Here's how many of the incidents, seizures and raids go down: Animal Control/Humane Society/SPCA etc. accuses some unsuspecting person of animal cruelty. Often this is the result of an anonymous tip that may or may not be accurate. Motives for making false accusations can be anything from jealousy to simple spite. Animals are seized and taken from their owners. Raids are conducted and often TV crews are on the scene to further intimidate and purposely humiliate the victims. The ACOs run up a bill for feed and board and vet care, which is often unnecessary. The case is quickly run through an court system that is generally ignorant of what is happening (and often doesn't care). Constitutional rights are trampled in the mud, while attorneys for the animal owners - unlike the prosecutors - know next to nothing about how to defend a case in animal law.
Most of the victims do not have the money necessary to win such cases and are ultimately forced to give up their animals when they are unable to pay the legal and boarding bills. Often they agree to surrender the animals in order to avoid stiffer penalties or even jail time.
And yet, breeders and pet owners are called animal abusers and worse. Who is making money off the backs of animals? How did animal welfare agencies turn into animal rights oriented law enforcers? To add insult to injury, the boarding fines "racket" is usually enacted into law - and who do you think writes and lobbies for that legislation? Why, the ones who stand to gain from it, of course.
In the meantime, animals can languish or even die under sub-standard care. Sometimes they pick up diseases where they are being held. Some are transported out of state without the proper health certificates since non-profit organizations are not as tightly regulated as breeders. Often the animals are moved or adopted out before the owner's case has been decided. The animals are adopted out to the highest bidder, in many cases. Some are resold for profit.
When this happens, it is tragic. Animals have been taken from places where they are loved and well cared for, for no good reason except that thieves, under the color of law, can make money from their sale.
Lhaso, Come Home!
Original article written by Ranny Green and Joshua Robin; Seattle Times.
Condemned Pooch's Case Back In Court September 2000
Wilton Rabon, the owner of the two dogs, named Word and Parshebe, has tried in vain to get his dogs back. The case has gone all the way to the state Supreme Court and was recently before the Court of Appeals for the second time. Parshebe died in the 5 by 20 foot cage where she and Word have been caged since 1993. The legal battle has cost taxpayers over $200,000.
Rabon, 56, visits the still living Word at least twice a month. Rabon is on a fixed income and does not have his own transportation. Not a day goes by that he doesn't think of his precious little dog. Word remains isolated in the shelter, his room and board costing taxpayers $10 a day. Rabon was found guilty of four counts of owning vicious animals in violation of the Seattle Municipal Code and sentenced to probation and community service. The dogs were not on a leash when he walked them and it is likely the city chose to make an example of him, demonstrating the importance of its leash law.
Thomas Castagna, an assistant Seattle city attorney, said the lhasa apsos were a threat to public safety and so two years after Rabon's conviction, the city moved to kill them. The attorneys for Rabon, who is poor, have represented him for free and put in hundreds of hours to help him get his pets back. One of the attorneys told the press that, "They cannot go snatching up people's property right and left, and that's what they did in his case." The attorneys have also argued that Rabon had a special emotional relationship with Parshebe and Word and they with him. Mr. Rabon has not yet given up hope that one day Word can come home where he belongs.
Canine con gets reprieve after 8 years. Word has escaped death row, but he's not exactly free.
The 11-year-old Lhasa apso will live out his life at Pigs Peace, an Arlington animal sanctuary where he was transferred Saturday after an eight-year legal battle. The decision to send Word to Arlington was a tough one because Rabon was hoping his dog would be allowed to come home. Rabon doesn't own a car, so he will have to rely on friends for rides, she said. Until Word's release - and his mother's death - they were locked in a 5-by-20-foot cage at the Seattle Animal Control shelter.
Representatives of the Humane Society of Smith County TX say some abuse of animals came at the hands of ACOs themselves. One instance involved a Tyler Animal Control officer who had picked up some puppies that were surrendered by their owner. According to a statement made by the kennel manager, the officer talked of a confrontation with the owner, during which the owner thrust a puppy toward the officer. The puppy then bit the officer in the face, according to the statement.
"He then told me he got his revenge later, too," the statement says. "Because the puppy was a surrender, and (because) it had bit him, he got to chop its head off...".
Law enforcement officials reportedly received a call about a loose dog and discovered six others - described by law enforcement as skinny and malnourished - on Alvarez's property. Alvarez was issued citations totaling more than $1,000 for failure to vaccinate, but was not arrested.
A more recent instance - currently under investigation - involved another current officer. On June 1, the officer brought in an unconscious dog. According to shelter staff, he dragged the limp dog by its neck, using a control stick, and left it in a kennel; he sought no medical attention for the dog, stating "it would be all right." Two hours later, the dog went into a seizure and died.
"The dog died two hours after he dropped the dog off, but there was no treatment administered by the shelter at all," Smith said. "The dog was euthanized and there was no postmortem exam performed so there is no way of knowing if the dog died of heat exhaustion or a crushed trachea, which has been alleged."
