Tag: federal court
A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday on behalf of Gary Hesterberg, the California man who was Tased by a National Park Service ranger after being detained for having one of his two small dogs off-leash.
“There is something seriously wrong when walking your dog off leash in a National Park can get you Tased,” said Michael J. Haddad, Hesterberg’s attorney.
”The law is clear that an officer may only Tase someone who poses a substantial and immediate threat. All Gary Hesterberg did was walk away after receiving his leash warning.”
Hesterburg, an electrician from Montara, California, had previously filed an administrative claim seeking $500,000 in compensation from the United States and the ranger for his injuries and the violation of his civil rights.
That claim — a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government — was rejected by the Department of the Interior on January 25, 2013. The complaint filed in court yesterday is a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Park Ranger Sarah Cavallaro stopped Hesterberg in January of 2012 as he was walking his dogs in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and warned him that both of his dogs needed to be on a leash.
When Hesterberg attempted to walk away with his dogs she shot him in the back with her Taser, caused him to be arrested, and had him taken to jail, the lawsuit says.
Hesterberg, the lawsuit says, told Cavallaro he had a heart condition before she Tased him.
The lawsuit says the type of Taser used can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. After the ranger pulled the Taser barbs from his back, Hesterberg remained in handcuffs for three hours, and remained in jail until after midnight, the lawsuit says.
The district attorney declined to pursue any charges against him.
The United States Department of the Interior found that Ranger Cavallaro’s conduct was consistent with park service policies: “From our review of the circumstances surrounding the tasing for Mr. Hesterberg, it appears that the officer’s actions were reasonable.”
(Photo: Hesterberg and his dogs, a beagle and rat terrier, San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, civil rights, dog, dog walking, dogs, federal court, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, lawsuit, leash, national park service, pets, ranger, rules, tased, taser, tasing, unleashed, walking
Nearly 63,000 people have signed a petition asking Nestle Purina to recall chicken jerky treats manufactured in China — the subject of nearly 1,000 consumer complaints, an FDA investigation and a class action lawsuit.
But not a recall.
The most recent data shows that since November the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has logged over 900 reports of canine illnesses and deaths associated with chicken jerky treats made in China.
“I lost my best friend Sampson on Friday, January 13, 2012,” writes Terry Safranek, who started a petition for a recall of the treats on Change.org . “He died 9 days after ingesting the last food he ever ate: Waggin’ Train ‘Wholesome’ Chicken Jerky.”
While Sampson’s death is one of the cases still under investigation by the FDA, Safranek urges consumers to contact Nestle Purina and ask them to voluntarily recall the product.
Meanwhile, a Chicago area dog owner has filed a class action lawsuit against Nestle Purina, alleging that Waggin Train chicken jerky treats, made in China, were responsible for the death of his 9-year-old Pomeranian.
Dennis Adkins of Orland Park, Ill., filed the lawsuit in April 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He said his dog died of kidney failure two weeks after consuming the product.
The suit names as defendants Waggin’ Train LLC, the manufacturer of the product; Nestlé Purina Petcare Co., which is the corporation that owns the brand; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the distributor.
The lawsuit states Nestlé Purina and Waggin’ Train have received more than 500 complaints about dogs becoming sick and dying after consuming the treats, yet continues to market their product as being “wholesome.” Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek May 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: chicago, chicken, china, chinese, class action, complaints, consumers, death, dennis adkins, died, dog food, dog treats, fda, federal court, food and drug adminstration, health, jerky, lawsuit, nestle, pomeranian, purina, recall, safety, sick, treats, waggin train, wal mart, walmart, warnings
Harry Hargrove of Duplin County was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Raleigh on dogfighting charges he pleaded guilty to earlier this year.
Prosecutors had sought a sentence longer than recommended federal guidelines of 10 months to 16 months.
A federal motion says Hargrove has been involved in dog-fighting in the South for about 40 years. He told Judge Terrence Boyle he once had more than 100 fighting dogs, but he’d cut back to 35 by the time he was arrested.
Police found jumper cables used to electrocute dogs on the property, as well as a blood-stained fighting pit and other tools usually used to condition dogs for fighting.
In addition to Hargrove’s five-year sentence, the judge mandated three additional years of supervision after he is released.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, cruelty to animals, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, duplin county, federal court, five years, harry hargrove, hurricane hugo, judge terrence boyle, legend, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, prison, sentence, sentenced, thomas walker
The fight between a Florida school district and a student with autism who wanted to bring his service dog to class is over — with no real resolution.
The Collier County School Board approved a settlement last week that will pay William and Brenda Hughes $125,000 to settle a lawsuit brought forward on behalf of their son, Derek.
The suit alleged that the district violated the Individuals With Disabilities Act, the American Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
In return for the Hughes dropping the complaint, and agreeing not to enroll their son in Collier County’s schools again, the district forked over the money and admitted no wrongdoing.
