The Honorable Arthur G. Pitts, Justice of
the Supreme Court of the State of New York,
issued his decision on our appeal of the
Town of Smithtown's refusal to issue us
a certificate of prior use permit . The
Town had changed it's zoning code last year
to exclude animal hospices (i.e. Angel's
Gate) from residential neighborhoods, in
essence to force Angel's Gate to move away.
Judge Pitts found " Clearly, the record
before the Court establishes that prior
to the amendment of the town zoning ordinance,
the petitioner's use of their property was
legal and accordingly, the petitioners are
entitled to a pre-existing use permit. ....the
findings of the ..ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals)
denying the petitioner's application was
arbitrary and capricious without regard
to the facts presented ...."
What this means is that Angel's Gate may
remain in it's home of 14 years and we can
continue to serve our community.
We, Susan and Victor, want to send our
heart felt thanks to our Attorneys at LeBoeuf,
Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP and especially
Ms. Jamie Jackson, Esq. who made our appeal
to the Supreme Court; to Dan Dillon Esq.
who early on came to our aid and represented
us to the ZBA; to all our volunteers who
"kept the faith" and to all our
well wishers who sent donations, signed
petitions, attended meetings and protested
on our behalf and who prayed for us.
This past year has been one of great anguish,
tension and strain. It has drained our energies
and resources but there was never a doubt
that we would stand up for our rights, for
the animals in our care and that we would
The following letter was published in Newsday
Angel's Gate caregivers: angels
Upon reading "Animal hospice gets
reprieve" [News, Sept. 25], I was relieved
to learn that a State Supreme Court judge
ruled in favor of letting Angel's Gate in
Fort Salonga remain. It's sad that the selfless
couple who care for these animals have to
fight so hard just for the right to keep
As a society, we benefit from companion
animals in myriad ways. They're even used
to comfort patients in nursing homes and
hospitals, to provide independence for the
disabled and to help protect us, and they
serve in our military. Yet when animals
are ill and need our help, there is little
to be found.
Domesticating animals means making them
dependent on us. This comes with responsibility.
But far from acting responsibly, we allow
them to breed to the point where millions
of healthy cats and dogs are euthanized
in shelters or die on the street every year.
Meanwhile, Angel's Gate caregivers have
spent years providing a home for animals
with special needs. They are to be praised,
Ms. Bissick's point about our responsibilities
toward domesticated animals is excellent
. We are of course grateful for her support.
The Smithtown Town Council voted 4 to 1
to have the Town Attorney file an appeal
of the State Supreme Court's ruling. Victor
LaBruna read a brief statement to the Council
after their vote today, pointing out that
they are continuing to try to work around
the law even though they know that targeting
us is an illegal use of the Town's code
and that have known from the start that
we were within our rights to have a hospice
for animals in our residence. Click
here to see his complete statement.
If you would like
to help you can write and/or call: