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Considine Legal Defense Fund
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Considine has been recognized for his outstanding genetic accomplishments, receiving hundreds of awards and championships of his animals. His herd of Sunshine Farms dairy goats has achieved national champion status in several breeds. He has been recognized as the Premier Breeder at the prestigious ADGA National Shows for many years.
His eye for quality is well-known, and his fine-tuned management skills; intensive hard work; and dedication to the goat industry has enabled him to achieve these accomplishments repeatedly.
Considine is a sought-after ADGA judge, with more experience than the majority of dairy goat judges active today, and has judged all across the United States and internationally as well.
His knowledge of goats and the goat industry has enabled him to work in arenas such the export of goat genetics, and as a presenter at many local, regional, national, and international functions.
Considine is also a life-time member of
the American Dairy Goat Association, and has served repeated terms as
the President of ADGA, as well as chair of many committees throughout
his long tenure as a member of the ADGA Board of Directors.
By Tori Rosin
Daily Register (Portage Wisconsin newspaper)
The proof of Daniel Considine's success in dairy goat farming is all over his 42-acre Fort Winnebago farm .
Awards from the past five years line the walls of his office. Every few years, Considine removes the plaques to make room for new awards. They share space with a cabinet holding 14 Premier Breeder of Show trophies from past American Dairy Goat Association competitions. "I'll never throw those away," Considine said.
Ribbons from the 2003 Wisconsin and Minnesota State Fairs and banners from the 2002 North American International Livestock Competition in Louisville, Ky. encircle the farm's milking barn.
Besides Considine's day-to-day work raising goats and producing milk, he's judged goat competitions in Canada, Bermuda, and Brazil. Considine has also been the president of the American Dairy Goat Association's organization nine times from 1983 to 2003.
But the latest event in Considine's life is less positive. "It's sobering to know there are officials in my own county who think I should be in prison," he said. "Anyone could be facing what I'm facing."
Earlier this year, Columbia County prosecutors charged Considine, 58, with three counts of felony animal abuse allegedly occurring during the spring of 2003. He entered a not guilty plea to the charges earlier this month. If Considine is convicted of the charges after a February 2005 trial, he faces a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison.
For Considine, the irony of the case lies in the fact he has worked in the dairy goat field since he bought, bred and raised purebred Toggenburg dairy goats in 1956. "I've been known to do a good job with animals. I've made a career of being careful with animals," he said. "Hopefully people will understand when this is done that this has never changed."
Since the case is going to trial, Considine can't talk about the accusations made by Larry and Diana Moyer. "I am trying to really hold my tongue," he said. "I have much I want to say."
The couple worked for him four to six times per year over a five year period before moving into a trailer on the farm in the winter 2003, Considine said.
The couple alleged that during the time they lived on the farm, Considine killed a baby goat by repeatedly striking it on the head with a hammer, performed a caesarean section on a mother goat without using anesthesia, leaving her to die, and helping college students set a goat on fire before slitting its throat. "The details are basically all wrong here," Considine said.
Considine said while the Moyers lived on the farm, they didn't approach him with any concerns about Considine's practices.
The Moyers gave Considine notice they were leaving the farm in July, and Considine didn't object. "It was supposed to be a mutually beneficial agreement. It didn't work out, but we tried," Considine said. The couple made their report to the sheriff's office Aug. 4. Deputy William Laughlin then spoke with Considine about the allegations.
When Laughlin left, Considine said he believed the matter was over. Aside from a call from some animal rights organizations to remove Considine from his post as the current president of the American Dairy Goat Association in November and December, he was shocked when the charges were filed in January. Considine asked the American Dairy Goat Association to transfer the presidency to Robin Saum, an Ohio farmer in mid-January.
The allegations have hurt his business, and he's received angry phone calls and mail from people who have heard about the case. On the other hand, fellow dairy goat farmers, college friends and people whom Considine said he vaguely knows have shown their support by the hundreds.
"Daniel is probably one of the best dairy goat managers in the entire country," dairy goat farmer Judy Kapture, who also lives in the Portage area, said. "He's just very good. I've been raising goats for 50 years, but whenever I have a question, I call Daniel."
No matter the outcome of the case, Considine is concerned about other farmers facing the same charges. "Some people tell me they now don't allow visitors they don't know on their farm," he said. Considine feels if dairy goat farmers don't allow visitors, fewer people will be interested in the occupation.
For now, Considine will concentrate on his milk production and bimonthly deliveries, along with starting the breeding season for his Alpines, Nubian and Toggenburg goats next week. "To have a chance to work with animals and their genetics is something I find worthwhile," he said.
NEWS! The case has been dismissed! At the request of the Prosecuting Attorney, this case was dismissed! Thanks to all who supported Daniel throughout this ordeal. Following is a message from him:
It was really great to have gotten the support from fellow goat keepers. Both the understanding of you people & your support through the Khimaira site & through donations that were put directly into the defense account were greatly appreciated.
With the billing for September work from my attorney, the costs to defend these charges came to just under $5000. When I started seeking legal help, I got quotes as high as $20000. So I feel fortunate both in the attorney I used & in the dismissal before the case went any more months.
The donations came to just over $4000. This was a very big help.
Thanks, Daniel Considine
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