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Tag: attorney

Kansas law student seeks justice for dogs

In a typical animal cruelty case — on those rare occasions they do get to court — you’ll see an attorney representing the people, and another representing a defendant.

But you don’t see one representing the dog.

Katie Barnett, for one, doesn’t think that’s right.

A third-year law student at Kansas University, she’s establishing an animal cruelty prosecution clinic at the school — one she says is the first of its kind.

Barnett, 30, will work with animal control, animal cruelty investigators at the Humane Society, police and prosecutors to ensure that justice is served in cases of animal abuse.

“This is the chance for me to give the animals a voice and a place in the justice system,” Barnett told the Lawrence Journal-World.

Barnett started researching how to put together the clinic two years ago, after some high-profile animal cruelty cases in Lawrence. She did ride-alongs with the police and animal cruelty investigators and followed cases through the court system.

This spring, Barnett will develop a protocol for how future students can assist in the prosecution of such cases.

“I’m doing a trial run to see how everything works,” she said. “I’m getting out all the kinks and really tailoring the position so everyone knows what to do. There’s never been a person to collect everything.”

The program will begin taking in students in the fall 2011.

Barnett was one of three law students awarded The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships last year for their outstanding work in the growing field of animal law.

A graduate of Missouri State University, she has two pit bull mix dogs, including a three-legged rescue named Leonidas. Both are both Delta Society therapy dogs who visit schools, hospitals, and participate in community outreach programs.

Barnett and her husband, Anthony, also run Game Dog Guardian, a local organization that rehabilitates pit bulls and helps find them adoptive homes.

Dog-shooting officer placed on leave

The off-duty federal police officer who shot and killed a Siberian husky he claims attacked his German shepherd in a Severn dog park has been placed on administrative leave.

Police in Anne Arundel County are still declining to identify the 32-year-old officer, and the officer’s attorney would not release his name either, citing threats against his client.

Attorney David Putzi says the Department of Defense officer shot the 3-year-old husky known as Bear-Bear in defense of his dog, himself and his wife, according to the Associated Press. Putzi says Bear-Bear attacked the officer’s German shepherd and that the husky’s owners “could not or would not” control their pet.

Police say the officer fired his personal handgun.

About 50 people, including Bear-Bear’s owner and her family attended a memorial for the dog at the Quail Run Dog Park last night, according to the Baltimore Sun blog, “Unleashed.”

The blog reported that consideration will be given to renaming the park in Bear-Bear’s honor.

Justice: Lawyer fined for snubbing service dog

justiceA Colorado Springs attorney accused of not allowing a disabled woman and her service dog into his office because he feared his new carpet might be soiled will pay $50,000 as part of a consent decree approved by a federal court today.

A November 2009 complaint accused Patric LeHouillier of violating the Americans with Disabilities act by barring Joan Murnane, a veterinarian with brain and other injuries that affect her balance, from entering his  law office because her service dog was with her.

The complaint says LeHouillier and his firm, LeHouillier & Associates, expressed concern that the Australian shepherd might soil its new carpet, according to a report in Westword.

That decision, under the consent decree, will cost him $50,000 –  $30,000 for Murnane, $10,000 for her husband and another $10,000 for a civil penalty.

“For almost two decades, the ADA has ensured that individuals with disabilities are guaranteed full and equal access to public accommodations, both large and small,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is unrelenting in [eradicating] discrimination against people with disabilities and ensuring that owners and operators of public accommodations recognize their obligations to provide equal access.”

The consent decree was approved by Judge Marcia S. Krieger in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Under its terms, LeHouillier and his firm will be required to adopt an ADA-compliant service animal policy and post the policy in a conspicuous location, post a “Service Animals Welcome” sign, and provide training to staff.

The press release noted that a service animal is any animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability — and that the classification is not limited to dogs that assist the blind.

It includes, the press release says, dogs who alert individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, warn persons about impending seizures or other medical conditions, perform tasks for persons with psychiatric disabilities and provide physical supports for individuals with mobility issues.

More information about the ADA, including how to file an ADA complaint with the Justice Department, is available on the ADA home page at www.ada.gov.

The Justice Department also has a toll-free ADA Information Line (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

(Photo: Cafepress.com)

Trial for ex-owner of Almost Heaven begins

Testimony began yesterday in the trial for Derbe “Skip” Eckhart, accused of animal cruelty and dog law violations at the kennel he operated in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

The first witness, a state dog warden, described conditions at the Almost Heaven Kennel — shut down by authorities last year — as “foul,” according to the Allentown Morning Call.

“I couldn’t breathe. I wish I could give you what I smell in my mind right now. I’ll never forget it. Ever,” Kristin Donmoyer testified, recounting what she saw during an October 2008 raid at the kennel in Upper Milford Township

She said drains inside the kennel were filled with feces and stagnant liquid that could attract pests and promote disease. “This was foul,” Donmoyer testified. “You couldn’t walk past it without gagging.” She said she saw accumulations of feces, soiled and saturated animal bedding, “gunk” covered fencing, rusty pipes, exposed fiberglass and ripped up flooring.

The state Department of Agriculture found the violations to be so egregious, she said, that it revoked Eckhart’s breeding and boarding licenses.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad, in his opening statement Monday, had warned the jury that they would see some excrement in the trial:

”Are you gonna see turds? You betcha,” he said.

”That fella right there is Derbe ‘Skip’ Eckhart,” Conrad said during his opening. ”This fella right here loves dogs, loves critters … The problem with this guy is that Skip can’t say no to any mutt. That guy right there is just dumb enough to take your ugly dog.”

The defense attorney said Eckhart is the innocent victim of officials seeking media attention: ”Those folks at the Department of Agriculture and the SPCA love money and they love headlines,” he said. ”What we have here is a man that loves animals and a government that loves headlines.”

New kennel opening in South Baltimore

Three years and $3 million in the making, the Downtown Dog Resort & Spa has opened in South Baltimore.

Owned by Baltimore attorney Barry R. Glazer, the new facility offers boarding, day care and grooming by appointment. It has a hydrotherapy pool and doggie gym, as well, and future plans call for a veterinary clinic and retail space.

Dog owners can also choose from special packages and a menu of extras that include, gourmet meals, cuddle time, bottled water and email updates. Boarding prices start at $32 a night, and go up to $49 a night for the kennnel’s “ultra resort” rooms, which are larger and offer flat screen TV, fluffy bed and web cams.

The kennel, which is taking reservations for the Christmas holidays, has 90 units, and Glazer plans to devote at least 10 spaces to rescue dogs.

It’s also very convenient to I-95 — in its shadow, in fact — in the area off Hanover Street that is home to the recently cleaned up and soon to reopen Swann Park. The park was closed in April, 2007, after tests found elevated arsenic levels in the soil. About 13,000 tons of contaminated soil were removed from the park, which was above the approved cleanup standard. It’s scheduled to reopen in 2009.

The Dog Report & Spa, at 200 W. McComas St., doesn’t have a website up yet, but it can be reached at 443-869-4071, or by emailing thedowntowndogresortandspa@gmail.com.

Glazer — whatever you may think of his law firm’s TV ads (“Don’t urinate on my leg and tell me it’s raining”) – has a history of helping out dogs, footing the bill for medical services for more than a few pets rescued by Recycled Love. He was recently profiled by “b,” the Baltimore Sun’s lite version.

Here’s his famous ad, which someone recorded off a TV and put on Youtube. The urination line is a sanitized version of one in the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales” — “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”

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