Archives for Legislation category

Pets Alive Seeks Justice for Abused Horses

This is a story about how the legal system failed. This isn’t fiction. This isn’t something that happened somewhere you have never heard of, in some place far away. This happened here, in our back yard. This happened at Pets Alive.  It’s not about someone who made a mistake, or about people who didn’t know better. It’s about willful maliciousness. It’s about someone who was knowingly cruel. It’s about someone who starved animals intentionally. Someone who let horses be crippled and rabbits freeze to death and chickens live with missing limbs. It’s about how the laws that were supposed to protect these animals failed, and about why. It’s about corruption and it’s about money It is also about how whom you know influences what crimes you are capable of getting away with.  This story is about our community.

In early December, 2014, Heather Hallack and Gene Hecht from the Hudson Valley SPCA contacted Pets Alive. They were seeking placement for five horses and a pony about to be seized from Johanna Kloer of Blooming Grove. We knew about Johanna. Pets Alive Farm Manager, Cindy O’Brien, had been to her property before, in 2014 when she was contacted by a Good Samaritan who was attempting to help out some of the animals under Johanna’s care. This Good Samaritan had multiple concerns about the treatment of the animals on the grounds and was seeking help specifically for a pig whose hooves were so overgrown that she could no longer stand. Cindy spoke to Johanna about surrendering the pig to our sanctuary, and when Johanna told Cindy that there was no better place for the pig than under her care and kicked Cindy off of the property, there wasn’t much we could do. We did what we could. The pig disappeared. We can only assume what happened to her. Nothing happened to Johanna. This pattern has repeated itself for many years. People file complaints. Write letters. Make phone calls. Get frustrated. Collect evidence. Take photos. Time and time again it was been proven that the conditions on Johanna’s property were and are horrendous. And nothing would happen to Johanna Kloer. She has gotten away with it over and over again.

 

002And then finally Cindy got the call out of the blue in December that someone was finally paying attention to all of the allegations that had been brought against Johanna for years, and she was being brought up on cruelty charges. Her animals would be seized. They would be safe. Could we help with placement? Of course we could.  Plans were made for the horses and pony to arrive within days. Cindy, along with  Andrew, our amazing part-time barn worker, threw themselves into their work to get ready for the horses to arrive.  Everyone on the team pitched in. Blankets were bought, hay and feed ordered, vet appointments made. Stalls and barns made ready. Fences reinforced. Meetings held, plans made. Optimism. Faith that a new life would be had for these animals. Pride that we could be a part of it.

 

When the horses arrived, our hearts broke. One horse, only ten years  old, could barely walk. Another had teeth so rotten he could not eat. Hipbones were visible. Their coats were dull and matted. Their spirits were broken and their eyes were dark. These horses had not known joy in a long, long time. Cindy and Andrew, with help from the rest of the Pets Alive team set about making the horses well. And they got better. They gained weight – over 100 pounds each. They pranced around in the pastures. They knew gentleness and love. They received immediate and constant medical care.  They knew a life without pain for the first time in a long time. They were safe.025

While the horses were busy recovering, the trial began to take shape.  Assistant District Attorney Theresa Cayton was assigned to the case, and that should have been our first indication that Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler wasn’t taking this trial seriously.  Hoovler, who touted “Zero tolerance to animal cruelty in Orange County” as part of his campaign platform, assigned Theresa Cayton to the case. Cayton had never handled an animal cruelty case.

One of the first things that happened was that all but 8 of the counts of cruelty Miss Kloer had been charged with were dropped, with the DA’s office pursuing only the counts against the horses. This was despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty to the rabbits and chickens on the property. This evidence included rabbits living in hutches with no shelter of blockage from the wind. These hutches were filled inches deep with urine and feces, and that was covered with snow. Several of the rabbits were found alive, frozen to the wire bottoms of the cages. Chickens were discovered to have resorted to cannibalism, having been starved for so long that they were eating each other alive. None of this information was presented in court because in New York State, chickens and rabbits don’t have many rights.

006 Our farm manager Cindy was called to testify at the trial and tried her best to assist the ADA, who knew next to nothing about horses. One of the key witnesses in the case was our farrier, who saw the horses on the day of their arrival. He likely would not have been called to testify at all had Cindy not suggested him.

