Judge orders Hare Krishna family to remove cows

AP, May 8, 2003

BELMONT, N.Y. — A judge has given a Hare Krishna couple 15 days to remove four cows from their property, ruling the animals violate a village law.

Judge Michael Nenno issued the decision Wednesday, on the second day of court proceedings brought by the Village of Angelica against Stephen and Linda Voith.

Angelica 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 court does find that there is no vagueness in the ordinance that is on the books,” Nenno said in Allegany County Court.

The Voiths and the village have been battling over the cows for more than two years, with the Voiths claiming the village is persecuting them because of their religion.

Hare Krishnas honor cows and include them in religious ceremonies. The practice does not sit well in an agricultural area with beef and dairy farms, Stephen Voith said.

“They don’t want our kind,” he said.

During the court hearing, village attorney Raymond Bulson called as witnesses several neighbors who complained about the smell, manure and flies.

The Voiths live on a 2.5-acre plot just within the village limits of Angelica, about 80 miles south of Buffalo.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday May 13, 2003.
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