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Superior court ruling could open door to animal abuse charges at Pa. dairy farm

Martin Farms{ } Source: 7 News
Martin Farms Source: 7 News
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Animal Outlook has been given the legal avenue to renew its claim of animal abuse at a Pennsylvania dairy farm after a decision by a panel of Judges with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

The D.C.-based animal rights group first made claims of animal abuse in 2019 at Martin Farms in Chambersburg, Pa.

In a decision, the Superior Court found that a lower court made multiple errors of law in rendering its decision in 2020 to not grant Animal Outlook's lower court appeal of the Franklin County District Attorney's Office decision not to pursue criminal charges.

The three judges said Animal Outlook established a prima facie case for aggravated cruelty, cruelty, and neglect for moving downed cows, excessive shocking, disbudding, and tail twisting.

"They found that there was enough evidence for cruelty. They found these animals and these practices were not exempt from prosecution and they essentially ordered the lower court to tell the Prosecutor to initiate criminal charges," says Will Lowrey, the lead attorney on the appeal for Animal Outlook.

Original 7News investigation: Nestlé dairy supplier accused of animal abuse; cows being punched, kicked, stomped on

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has remanded the case to the trial court to issue an order directing the Prosecutor in Franklin County to prosecute the aforementioned charges.

"I feel like the biggest hurdle for us was just to get it in front of the judges. I mean we had gone through a Prosecutor who said there was no criminal activity. We had gone through a lower court judge who said no criminal activity and we have been at this for years to just try and get a judge or judges to look at the plain language of the law and say that there was criminal activity. We finally got that chance and the judges obviously carefully considered our arguments and they ended up siding with us which is great news for the animals," adds Lowery.

7News story about District Attorney Office's decision not to file criminal charges: No charges filed against workers at PA Dairy Farm

Read the Superior Court decision here:

We reached out to Martin Farms on February 10th in connection to the latest development in court and so far 7News has not received a response.

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Also on February 10th, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers who in the past have released statements on behalf of Martin Farms tell 7News it has no comment at this time.

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