A grand jury returned animal cruelty indictments this week against three former employees of the Davidson County Animal Shelter as investigations continue into allegations of abuse there and at the Guilford County shelter.
Arrest warrants were issued yesterday for Marsha Williams, the former executive director of both shelters, as well as her daughter Dana Williams-King. Also indicted was Marissa Studivent, another director of the Davidson shelter.
Williams also faces two felony counts of obstructing the investigation and one felony count of possessing a controlled substance at the Davidson shelter.
Both facilities were managed by the United Animal Coalition, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that took over operation of the Guilford shelter in 1998, and took control of the Davidson shelter in December.
Both shelters had their licenses revoked by the N.C. Department of Agriculture in August.
The indictments stem from claims that the three women neglected to provide humane treatment to a dog admitted to the Davidson shelter in May with a broken back, the Greensboro News & Record reported.
The dog had been diagnosed with paralysis from the shoulders down, but she languished in her kennel for three days with no veterinary care before being euthanized.
That was the incident that sparked an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture, which found abnormally high numbers of animals had died in their kennels at the Davidson shelter.
The Lexington Police Department has been investigating the shelter, as has the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Despite the indictments, those investigations remain ongoing, as does a a separate investigation into the Guilford County shelter, by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
(Photo: Marsha Williams, by Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal shelters, animals, cruelty, Dana Williams-King, davidson county animal shelter, director, dog, dogs, greensboro, guilford county animal shelter, indictments, investigations, lexington, Marissa Studivent, marsha williams, neglect, north carolina, pets, united animal coalition, warrants
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, attorney, clinic, court, delta society, dogs, game dog guardian, humane society, investigations, investigators, justice, kansas, kansas university, katie barnett, law, law school, law student, lawrence, lawyer, legal, mixes, pets, pit bulls, prosecution, students, therapy dogs
Subaru of America, Inc. has donated a custom-designed Outback to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to help them collect and process evidence at animal crime scenes.
The modified 2010 Outback has specialized lighting, a radio, computer, exam table, roof rack and refrigerator in which to store evidence.
“We created the Subaru Outback CSI vehicle to transport the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensics team to hard-to-access crime scenes,” said Todd Lawrence, promotions and sponsorship manager for Subaru of America, Inc.
“We needed a vehicle that allows us to reach some of the crime scenes where our larger unit cannot,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director for Veterinary Forensics at the ASPCA.
Dr. Merck said the older unit was primarily used to examine animals, but the new response vehicle focuses more on examining evidence from animal crime scenes. The new unit will be based out of Gainesville, Florida, home of the ASPCA’s veterinary forensics program.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animal cruelty, animals, aspca, car, crime, crime scenes, dogs, donates, donation, forensics, gainesville, investigations, news, ohmidog!, outback, pets, subaru, vehicle, veterinary
The Pennslyvania Department of Agriculture has revoked the kennel license of CC Pets, a Lancaster County puppy broker with a history of violations under its previous name.
Once known as Puppy Love, the kennel, owned by Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits for at least 20 years, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
CC Pets sold more than 2,000 puppies last year, making it one of the state’s highest-volume dog dealers.
In 2000, the kennel was fined $35,000 by the state for selling sick puppies and misinforming buyers about the health or breeding qualities of the animals. In 2001, kennel owner Joyce Stoltzfus was cited for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. In 2005, the kennel was the subject of a consumer fraud settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 171 customers in seven states.
One of the agreement’s conditions was that Stoltzfus, had to identify herself and the business correctly to customers rather than use an alias. Her failure to comply with that condition led to the license revocation, officials said.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, cc pets, dealer, department, investigations, joyce stoltzfus, kennel, lancaster county, lawsuit, lawsuits, license, order, pennsylvania, puppy, puppy love, puppy mills, settlement
A sheriff’s deputy in Texas whose scent tracing dog has identified suspects in crimes has been named in two lawsuits arguing that scent evidence is often scant evidence.
The Victoria Advocate reported Sunday that the work of Fort Bend County sheriff’s Deputy Keith Pikett led to 62 days in jail for Calvin Lee Miller before he was cleared in the robbery of one elderly woman and sexual assault of another.
A swab of Miller and the scent from the assault victim’s sheets were sent to Pikett, whose three bloodhounds indicated Miller’s scent was on the sheets.
The other lawsuit involves a former Victoria County sheriff’s captain who became a murder suspect based on scent evidence, the Associated Press reported.