Despite the evidence that was NOT presented in court, Judge Stephen Smith still found the evidence brought against Kloer serious enough to convict her of FOUR counts of cruelty and neglect. Even though this isn’t nearly sufficient, since Miss Kloer is clearly a monster who cares nothing for animals, it was better than nothing and it should have, at the very least, been enough to prevent her from reclaiming the very animals she had neglected, tortured and starved, especially since all of the facilities holding the animals (including ours) had offered to provide safe permanent homes.

Except it wasn’t.

In an unprecedented decision, Judge Stephen Smith decided to return the animals to Miss Kloer with “special circumstances.”

Yes. You heard me right. Judge Smith gave the animals BACK to the woman who starved, neglected and abused them. He imposed four unbelievably lenient and ridiculously useless “special circumstances” on Miss Kloer. These “circumstances” are that Miss Kloer is subject to just four unannounced visits from humane law officers, and that she must record medical care the horses receive for a period of one year. That’s it. Four visits by Humane Law over 365 days.

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So it was that on March 8, 2015, David Hoovler’s offices called and let us know that by law, we must allow Miss Kloer onto our property without incident to reclaim her horses. We had no choice.  Judge Smith ordered they be returned immediately EVEN THOUGH MISS KLOER WAS NOT YET SENTENCED.

Our staff stood helplessly by while this monster entered our barn and loaded her horses into a trailer. Solingen was still recovering from lice, which we told Miss Kloer when she arrived.  She shoved her into the trailer alongside the other 4 horses and pony – likely giving ALL of them lice. A trailer that was meant for 5 horses. She pulled off the blankets we had purchased for the horses and threw them aside with no regard to the freezing temperatures, despite the fact that we offered them to her. Apparently her horses don’t need to be warm. She was cruel in even the simplest of tasks.

We were outraged. We were heartbroken. We were ANGRY.  Our options are limited as a holding facility in this case. Since we are not the organization bringing the lawsuit forward, we cannot file an appeal. We cannot ask for a mistrial. What we CAN do is let our community know that this happened. Orange County Humane Law is doing a good job of pursuing justice on their own. We can’t discuss all that is happening, but please know that on their end, they are doing everything they can to make this right. So are we.

Judge Stephen Smith is an elected official. So is District Attorney David Hoovler. Please help us tell them both that this is NOT JUSTICE.  Tell them that we, citizens of Orange County, want Johanna Kloer in jail. We want the horses returned to us. We want JUSTICE.

Let them know that we want officials who TRULY believe in zero tolerance to animal cruelty in our county.

We’ve set up a few simple ways that you can help bring justice to these horses:

1.  Send a FREE photo postcard with a photo of you and your pet on the front to Judge Smith using this simple app from Postcard.

Take a photo of you and your pet, and write a message explaining why you want Johanna Kloer put in jail for animal abuse. We will then use your photo and message to create physical postcards, delivered directly to Judge Smith at the Blooming Grove Town Hall. Your postcard will help Judge Smith to realize the gravity of this situation, and will help return these horses to safer care and conditions. Click HERE to send a postcard.

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2.  Sign our online petition to Judge Stephen Smith and let him know that you want Johanna Kloer to go to jail, and never be allowed to have animals again.

https://www.change.org/p/justice-stephen-smith-keep-animals-safe-from-convicted-animal-abuser-johanna-kloer

3.  And finally, join us at Johanna Kloer’s sentencing hearing on May 7 at the Blooming Grove Courthouse. As soon as we have more information on that, we will post it on our Facebook page. You can like us HERE.

Filed in Call to Action, Legislation, No-kill by Audrey Lodato on Mar 31, 2015.  There are 9 comments.  

The Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue

A healthy 3 week old kitten arrived at the ACC, and 45 minutes later was killed for “having no mother”.

No adopter or rescuer was given the opportunity to save this kitten.

On Mother’s Day, a mother cat and her two tiny kittens were on the ACC kill list. What in the world?

These are tiny kittens, some as young as two weeks old. Dying by the dozens in our NYC shelters. At Pets Alive we simply could not stand by and watch that. With the help of volunteer, John Sibley, we went in and took 64 kittens (and mamas) out of the NYC shelter system and saved all their little tiny lives.