Hughes and his wife pulled their autistic son, Derek, from Collier public schools several years ago. He now attends school in Chester County, Pennsylvania, according to NaplesNews.com
The family had argued that the school district was negligent by not allowing the Pine Ridge Middle School student to bring his service dog to school.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, autism, autistic, collier county, derek hughes, dogs, federal court, florida, lawsuit, naples, news, pets, school board, school district, service, service dog, settled, settlement
A 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.
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).
Posted by jwoestendiek March 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ada, american with disabilities act, attorney, carpet, colorado springs, complaint, consent decree, disability, dogs, federal court, fined, joan murnane, lawyer, news, ohmidog!, patric lehouillier, pets, physical, psychiatric, service animals, service dog, veterinarian
A Houston-area kennel worker claims the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” was, basically, his idea, and that the Walt Disney Company stole it from him.
Zenon Yracheta has sued the entertainment giant in federal court, saying the similarities between the movie and a story he wrote called “The 3 Chihuahuas” are many — and that he spoke with Disney officials about his idea in 2006.
Disney has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the movie, which was released last year and grossed $130 million, bears little resemblance to Yracheta’s script, according to the Houston Chronicle.
While both stories feature hero dogs, villain dogs, talking dogs, traveling dogs and chase scenes, they have vastly different premises, Disney says.
In Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” a pampered California Chihuahua is taken by its owner’s niece to Mexico, gets lost, nearly winds up in a dog-fighting ring but escapes and is chased by a mean fight master, a sidekick and his nasty dog before finding her roots, romance, and her way back home.
In “The 3 Chihuahuas,” three Chihuahuas escape from their jobs as acrobats in a South Texas circus and head to Hollywood while pursued by their mean ringmaster, a sidekick and his nasty dog. As with the movie, the Chihuahuas have different ethnic personas. In the end they are rescued by a kind woman who turns out to be Beyoncé Knowles’ aunt. The three dogs eventually wind up living in a California mansion with the singer.
Yracheta said he was enraged when he saw the movie last year, jotting down the similarities between the film and his story.
Yracheta said he got the idea for “The 3 Chihuahuas” after three Chihuahuas ran in front of his car in a rural town near Houston. He worked up a three-page story, then commissioned a screenwriter to write the screenplay.
Disney denies the screenwriters saw or were told about his work.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beverly hills chihuahua, chihuahuas, court, dogs, entertainment, federal court, houston, idea, industry, judge, kennel worker, lawsuit, movie, movies, screenplay, similarities, stolen, storyline, The 3 chihuahuas, walt disney company, writer, writing, Zenon Yracheta
Steven Clay Romero — accused in dragging a dog named Buddy to his death at Colorado National Monument– pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges in federal court Wednesday.
His sister, 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart, failed to appear at her hearing, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.
Romero is accused of dragging the dog for three miles behind his pick-up truck last month. Lockhart, who allegedly stole the dog from a couple in Delta, reportedly told Romero to get rid of Buddy after he mauled a family cat. She is also charged with animal cruelty.
In court yesterday, Romero’s attorney asked for more time to review the case. He told the judge he has received more than 930 pages of discovery evidence including numerous CD’s and DVD’s, according to KJCT in Grand Junction.
Before the hearing, supporters of Buddy delivered to the U.S. District Attorney petitions with more than 100,000 signatures the suspects receive the maximum sentence if convicted.
(For our previous posts on Buddy, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, buddy, colorado national monument, death, dog, dragged, dragging, federal court, killed, melissa lockhart, not guilty, plea, steven clay romero
The sister of the man accused of torturing and killing Buddy, a German shepherd who was dragged for miles behind a pick-up truck, now faces charges of stealing the dog the day before it died.
The sister, Melissa Lockhart, 32, told police she took the dog and another one because she thought they had been abandoned, the Denver Post reports.
Lockart, of Fruita, faces felony theft charges. Her brother, Steven Clay Romero, faces animal cruelty charges after Buddy was found dead Dec. 30 at Colorado National Monument with a rope around his neck.
Investigators say the dog was dragged about two miles before it died.
Police say Buddy and another dog were taken Dec. 29 from the bed of a truck in downtown Delta. A witness wrote down Lockhart’s license plate number.
In federal court Monday, Romero told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he has been harassed in jail by other inmates since his arrest Thursday. Romero is being held without bond in the Mesa County Jail and has been appointed a public defender.
Lockhart, who surrendered to police Saturday, was released on a $5,000 bond.