No laws or regulations govern scent lineups, and critics say they are often imprecise, but they’re admissible in courts across the nation.
“This is junk science. This isn’t even science. This is just junk,” said Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas. The group works to free wrongfully convicted inmates and started to investigate Pikett recently.
While dogs have a keen sense of smell — sometimes 10,000 times more sensitive than humans — and while every human exudes a different scent, critics of scent line-ups say are easily influenced by human involvement such as the use of a leash , the presence of many scents on evidence or in lineups and the fact that humans must speak for dogs in court.
Pikett’s scent work led to a search warrant for the house of former Victoria County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Buchanek during the 2006 investigation of the murder of Child Protective Services worker Sally Blackwell in Victoria.
The deputy’s dogs walked from a spot where Blackwell’s body was found to her home about five miles away, then to Buchanek’s home nearby. Through a scent lineup, authorities obtained a search warrant. Another man eventually pleaded guilty in the case.
The lineup was “the most primitive evidential police procedure I have ever witnessed,” said Bob Coote, who worked with police dogs in the United Kingdom. “If it was not for the fact that this is a serious matter, I could have been watching a comedy.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: courts, dogs, innocent, investigations, K-9, law, law enforcement, lawsuit, lawyers, legal, line-ups, lineups, police, scent, smell, tracker, wrongful convictions
Reminder: A Baltimore City Council committee takes up the subject of leash laws at a 9 a.m. meeting in City Hall tomorrow (Tuesday).
The hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, was originally scheduled for April 28, but was postponed after a water main break forced City Hall to be emptied.
The council is reconsidering the $1,000 fine it approved for unleashed dogs earlier this year, leading to an outcry by some dog owners who say it’s excessive, especially in a city with only one small dog park. (A second, and the first the city has helped fund, is expected to open by fall.) Also to be presented at the hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, is an amendment to allow the city’s director of Recreation and Parks to enact off-leash hours at city parks. The meeting is in the City Council Chambers on the 4th floor of City Hall. (A picture ID required for admission to City Hall.)
As of this weekend, an online petition calling for a reduction of the fine had more than 1,500 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, city council, committee, designated hours, dog, dogs, fines, hearing, investigations, judiciary, leash, leash free, leash law, leash laws, legislative, off-leash, one thousand dollars, parks, penalties, unleashed
Animals seized from dogfighting operations and other cruelty investigations deserve a right to be independently reviewed, instead of being automatically euthanized, a coalition of animal welfare groups has agreed.
After a meeting in Las Vegas last week, The Humane Society of the United States has revised its policies and now recommends that all dogs seized from fighting operations be professionally evaluated, according to agreed upon standards, to determine whether they are suitable candidates for adoption.
Under the new policy, dogs deemed suitable for placement should be offered to adopters or to approved rescue organizations. The HSUS will update its law enforcement training manual and other materials to reflect this change in policy.
In addition, groups participating in the meeting have vowed to work together to help the canine victims of organized violence.
The meeting was prompted by the recent mass euthanasia of 145 dogs — including newly born puppies — that were seized from North Carolina Ed Faron, who bred fighting dogs at his Wildside Kennels.
The dogs were killed at the conclusion of his court case in Wilkes County, where authorities said their laws mandated the action. Unlike the dogs seized in the higher profile Michael Vick case, no efforts were made by the government, lawyers or major rescue organizations to save the Faron dogs, at least not until it was too late.
Lat week’s meeting was convened to address the matter of dogs seized as a result of cruelty investigations, particularly due to the increase in HSUS-led enforcement actions against dogfighters.
Participants at the meeting included Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, BAD RAP, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, Maddie’s Fund, Nevada Humane Society, and Spartanburg Humane Society.
The groups agreed that all dogs should be treated as individuals. They also agreed to support law enforcement and animal control agencies when decisions must be made regarding the dogs deemed unsuitable for adoption, and in cases when rescue organizations and adopters are unable, within a reasonable timeframe, to accept dogs from such raids that have been offered for adoption.
The organizations will form a working group to develop future protocols for cooperation in addressing the needs of dogs seized in raids, such as how to assist with the housing of fighting dogs, how to conduct professional evaluations, and how to screen potential adopters.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, aspca, assessments, bad rap, best friends, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, euthanized, hsus, investigations, las vegas, maddie's fund, meeting, national animal control association, nevada humane society, north carolina, pit bulls, policy, rescue, review, seized, shelter, spartanburg humane society, vigil