It is for reasons like this that New York needs a rescue access law like CAARA. CAARA would make it illegal for shelters to kill animals without giving rescues an opportunity to help.

How can it be that the three week old kitten was not even offered to rescue to help?  How is it that these decisions – life and DEATH – can be made so arbitrarily?  At what point do people stop seeing each of these tiny creatures as little lives? Little beings deserving a CHANCE at a life? The kitten was completely healthy. There was no reason to kill her.

Pets Alive is committed to stopping the killing of all animals in the shelter system. We took 64 cats and kittens in one shot.  64.  Think about that number.  64 tiny babies never having a chance at a life. Why? Who decides these things?  With CAARA they wouldn’t have a CHOICE but to let us have a chance to save them all.  That is why Amy Paulin’s bill is worthless, because HER bill wouldn’t stop this. This is why we NEED to pass a law like CAARA.  To save these  delicate lives that some organizations may not care about.

And some of the workers at the CACC do care. Some of them send us emails or get on the phone and ask for help. They feature a dog or a cat and personally take the time to write something about that animal, what they know about that animal. They reach out. They take pictures of the animals being held by people, poignant, loving, affectionate. And what do they get for it? Reprimands. Termination. It is forbidden to take pictures of animals WITH people in them, even though all studies have shown that this can increase adoptability. It seems to us that any staff member there that starts to actually care a little, either has to hide it, or risk termination. We’ve been watching this happen for years. Why does this continue in NYC? When will we get some sort of leadership that cares?

And the lack of care is monstrous. As you know, we have taken dogs from the cacc where their bladders were not expressed and almost burst (Robert). We have taken a cat with a broken leg (Gloria) that was left to sit there for weeks without any care.

And now look at THIS cat. We have named her Mitzee. Her medical sheet says this cat has conjunctivitis.  I’m no vet but even *I* can tell THIS is not plain old simple conjunctivitis. A week later, a vet examination notes a possible ruptured eye. Possible? A week later? But no pain meds? No drops? No ointment? I know this is grainy, but look at this kitten’s intake picture a week before.  Look how bad the eyes looked THEN. Now look at them a WEEK later. Was there any CARE for them, any treatment?

This is an absolutely disgrace and this is what goes on in your NYC shelters.  The BEST city, the most FAMOUS city, one of the RICHEST cities in the nation.

Pets Alive will work feverishly to provide medical care and find loving homes for all of the “Itty Bitty Kitties”. Half of the kittens are at the Middletown NY sanctuary, and half are being cared for at our Elmsford, NY rescue center.

Little Mitzee, the cat pictured above is at risk of going blind. Our vets feel that one of Mitzee’s eyes must be removed and the other needs daily care and possible surgery in order to save her vision, if indeed it can be saved.  Could it have been saved a week ago when she entered into the Animal CARE and Control Facility in NYC?  
Maybe.
Where is the “CARE” part of Animal CARE and Control??

One of the kittens has no foot.  Almost all are sick with URI and various infections. One has already passed away from a massive blockage in her little intestines. Did the staff not notice that she was not defecating? Within less than 24 hours of having her, WE did. But by then it was too late and we lost her early this morning.

Please note that this is not some hoarder. We did not go in and do a mass rescue. This is the New York City Animal Care and Control Facility. YOUR NYC shelter.

The cost to Pets Alive to save this many lives, and handle the medical crisis, the vetting, the altering and the caring for all these cats will be astronomical. But THEY ARE WORTH IT.  These little lives are WORTH saving and WORTH having a chance.  Please help us. Pets Alive is asking for donations to help not only this little kitten have a chance at life, but to help cover costs for all 64 of these saved lives.

How To Help:
Financial donations are urgently needed to help provide continued care and medical treatment for the itty bitty kitties, including Mitzee, who is currently undergoing treatment to try to save her vision. To help provide care for them, donations of kitten food, toys, and scratching posts are also needed. Please also consider welcoming one into your home. They should all be in a home, being loved. Please fill out an application now to adopt an Itty Bitty Kitty.