An online petition demanding the maximum three-year penalty be imposed on Romero if convicted has gathered nearly 16,000 signatures.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, buddy, charges, colorado national monument, dog, dogs, dragging, federal court, magistrate, petition, pets, pick-up, pickup, second, steven clay romero, stolen, taken, truck, two dogs
A one-time school board president who in less than two years lost his wife, home and then his dog, appeared in federal court in Dauphin County Thursday to try and get his dog back.
But no testimony was heard in the case of Miles Thomas and his seized collie, Baron. Instead attorneys were given 30 days to work the matter out amongst themselves, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports.
“I would feel very badly if we couldn’t resolve this,” said District Judge John E. Jones III. “There is a very reasonable path to a reasonable agreement. … I am very hopeful that this conundrum can be worked out.”
Baron was picked up by the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area in July after a police officer found the dog alone in Thomas’ car. The windows were slightly rolled down, but the Humane Society says the dog was panting, without water and covered with feces. Thomas was eating lunch at a restaurant nearby.
The Humane Society, while it says its actions were justified, has offered few other details, and Thomas’ attorney has said that Thomas, 73, though he was briefly homeless, deserves his dog back.
” I can’t get into the detail of how it’ll be worked out. I hope in the next 30 days, we can put this litigation behind us and move forward,” Andrew Ostrowski, attorney for Thomas, told CBS21.
Thomas, a former stock broker, once served as president of the Harrisburg School Board. In the past two years, he lost his wife, Anna, to Alzheimer’s, and later his home, after going into debt trying to cover her medical bills.
The federal judge ordered Ostrowski and Amy Kaunas, the executive director of the Harrisburg Area Humane Society to reach an out-of-court agreement in the case.
“I’m going to follow the judge’s orders and not comment on the case,” said Kaunas. Kaunas left the courthouse with security, and the Humane Society told CBS 21 News that they had to hire protection after receiving threats in connection with the case.
The hearing ended with Thomas announcing that he would be able to visit Baron, who he hasn’t seen since July 26.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alzheimers, amy kaunas, baron, collie, dauphin county, debts, dog, dogs, federal court, harrisburg, homeless, humane society, lawsuit, miles thomas, pennsylvania, visit
Twenty years ago, Miles D. Thomas was a successful stockbroker, and president of the school board in Harrisburg, Pa.
In the past two years, life has been less kind.
He lost his wife to Alzheimer’s in late 2007. Then, unable to pay the bills that had mounted for her care, he lost his house and turned to living in a series of cheap motels, or sleeping in his car.
Last month, authorities seized his dog, a 7-year-old collie named Baron, when Thomas left him in his car while getting a bite to eat. Because he’s homeless, apparently, he hasn’t been able to get him back since.
Hearing of Thomas’ plight, an attorney filed a suit in federal court on behalf of the 73-year-old former Harrisburg School Board president, seeking to get the dog back from the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area Inc. The agency maintains that the dog is being held as part of a cruelty case but has declined to release details, and Thomas has not been charged with any offense.
“To me, he’s the greatest thing I have in the world,” Thomas said of his dog, the fourth in a line of collies the family has owned. “I love him so much, yet they try to keep me from him. I can’t understand that.”
Thomas says it was 76 degrees on the day he left Baron in the car, with the windows open, and that he was gone less than an hour.
When he returned, the dog was gone and an officer with the Humane Society informed him his dog had been seized.
Last week, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III issued a temporary restraining order barring the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area from destroying or transferring ownership of Baron. A hearing is scheduled Sept. 3.
“I couldn’t imagine letting this man go without his dog,” Attorney Andrew Ostrowski told the Harrisburg Patriot-News. “He cares deeply for the dog, and he’s seriously affected by this. In my view, it’s a federal, constitutional civil rights issue, and I won’t shrink from it.”
Ostrowski said he’s also pursuing a civil suit that seeks damages.
Amy Kaunas, Humane Society of Harrisburg Area executive director, said that Thomas’ dog was seized as part of a cruelty investigation initiated by a referral from the Middletown police.
She declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said animal-cruelty statutes require that animals be provided with adequate shelter and access to food, water and veterinary care.
Thomas fell more than $100,000 in debt after his wife spent three years in a nursing home, the Harrisburg newspaper reported. But he insisted he always took care of his dog. “I took better care of him than I did myself,” he said.
Since early August, Thomas has been living with Stephen Conklin, a friend of attonrey Ostrowski’s, who took Thomas in at his farm in York County.
Now that Thomas has a stable home situation, Conklin said the thinks the Humane Society should return the dog to him.
Ostrowski, contends that the animal agency pressured Thomas into signing over his rights to Baron two days after the dog was taken by the agency’s canine officer, threatening him with a $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail unless he turned over the dog.
(Photo: CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alzheimers, animal control, baron, bills, car, collie, cruelty, debt, dog, federal court, harrisburg, homeless, humane society, judge, lawsuit, medical, miles thomas, president, school board, seized, stockbroker, taken