Jacksonville, FL. ACO Charged with DogfightingAn animal control officer new on the job is accused of misusing his position by fighting dogs in his custody instead of protecting them. Troy Major, who is 35-years-old, was arrested this week at his home after police say they found two dogs at his home that had been property of the Animal Control. The police report says that besides dogs, dog fighting equipment used to train dogs was found at Major's home.
In Pennsylvania anyone affiliated with a non-profit can become a Humane Enforcement Officer. For a fee, you can receive a badge. Sally Chavez-Casler, the founder of Broken Arrow Animal Sanctuary, seized 31 animals. (21 puppies, three baby goats, and seven adult dogs). However, according to court records, Casler had been found guilty of cruelty to animals in 2006. The victim of the seizure, Yvonne Murken fought the charges against her and fought to get her animals back.
Casler had been found guilty of keeping a black Labrador retriever-mix in her home in a cage that was so small the dog could not stand up without hitting its head. Further, the court also found that the dog had an inadequate amount of drinking water. It was further revealed that Casler offered puppies for adoption that were covered in feces and fleas. She did not appeal the charges and paid the fine. Though her sanctuary was promoted as a "no-kill" organization, a fellow officer stated that she often would euthanize animals "on the spot."
Casler made similar claims against others and was able to get a search warrant for Murkens' residence based on such a claim!
Murkens, 62, whose friends rallied in support of her, describes herself as the "goat lady." Her supporters told the press had been unfairly treated. Murkens had been a dairy farmer for over 27 years and was in the middle of a landlord/tenant dispute when the raid and seizure occurred. I wonder who made the anonymous tips to AC? After fighting the good fight, Murkens got most of her animals back and charges were dropped.
ACO convicted of Animal Cruelty
Howard Hawkinberry, 37, picked up a cat that had been struck by a car and had several broken bones. He kept the cat for more than 20 hours without taking it to a veterinarian or euthanizing it. He said that the woman who called him to pick up the cat asked him to take care of it until she could get it to a veterinarian the next day. The judge gave him a 30 day suspended sentence and probation and ordered him to pay court costs. His supervisor at the Marion County animal control office said she cannot believe the verdict. Hawkinberry said he plans to appeal and his boss says she plans to keep him on the job. What!!!???
During the search the K-9 dog indicated the presence of drugs in two vehicles on the property and police found drug paraphernalia in both vehicles. A second Animal Shelter employee was arrested by the CPD earlier that morning for driving on a suspended license. The arrest occurred when she responded to a call concerning a dog that had been hit by a car. She was charged with driving the Animal Shelter truck with a suspended license.
* * * * * * * * * *August 2007: Before she reportedly left town a few weeks ago, a former ACO for the Village of Bradley (IL) harbored more than 40 dogs, 29 cats and 19 snakes in her single-family home She is lost her job with the village and the animals were removed from the home. Robert Simpson, a member of the village zoning board of appeals, complained about her animals a year before the seizure but nothing was done. "Some people couldn't sit on their porches because of the smell," Simpson told the village board. "That house, as far as we're concerned in the neighborhood, should have been torn down."
The couple did not accuse the shelter of Sasha's death. No one at the shelter had a clue why she died. (I'll bet) Policy was changed and now employees can release dogs in special situations. This is a tragic story, but even more tragic is the fact that the county administration plans to hire the Humane Society of the United States to conduct a $25,000 peer review of the shelter. I feel sick.
October 2007: A former South Bend Indiana ACO lived in house with 88 animals. A co-worker said that recently dogs have been "accidentally" put to sleep before their owners could pick them up at the shelter. According to South Bend’s city ordinance, the shelter holds an animal with tags for five days. If the dog or cat is not claimed the animal runs the risk of being put to sleep. Eric Antonazzi, who was fired recently from South Bend Animal Control, says in the past month the staff accidentally put two pit bulls to sleep before they should have been. Reminds me of PeTA.
Ortega offered to buy the bird from Spector, but Spector said he wanted to find the owner first. A few days later, Spector told police that a man named Jose called him and said he was the bird's owner. But when Spector asked Jose to describe the bird, Jose couldn't do it well enough to prove that he was the owner. Spector called animal control to report the suspicious call and learned that Ortega never filed a report on the missing bird.
Ortega, who allegedly had the man pose as the bird's owner so he could get possession of it, was charged with attempted grand theft. Spector is a former New York City police officer who retired to Port St. Lucie and started a reptile education business.
made of when the video was put up on YouTube. After a court fight of several months, he eventually got his dogs returned. They were alive, but unfortunately not in the exceptionally good condition that they had left in. He is considered one of the fortunate ones.
2008 - Kansas City, MO. An 87-year-old woman's dog, Buddy, was euthanized despite calls and e-mails to Animal Control that she wanted her beloved pet back. The woman had let her dog out but then fell asleep and by the time she went to let him back in, he had run off. A volunteer who helps to find lost dogs put Buddy on several lost dog registries and two days later she received information that Buddy had been picked up by animal control. The woman was ecstatic that her dog had been found and the volunteer wrote emails and called animal control to let them know the owner had been found and would be there to pick up Buddy. When the woman arrived, however, she was told Buddy had been put to sleep the day before. They hadn't even checked their messages until it was too late.