Because THIS is the kind of life they have now.  Now that they are with us.  We take responsibility for all the animals in our care and we tend to all their needs. This is how every shelter should be run. Including the one in the most famous city in the world. Look at the BEFORE kittens on this page – from the CACC.  And the AFTER kittens – at Pets Alive.  Which do YOU think is the right way?  Support no-kill.  Support CAARA.  Together, let’s put an end to this madness of murdering tiny creatures that haven’t even had a chance at life.

We are trying to pass legislation in NYS that would make this illegal. It would require the director to contact rescue groups and give them 8 hours to respond. Assembly Bill 07312 (CAARA) would empower non-profit animal rescue organizations to fulfill their missions, a right often denied to them by larger non-profit organizations and shelters. It provides whistleblower protection for rescue groups, creating an incentive for non-profit organizations to help end cruelty or neglect at shelters without fear of retaliation and loss of rescue access. It has specific provisions to ensure that these groups have the best interests of animals at heart and are able to care for them. And it prevents needless animal suffering by mandating precise, sensible, and objective criteria for determining which animals are dangerous or irremediably suffering and therefore exempt from rescue access provisions.

The bill will be voted on in the next week or two. Unfortunately, the ASPCA is trying to kill it, and the chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, William McGee, is willing to do their bidding by recommending that the bill be tabled. That will be the continued kiss of death for 25,000 animals a year who have an immediate place to go.

Please help us pass the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act by Kellner. Use all three alerts to reach ALL members of the Assembly Ag Committee:

Be polite!

Use all three alerts to reach ALL members of the Assembly Ag Committee:

Alert #1 of 3: http://bit.ly/GJmNH9
Alert #2 of 3: http://bit.ly/GOUkwd
Alert #3 of 3: http://bit.ly/GHR7lW

Let’s stop the madness.  And the murder. 

Filed in Animal Rescue, Legislation, No-kill by kerry on May 16, 2012.  There are 13 comments.  

Pet’s Alive dog ordinance proposal to the Middletown Council

Below is an email sent by Pets Alive to the Middletown Council to consider instead of a city wide insurance requirement for renters.  We hope that they might consider this option instead of the current plan, or working in conjunction WITH the insurance plan:

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In regards to the issue in Middletown with the problem owners of problem dogs.  I think that we are actually on the exact same page about this.  I believe in reading the PDF you posted originally that it doesn’t explain the real issue at stake, and contrary to the mayor’s opinion, we are far from naïve about the issues involving dogs in cities. If we are going to be honest and upfront about this here –  you have some irresponsible citizens using dogs to intimidate, threaten and wreck havoc in your city.  Terrorizing neighbors, making it difficult to do inspections or deal safely with public issues in those areas.

You asked for a possible solution.  I’ve come up with an idea that I’d like to have you all review.

Please forgive me for the convoluted nature of it.  It is just in the “thinking” stages right now, which is why I didn’t voice it last night.  It would need some major fleshing out, but maybe this is a possible solution.

It seems to be that you have the majority of Middletown residents that are law abiding, responsible people.  You also have a fair share of “issue people” with “issue dogs”.  How many would you estimate?  50? 100?  150?  How many would you honestly say are the problem people in the city?  I have no idea what the number would be but I think it would be a fair guess that it is not 95% of the population.

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Filed in Legislation by kerry on Apr 05, 2012.  There are 1 comments.  

Pets Alive’s Speech to the Middletown Council

This speech was given last night, April 3, to the Middletown Council Members in response to the proposed ordinance that would ban the feeding of feral cats and require all renters to carry dog insurance. There were no pictures in my speech. I just added these to break up all this text. The town announced they would continue to review the dog ordinance and were RESCINDING the feral cat ban! THANK YOU MIDDLETOWN COMMON COUNCIL!
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Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak.

My name is Kerry Clair and I am the executive director the Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in Middletown.

We very much appreciate being heard on legislation regarding animal issues.

I’d first like to address the proposal before the council to mandate the purchase of dog insurance by renters.

In every town across the nation, where mandated animal laws were adopted, the law never solved the issue it was supposed to resolve. In every case, towns that adopted ordinances such as insurance requirements, mandatory spay neuter and breed specific legislation have never been successful. The problem is that only the responsible pet owners will follow these mandates. The irresponsible ones will ignore them ANYWAY.

