Judge dismisses Charges

reprinted from Associated Press
Posted January 8, 2003

ANGELICA, N.Y. (AP) - A judge dismissed charges against a Hare Krishna couple accused of keeping cattle on their property without a permit.

Rushford Village Justice David Brautigam this week dismissed seven charges against Stephen and Linda Voith "without prejudice," meaning the village could choose to refile the charges, said their attorney, W. Ross Scott.

Public reaction proved mixed in the ongoing debate pitting a village law and neighbors' fears against the Voith's religious beliefs, in which Hare Krishnas highly regard the protection of cows.

The village had charged the family with violating the law prohibiting the keeping of farm animals in the village, 80 miles south of Buffalo. The Voiths own one adult, two yearlings and a calf.

Brautigam noted that the ordinance prohibits keeping farm animals in the village without a permit unless the owner has at least 10 acres of land on which the animals can graze, some of which can be in the village.

"The lack of a permit by the defendant, the size of his lot and the lack of its being adjacent to a farm with total acreage qualifying for an exemption are all absent," Brautigam wrote.