are loaded onto a trailer, and end when the are loaded off at their destination. He said most loaded ride fees range from $2 to $5 per mile on average.

If he had transported Rockwood’s horses, the invoice would have been from $40 to $50 for all three.

I contacted each of my horse rescue friends, all three said they have never heard of a management fee in horse rescue, all three said they charged on the basis of the “loaded miles” system, although often, they said, they had to waive the charge because horse owners had no money. “Often, these people are not evil, they are just broke,” one told me. They all said their daily boarding rates for a draft horse range from $8 to $16, and none charged more for impounded horses than conventionally rescue ones. In fact, they all said they simply accepted the horses they took into their care. They rarely, if ever, charged any fees for them unless they were boarded.

“This,” one said, “is why all horse rescue people are broke.”

I know these good people long and well, they are all broke and live to rescue horses in trouble, it is their life, none could imagine what a management fee might be. “Caring for one horse in trouble is just like caring for another,” said Susan, who runs a rescue farm in Maine. “Managing them all is what I do.”

So there we are, another chapter unfolds in the animal wars now raging across America. This is a case that should never have happened, criminal charges that should never be brought. I felt the prosecutor somehow felt the same thing, she did her duty, but she seemed to have little heart for it. And how could she?, it is the case, as Ken Norman said, of the Bullshit Misdemeanors. I watched the faces of the farmers and friends and family of Joshua Rockwood, there was a great deal of pain in their eyes. Sitting in a courtroom watching Joshua fight for his farm and his life was the last place they wanted to be.

And unfortunately for Joshua, this nightmare is just getting underway. He is holding up, he had a gleam in his eye I had not seen before in the courtroom, this is a stand he wants to take. “I’ll tell you one thing,” a neighbor whispered to me in the courtroom, “he will never give up.”

Neither, I think, will his new army, and perhaps that is what is most significant about his case.


As of today, there were no further hearing dates set, the judge is awaiting motions from the lawyers on the admissibility of some of the evidence.

The Status Quo Squashes Again

The Libertarian Party of New York was pleased to turn in nearly 30,000 signatures this past August to secure its’ statewide slate of candidates on this November’s ballot.  As usual, the LPNY, its membership and supporters worked hard to collect approximately double the necessary amount of signatures as to avoid any “challenges” from the two major parties. The time for challenges had passed and the LPNY was informed by the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE) that our statewide slate of candidates (Michael McDermott, Governor; Christopher Edes, Lt. Gov; John Clifton, Comptroller and Carl Person, Attorney General) would be on the November 4th election. Great right? Not so fast, this is NY and the Dempublicrats don’t like competition. As in years past, they will do anything and everything to restrict the electoral process.

Absentee ballots were mailed out this week and voters have reported that the Libertarian line and its’ candidates is being “shared” with the Stop Common Core line and its’ candidate, Rob Astorino.  Governor Cuomo has the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and the “Woman’s Equality” lines, all unshared. Mr. Astorino has the Republican, Conservative and the pathetic “Stop Common Core” line, also all unshared. Even the “Sapient Party” has their own line but somehow the NYSBOE saw fit to attach the Libertarian line with the Republican-funded, anti-Common Core line. My friends, this is about as deceptive as it gets. This is an obvious attempt to confuse voters that will ultimately invalidate many votes for the Libertarians who are seeking permanent ballot access in the State of New York.

Please join me in spreading the news of this injustice and condemning the shameful acts of the NYSBOE. If you want to cast your vote for the Libertarian Party of New York, you MUST fill-in the circle next to the Libertarian candidates’ name ONLY; McDermott, Edes, Clifton and Person. Please don’t fall for the pathetic shenanigans of the DempublicRATS who have worked together to silence the political will of the citizenry by drafting and printing this sham of a ballot.

Please support the ONLY party that seeks to promote liberty to every New Yorker and cast your vote on November 4th for Michael McDermott, Christopher Edes, John Clifton and Carl Person.