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Filed in Legislation by kerry on Apr 04, 2012.  There are 2 comments.  

Middletown Common Council proposes irresponsible animal legislation

At the last Common Council meeting in Middletown a proposal was made and it appears to have been accepted, to prohibit the feeding of stray or feral cats. This ban on the feeding of feral and stray cats, while on the surface appears to address a problem, will actually cause a MUCH larger problem for cats and animals in Middletown. I am sure that the people proposing this feeding prohibition believe that if people do not feed feral and stray cats that the cats will “move on” and will no longer continue to procreate and reside in the neighborhood.

What the author of this amendment is probably unaware of is that THIS METHOD OF CONTROLLING CAT POPULATIONS HAS NEVER, EVER, WORKED.

The ONLY way to decrease stray and feral populations of cats is by TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return).
I wrote a blog on this very issue some time ago and it is called “Feral Cats – Educating Communities“.

“When cats are removed, rodent popu­la­tions explode and increase the spreading of disease. Instead of eradicating a colony and killing cats, steriliza­tion would be the most effective and humane method of control. Roger Tabor adds that, “if a colony is neutered and returned to its area it will continue to hold the location and keep other cats out by its presence. The group’s popu­lation will gradually decline over a few years.”

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Filed in Legislation by kerry on Apr 01, 2012.  There are 3 comments.  

The Quick Kill Bill, and a question – WHY?

407358_3247471955066_1514951918_2968732_1578087749_nIt has been a very “up and down” couple of days and for many that read the normal Pets Alive twitter and Facebook, we haven’t been up to our usual light hearted tweets and posts.

I learned a long time ago that the thing that keep all of you coming back, and following us, and supporting us, is to feel good about what we do and why, and how, and to show you all that goodness. It makes us feel good too.

That isn’t to say there aren’t horrible things in rescue.  There ARE.  We see it every day, of course. But we don’t feel you need to be pelted with it.  I’d rather show you the picture of that dog AFTER we loved him back into health, or that kitten after we cleaned her up and she is on her way to her forever home.

But sometimes bad things are going on that we need you to step up and fix because without you we are truly powerless.  I can write a letter or call someone on the phone and that can mean nothing at all.  But when we ask all of YOU to, and you DO, it is so tremendously powerful that it brings the opposition to it’s knees.  Collectively we are very powerful and collectively we can implement change.  Good change.  Positive change. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Legislation by kerry on Feb 16, 2012.  There are 5 comments.  

Wind them up, give them a little power, watch them…kill?

NO KILL!So all over the nation the no-kill movement is growing and growing and growing.  Building momentum. More and more people are getting involved, not accepting the status quo (that they “have to die, there are no other options“), and putting an end to the killing in their neighborhoods.  BSL is being fought, kill shelters are frowned upon, TNR is supported and good is conquering evil.

Each day, each week, each month, we hear more and more success stories. We learn more about the good that people are doing and we watch as the “evil-doers” are verbally and legally attacked by their community for their killing. People flooding meetings to standing-room-only status, bringing law suits against their shelters, and standing up for what is right and good.  No longer backing down, but fighting to save lives. The “bad” is no longer covered up, but put out there with the press covering it, blogs light up across the internet with “do you believe this?? SIGN THIS PETITION”.

We rejoice that you are no longer tolerating it.
Good for you.

However it still seems that tiny people with small minds and with a wee bit of “power” are out there abusing it and trying to use it to do harm. Old-style shelter directors, animal hating animal control officers, town officials, co-op board members that seem to have nothing better to do than to continue to try to kill animals that their own communities want to protect and save.

On Tuesday we will be going to court to fight just such a situation.  Let me tell you about it.

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Filed in Legislation, No-kill by kerry on Sep 25, 2011.  There are 21 comments.  

CAARA – URGENT ALERT!

With only a couple of weeks left in the legislative session, it is urgent for New Yorkers to contact NYS Senator Joseph Robach and urge him to bring the Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act (CAARA) to the Senate floor for a vote. CAARA will save roughly 25,000 animals a year currently being killed in New York State shelters despite qualified rescue groups willing to save their lives at no cost to taxpayers.

