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Tag: lawyer

Brain-damaged lawyer in Iowa continues to fight — and fight roughly — for dogs

mcclearyA Des Moines attorney known as “the dog lawyer” has been creating some major headaches since unleashing himself on the judicial system.

Jaysen McCleary, who has a mental disability linked to a trash can falling from a garbage truck onto his head, won a $2.1 million settlement from the city of Des Moines.

And he has gone on to fight for dogs in the area, often challenging local ordinances that regulate pit bulls. In the process, though, his critics say, he has filed frivolous claims, made a “farce” of the judicial process and offended countless judges and fellow attorneys.

He was profiled last week in the Des Moines Register — in an article whose publication he sought to block through a lawsuit.

The Register portrayed the 47-year-old former investment adviser as a man of above average intellect, with a law degree, 10 years of legal experience and the support of many of his clients — including the 10 whose dogs whose lives he helped save.

To do that, though, he has resorted to dragging his cases out, filing numerous ethics complaints against judges and demanding extra time and support because of his disability. He has made criminal allegations against another lawyer, and once told a Polk County judge he was “no better than the scum” sitting in the county jail.

McCleary has tied up his opponents with litigation and overlapping lawsuits that have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees, the article said.

He blames his outbursts on attention deficit disorder and an acute working-memory deficiency, both a result of the brain injury that was caused when a trash can full of frozen dog feces fell off a truck and landed on his head.

“My disability has caused me to be extremely misunderstood and, as a result, less effective,” McCleary told the Register in November.

Over the past six years, he has filed at least 34 lawsuits, many of which include overlapping claims. In 26 lawsuits in which he has been involved, a city, county or their animal-control unit is named as a defendant.

Des Moines officials say that over the past 16 months, the city’s legal department has devoted at least 500 hours of staff time, all at taxpayers’ expense, to litigation involving McCleary.

In September, the chief judge of Iowa’s 5th Judicial District sanctioned McCleary for using the courts to harass Des Moines city officials and needlessly increase the city’s legal expenses.

In the past five years, McCleary or his co-counsel, Cami Eslick, have asked at least 18 judges to recuse themselves from cases in which McCleary is involved, in some cases citing the judges’ alleged bias, “personal animosity” or “deep hatred” of McCleary. The two attorneys also have filed ethics complaints against 10 judges.

Eslick said McCleary believes the city isn’t following its own laws and policies when it comes to euthanizing dogs it considers dangerous.

“These animals don’t have a voice,” she said. “He wants the court to take these cases seriously, and sometimes they don’t. … He’s incredibly smart, and he has a passion to help these animals.”

(Photo: Jaysen McCleary)

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.

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)

Author has special offer for 1,000th buyer

withadogHow’s this for a novel idea?

Leigh Mcmillan, author of “It All Started with a Dog,” is offering sex to the person who buys the 1,000th copy of her novel.

Specifically, and to be perfectly clear, she’s offering the unpublished sex scene she “took out of the book because it would have offended my mother.”

The novel tells the tale of a Washington, D.C. lawyer who has spent a lifetime protecting her heart from the dangerous possibilities of love. When she finds a ragged stray dog on the streets of Georgetown and brings him home with her, it leads to a sequence of startling events that send her down a path she’s never explored.

Since Mcmillan admits to it in an email sent to fans and others, we’ll go ahead and reveal it here: No dog dies in the book. So, as a holiday gift, it’s not a downer.

Mcmillan will be doing a book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Gallery of the Arts at 411 W. Fourth St. in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Former lawyer trains dogs to help seniors

carromA retired Annapolis lawyer whose assistance dog helped her cope with hearing loss is now training dogs to help the elderly and disabled.

Ilene Caroom, 56, recently opened Canine Solutions for Seniors, a service focused on training dogs to perform tasks to help the elderly.

“This is what I wanted to do with retirement. This is immensely gratifying,” Caroom says in a feature story in Sunday’s Annapolis Capital.

Caroom helps train dogs to do everything from picking up a dropped cane, to delivering a note, to  helping with the removal of clothing — depending on the needs of the client.

“The idea is that most people have dogs, and dogs love to do this,” she said. “The very things that (people might have) problems with can be turned to an advantage.”

Caroom has trained animals, including her own pets, for more than 20 years. She and her former “Super Hearing Dog,” Noah, who accompanied her to the law firm she worked at, were featured in the United States Border Collie Club newsletter, back 1996.

Caroom now has two border collies — Strike, a hearing assistance dog, and Moss, who is trained to do a variety of tasks.

For more information about Canine Solutions for Seniors, call 410-533-2832 or e-mail k9solutions4seniors@gmail.com.

(Photo: Annapolis Capital, by Colleen Dugan)

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.”

Vick pleads guilty to state dogfighting charge

Michael Vick pleaded guilty today to a state dogfighting charge, and apologized to “the court, my family, and to all the kids who looked up to me as a role model.”

The former NFL quarterback pleaded guilty to one charge and not guilty to a second count that was then dropped. While conviction of the charge carries a maximum five-year sentence, Vick was given a three-year suspended sentence, according to the Associated Press.

By pleading guilty to the one charge, Vick became eligible for early release from prison and a possible return to the NFL. Federal law prohibits prisoners from being released to a halfway house if there are unresolved charges pending against them.

Vick, 28, already is serving a 23-month sentence in Leavenworth, Kan. for a federal dogfighting conviction. He’s scheduled for release on July 20, 2009, and will serve three years of probation.

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