In Liberty,

Todd G. Haggerty,

Chair Capital District Libertarian Party



for the first time in four years, the LPNY had followed the election law(s) to the letter in order to secure that ballot line and as usual, the Dempublicrats have shown their true colors and have resorted to fraud in order to suppress tens of thousands of independent voices.

After a very successful Statewide Convention, in which over 100 liberty activists attended, the local LP Chapter (CDLP) will host it’s’ annual Convention.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at Browns Brew in Troy, NY at 6pm.

If you are considering running for local office in 2014 and would like our endorsement, please stop by.

Tired of Politics As Usual?

Why the Libertarian Party is not, and can not be, Politics As Usual.

The Libertarian Party values the founding principles which have been discarded by the other political parties. The most important of these is that government is to be limited. If laws steal choices for some people and confer privileges and rights on others then it is no longer limited. As Lord Acton warned, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts abslutely.” Exploitation is a form of corruption. Corruption is common in government.

Examples of the Tragedy of the Commons are ubiquitous. So the prevailing myths about lofty concepts like The Public Interst and Accountability to the People can easily be refuted. Schools are good examples of the prevailing myth. Schools are ubiquitous. More than any other government agency, schools are accessible, used and relied on by “the people.” Schools are closer to people, and people are closer to schools than to any other government agency.

Schools make a lie of the popular and prevailing notion about government and democracy — accountability to “the people.”

If local schools are an example of “government of, by and for the people,” then we must accept the notion that people actually want schools that fail to perform honestly and competently.

On the other hand, if “we the people” must pay for a money-pit we obviously don’t want, does that not make us accountable to government?

The Libertarian Party is all about maximizing choices. That is opposite of removing choices.
Libertarians favor choices for everything – school choices as well as abortion choices.
Libertarians will let you pursue happiness as you see fit, not as someone else sees fit for you.
Libertarian legislators will not fill the treasury to buy votes with other people’s money.
Libertarians will not limit, prohibit, or mandate what you do with your money or what you do in your bedroom. Those should be your business and not decided by someone else.
Libertarian government treasuries will be limited so exploitaion and corruption will be limited. That means tragedies will be limed as well.
Libertarian politicians will let people decide for themselves instead of being forced to obey people who have political power and influence.

Werner Hertzog

2014 and You

Citizens of New York,

Believe it or not, the NY gubernatorial race is upon us and our current Governor, Andrew Cuomo, with his $34,000,000 campaign war chest is considered the favorite.

Maybe the GOP will announce a candidate, maybe not. My question to you is, why would you consider wasting your vote on either party?

They both work in unison, to advance their agendas and deepen their purses. In years past, many New Yorkers chose a Republican candidate because he or she represented the lesser of two evils. Well guess what happens when you select the lesser of two evils? You wind up with evil.

Do yourself, your family and the great state of New York a service this November, vote for the Libertarian candidate. Use your vote and your voice to break the political, social and economic monopoly.

This November, vote for liberty. Vote for peace and prosperity. Vote for the free market system that made this Republic strong. Vote for your beliefs and your conscience. Vote your heart.

Stand with the Libertarian Party of New York, we stand with you!

Todd G. Haggerty,
Chairman, Capital District Libertarian Party

Judicial Indecision

The judicial branch represents one third of our Constitutional Republic, a final check on the other two (Executive and Legislative). Many argue that the judicial branch has been engaged in “judicial activism”, a practice whereby judges make rulings based on their personal beliefs and opinions of a law, regulation or government practice rather than the law itself.

Although the argument could be made that judges should and do make rulings based on previous judicial precedent and interpretations, activism becomes apparent when two different judges make two completely different rulings, regarding the same issue.

This was the case regarding the NSA’s surveillance and intelligence gathering program(s). The NSA, in its efforts to keep us safe, maintain the position that our civil liberties must be surrendered. They collect billions of text messages, phone calls and emails, without cause or a warrant.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that such a practice was, “almost Orwellian” and “probably unconstitutional”. I would argue that anything “almost Orwellian” would be patently unconstitutional but I’m not a federal judge. I would further argue that bulk collection of millions of Americans phone calls just because maybe the government will thwart a terrorist act based off some information it may or may not review, is completely unconstitutional.