CAARA would:

  • Make it illegal for shelters to kill animals if qualified rescue groups are willing to save them;
  • End “convenience” killing when there are empty cages and when animals can share kennels or be sent to foster care;
  • Require pounds to post strays, including photographs and descriptions, on the Internet so their families can search for them online;
  • Require transparency in operations by requiring shelters to make their statistics public;
  • Require pounds to scan for microchips, maintain lost/found lists, and match lost with found animals in the shelter;
  • Require fresh food and water, environmental enrichment, clean living environments, as well as prompt and necessary veterinary care; and,
  • Allow shelters to transfer stray animals to rescue groups during the holding period to free up cage space or get vulnerable animals out as soon as possible, subject to the same rights of redemption for the animal’s family.

Senator Robach is a sponsor of CAARA, but he is being opposed by powerful industry groups in his own district. We need to thank Senator Robach for standing up for the animals and urge him to ignore the Naysayers who want to make sure that their power is not upended since they do not represent either his true constituents or the people of New York.

Please telephone or e-mail Senator Robach today: Thank him for sponsoring CAARA and let him know that if he pushes forward, he will be a hero not only to the animals, but also to the many thousands of animal-loving supporters of CAARA, who have written, telephoned, emailed elected officials in Albany to let them know how much we care and want this bill passed as it is currently written.

As always, please be polite and positive.

Telephone: (518) 455-2909
E-mail: robach@nysenate.gov

Filed in Legislation by kerry on Jun 16, 2011.  There are 12 comments.  

Oreo’s Law Redux – WE NEED YOU NOW!

Oreo’s Law (now CAARA) WILL “die” without your calls and letters!

On Monday or Tuesday, Oreo’s Law (now known as CAARA – Companion Animal Adoption & Rescue Act ) will be voted on by the New York State Assembly Agriculture Committee. But it is not likely to pass without a large showing of community support between now and then. That is because the opposition has been lobbying strongly against the bill once again. We told them last year we would NOT allow this to happen again.

WE NEED YOU NOW.

“Where New York goes, SO GOES THE NATION.”

CAARA would:

  • End “convenience” killing when there are empty cages and when animals can share kennels or be sent to foster care
  • Require pounds to post strays, including photographs and descriptions, on the Internet so their families can search for them online
  • Require transparency in operations by requiring shelters to make their statistics public
  • Require pounds to scan for microchips, maintain lost/found lists, and match lost with found animals in the shelter
  • Require fresh food and water, environmental enrichment, clean living environments, as well as prompt and necessary veterinary care

If CAARA is defeated, thousands upon thousands of cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, rabbits, and other animals will continue to be needlessly killed in NYS shelters every year—animals CAARA has the power to save.

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Filed in Legislation by kerry on Jun 03, 2011.  There are 8 comments.  

Does anyone CARE? More on Chesterfield S.C.

DoraToday, marks six weeks since shots rang out in Chesterfield SC, killing as many as 22 dogs, and yet to date no arrests have been made, no criminal charges have been filed and the men accused of these reprehensible acts remain on PAID administrative leave.

Yes.  Paid.  After viciously murdering animals, they can sit home, basically on vacation, and get paid for it.

Sheriff Sam Parker’s office, which oversees the Chesterfield Shelter, initiated the investigation. So here we have the department that is directly connected with running the operation investigating themselves.  Nice, right?

Well,  YOU didn’t think so, and thanks to your calls and outrage, Governor Nikki Haley’s office stepped in and asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to takeover. SLED was asked to lead the investigation and turn over their findings to the Attorney General’s (AG) office.  Great, right?  Welllll, not so fast….read on.

On March 31 when the investigation was “complete” and the findings turned over to the Attorney General for review, it appears almost NONE of the KEY people responsible for calling attention to this were even interviewed!!  That includes the volunteer who first unearthed the bodies of these animals, the 4 animal control officers accused of these crimes,  the eye witnesses who came forward regarding the abuses they witnessed at the shelter, and none of the evidence of dog fighting was ever examined.

SAY WHAT??

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Filed in Animal Rescue, Legislation by kerry on Apr 16, 2011.  There are 16 comments.