A woman who kept a colony of rabbits in a garden yard behind an apartment building in Gowanus has been issued a summons to face charges of animal cruelty.
The woman, Dorota Trec, faces 124 counts of torture and failure to feed the animals, the New York Police Department said on Thursday. She’s scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on March 13, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said.
Trec, who said she kept the animals to benefit the neighborhood, told amNewYork that she had not seen the charges and disputed the allegations when a reporter told her about them.
“There is no animal cruelty,” she said. “The rabbits were fed. They were properly fed. So there is already something fishy you are telling me.”
Authorities seized 174 rabbits from the garden yard in late January during a cold spell that saw temperatures drop to dangerous lows. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the city’s Animal and Care Control are caring for the animals.
The ACC would not comment on the conditions of the rabbits. The ASPCA said it could not comment on the condition of the animals.
"The rabbits are still legally the property of Dorota Trec," The ASPCA said. "At this time we are not at liberty to find them new homes. However, we will continue to provide medical care and housing for the rabbits.”
Trec called the seizure of the rabbits illegal. “The whole intervention into my project from the beginning was unconstitutional,” she said.
She added that come spring she expects to continue with the project. “I am buying a few rabbits,” she said.