A judge has ordered Angel's Gate, a notorious animal hospice based in the Delaware County town of Meredith, to close immediately, sell all its assets and donate the proceeds to a legitimate animal charity.
Angel's Gate, which had a mission of caring for disabled and dying animals, was once lauded by Oprah and Rachel Ray and received millions of dollars in donations.
In 2011, an undercover investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accused Susan Marino, the owner of Angel's Gate, of rampant animal abuse. In 2012, Marino was arrested on animal cruelty charges.
Later in 2012, the New York attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against Marino and her hospice, accusing her of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations given to Angel's Gate. According to news reports at the time, then Marino decided to close the hospice.
Now Judge John F. Lambert, an acting Delaware County Supreme Court judge based in Cooperstown, has ordered Angel's Gate to dissolve immediately, according to a press release issued on Wednesday, Oct. 14 by Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general.
Litigation over the dissolution of Angel's Gate in Delaware County's Supreme Court dragged on for years, with Judge Carl Becker ordering "Angel’s Gate and Marino to cease operations and remove all animals in their care," according to the attorney general's press release.
Marino submitted a plan to close the hospice, but the attorney general's office objected to it, arguing that it would "allow Marino to continue ownership of Angel’s Gate’s real property with nothing going to the charitable purposes for which the money was raised."
The attorney general's office asked that Marino's plan for dissolving the hospice be rejected. The case went to trial in July 2015.
In an order issued on Sept. 28, Judge Lambert sided with the attorney general's office and threw the book at Marino and Angel's Gate, according to the attorney general's press release:
After a trial, Justice Lambert found that Ms. Marino had wholly mismanaged the charitable funds while continuing to live on the property as her primary residence. The Court went on to find that Marino used the donated funds to provide for many of her living expenses without any oversight by an inactive Board of Directors. The Court appointed a permanent receiver to sell the real property and assess claims of creditors. After the property is sold and creditors paid, the remaining funds will be directed to another animal care and protection charity.
Angel's Gate owns a 98-acre tract of land in Meredith, which Marino purchased in 2008 for $500,000, according to property tax records. Last year, the property was assessed at $174,900. According to the attorney general's office, that property will now be sold with the proceeds going to an animal charity.
A website, angelsgate.info, has posted a portion of the judge's decision along with a plea for rescuers to pick up the remaining disabled animals that it says are living at Angel's Gate.