Anyway, this week a different federal judge (from NY) ruled the NSA’s program(s) were, “lawful” and “a counter punch to al Qaeda”. This ruling represents the complete opposite of the previous judges ruling. Citizens should ask themselves, “how can two different judges view the constitutionality of a law, regulation or surveillance program like the NSA’s so different?

Perhaps the question should be, “how long until the judicial branch is obsolete and just another partisan arm of either the executive or legislative branch”?

The NSA and Grandma.

Today, a federal judge ruled that “maybe” the NSA’s policy of monitoring and collecting hundreds of billions of phone calls, text messages and emails violates the fourth amendment of the Constitution.

I must be a rocket scientist with a minor in brain surgery because I can tell you in two seconds that a secret government surveillance operation in which every American citizen is followed, recorded and documented without a warrant is not only wrong, it’s profoundly unconstitutional!

On one hand, I’m glad tHE federal judge had the minerals to at least start the process to slow the liberty-destroying train that is the NSA. On the other hand, I’m disappointed the judge immediately stayed his decision.

So the NSA can and will continue to trash our civil liberties in the name of national security. Neo-cons will continue to support these policies and uber-lefties will too because they dare not oppose the Messiah.

I guess liberty- loving Libertarians will have to fight this battle alone. No worries, were used to it.

Todd Haggerty
Chairman, CDLP

Government Disdain for “We the People”

For decades, concerned American citizens (like myself) have been critical of a runaway federal government that increasingly demonstrates a level of disdain for the average, everyday citizen. The evidence has never been more clear or abundant.

I can’t remember when an outright lie, repeated thousands of times by dozens of Democrats, including President Obama can be apologized away by talking heads as, “he needed to be more specific”. I’m talking of course about the ridiculous claims by President Obama, and regurgitated by his followers that ” if you like your plan, you can keep it…period!”

Well, obviously that is not the case and when average everyday citizens (like myself) ask for accountability from my Congresspeople and President, somehow, I’m wasting their time. Worse, my concerns are unwarranted, meaningless or “politically charged” and discredited.

So now we have a “standoff”. On one side, the American people, many who have had their health insurance plans dumped because of Obamacare. On the other side, we have delusional, career, partisan politicians like Pelosi, Schumer and even President Obama himself who simply can’t be bothered with having to explain themselves and the failures of their forced policies to the “common folk”. If you’re lucky enough to get an apology, it usually sounds something like, ” gee…sorry you were too stupid to not understand I was gong to strip your health insurance plan right from underneath your feet so I could force you into my socialized federal system”.

What will you do about it?

Todd Haggerty,
Chairman CDLP

Election Results

Now that all the local election results are posted, the winners and losers officially declared, let’s review the good and bad.

Let me start by saying I am very proud of my friend Robert “Bar” Porter, he ran a spirited and well organized campaign, unfortunately the political machine in Albany was too much for us to overcome. That being said, Robert fell short in his bid for Albany’s City Council in the 9th Ward.

However, I congratulate him on securing 17% of the votes for that ward, one of the highest performing races for a Libertarian candidate in NYS!
Robert’s message of lower taxes and limited government resonated with many voters.

Running for office is very difficult and becoming ever more so. With each passing Legislative Session, more election laws are added. Many of these laws exclude third party candidates and so-called “citizen legislators” from participating in our Constitutional Republic. We need less career politicians and more citizen legislators.

Who will you support?

Todd Haggerty,
Chairman CDLP

CDLP Bylaws! Maybe not that boring . . .

Most organizations operate under some type of charter or set of bylaws. It lets members operate under the assumption of shared goals and ideas. They provide a manual to the operation. The CDLP is no different. Our new set of bylaws are now available on this site. Check out how we roll! Special thanks to our Secretary Jeff Russell for providing the final revised copies.Transparency is a vital issue to Libertarians everywhere.

CDLP Bylaws