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !2008 - Idaho Falls, ID - The state attorney general's office had to decide whether to file criminal charges against a sheriff's deputy accused of shooting a dog three times after first asking its owner to tie it to a tree. Questions about other sheriff's deputy led various community leaders to question the competence of the sheriff's office. None of the three deputies were available for comment.
Complaints from a woman who claimed the dog mauled her, triggered the events. The owner said Bobby was a friendly dog and played well with all the neighborhood children. He tied the family pet to a tree at the officer's request and asked what proof there was that Bobby had bitten anyone. Then he said the officer said he "didn't need proof" to shoot the dog, so he did - 3 times with a rifle. Bullets hit Bobby once in the head and twice in the neck.
Idaho law allows a dog one bite without consequence, but after a second bite, a court can order a dog be destroyed. However, Bobby never bit anyone. The owner went to the hospital after a severe panic attack. When they returned, they found Bobby was still alive and had crawled onto the porch. They took the dog to the vet.
July 2009. Delray Beach FL Should this one go in the Do As I Say, Not As I Do or The Poetic Justice files?
The matter came to the attention of a Boynton Beach ACO because a neighbor complained that too many cats were in Feldmann's home. The neighbor further stated that the dog looked uncomfortable, had open wounds on her back and was found in a dirty cage. A putrid smell was apparent throughout the home, according to the ACO's report.
Feldmann's husband was civilly cited for animal cruelty and faced a $258 fine. The ACO maintained that the family could have either seen a vet for the dog's medical problems or get the dog euthanized. Feldmann said she was forced to put the dog to sleep. "It's humiliating and embarrassing," she said. " Indeed it is.
Janet Torren had called the local animal control office and left a message with her dog's name, description, microchip number and microchip company name. Torren returned to her son's town, where neighbors helped her search for her dog to no avail. Torren received a phone message from animal control officer Bousquet stating that she had not seen or found a dog that fit Torren's description. After leaving several messages for Bousquet, Torren finally spoke with the animal control officer by phone.
"She was so sharp and rude to me, it was unbelievable," said Torren. "She was telling me I needed to show her respect and that she was a police officer. I was frantic and so sick to my stomach, but it wasn't going to stop me from looking for my dog. I couldn't picture Shai just vanishing off the face of the earth."
Eventually, records revealed that it was ACO Bousquet who had the dog's chip scanned. Torren immediately called Bousquet and left a message to let her know what she had discovered and that she would call the police and file charges. Initially, Bousquet denied everything but finally admitted that she knew where Torren's dog was - with her new owners at the airport in Boston, waiting to fly to Florida.
In November 2008, Karley had gotten out of her owner's backyard and was being brought back by neighbor. Another neighbor - the assistant fire chief, offered to bring her back himself. The neighbor then witnessed the fire chief erupt in violence, punching Karley 10-15 times in the head first with his fist, then with a 12 lb rock. Karley was so severely beaten that she had to be euthanized hours later.
It seems Johnson attacked Karley in vengeance, after years of fighting with the Toole family (Karley's owners). Over the years, Johnson had engaged in shouting matches with the Toole's using a bullhorn and had placed dog excrement in their mailbox. Another witness said this was not an isolated event and there was a long history of anger and frustration between Johnson and the Tooles.
The D.A. questioned Johnson about his violent past, bringing up an incident which is documented in police reports where Glynn attacked his 14 year old daughter Amber in their backyard after an argument. Johnson pushed his daughter to the ground, hitting her with the buckle end of his belt several times. He then dragged his daughter back into the house where he proceeded to beat her again, shouting "I wish you were dead."
"She projects a warm and fuzzy personality on television ... but she uses the badge and gun as a sword, not a shield to protect animals," said lawyer George Dazzo, who represents pet owners whose animals were seized. Sources said Lucas had clashed repeatedly with the chief legal counsel of the enforcement unit, Stacy Wolf. Lucas, who earned more than $200,000 in salary and benefits in 2008, was paid more than a year's salary as part of a buyout agreement.
Patrick O'Keefe, a top official at the ASPCA's Henry Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan, also abruptly resigned. The ASPCA declined to say why, but a investigators were checking a lead that the death of a Rottweiler was caused by being kicked and choked by a vet at the hospital. The Rottweiler's owner is suing the ASPCA.
Philip Stoddard, dog lover, took over ownership of Cyrus after the attack and is looking for a stay of execution. He said the county's dangerous dog ordinance is unconstitutional and that there is not enough evidence to prove that Cyrus is dangerous to anyone. He laughed when asked if he thought Cyrus was a dangerous dog. "They're about the most cuddly breed of dog you can possibly imagine." He will file an appeal to the county to try and save Cyrus. Let's hope Cyrus will fare better than Word, the Lhaso did.