Home > Archived Newsletter Messages > REPORT ON AUGUST 29, 2006, COURT HEARING
Archived Newsletter Messages
REPORT ON AUGUST 29, 2006, COURT HEARING
Sent: September 2, 2006
First of all--We want to again thank all of you for your support. All the cards, letters and phone calls expressing your faith in us mean so much. In all our All CATS family, not one of our people let us down. As far as we know, only one person tried to agitate the situation and she isn't even one of us.
I don't think we ever explained the entire situation, so here goes:
A couple of months ago, I had a heart attack. It wasn't what I consider "serious,? but the doctor restricted my activity for a while. I had to depend entirely on hired help for care of the animals in our Lee County shelter. I continued the feeding and watering of the animals at the Farm and at my house, but I did hire help to do the cleaning. Even doing as much as I did took me twice as long as before and I seemed to get tired twice as fast. But, it all did get done, just not as efficiently as had been the case. In the meantime, I did not physically go to the Lee County shelter to oversee the daily work. I thought I was doing well to never miss a day of feeding and watering the animals here.
As you all know, we were having a very wet period. We needed concrete and roofing and some new houses. The pens were wet, but we made sure the houses kept the animals from having to sleep in anything wet. We also put down sawdust bedding for them to walk on until we could get the other things in place. It was our newsletter telling of these conditions that caused the animal control officer to visit us in the first place.
On the day she arrived, David had already fed the dogs. It was raining, but they all got fresh food--as they do every day. He had not cleaned the pens or changed the water because of the rain. Three of the pens had water bowls that had a little algae in the corners, and one of the kids? swimming pools that we use for the large pens had some dirt in the bottom. Most of this came off of the trees in the yard, and some was tracked in by the puppies--who like to get in the pools. David had just come back to do this cleaning when the rain slacked up. That was when the officer showed up, along with a policeman and the regular patrolling control officer.
The officer sent David to get me, which he did. I called John to come over there because I didn't want to get upset enough to have another attack?and he soon arrived.
John, David and I were each charged with four counts of animal cruelty--which consisted of three dirty water bowls and a wet pen.
At the trial, my lawyer pointed out that even in the rain, the animals were fed and had dry places to lie down. The officer was still insisting the dogs were lying in feces--but that wasn't true! It was dog litter. She did tell the Judge that I immediately had David clean the water bowls and replace any food that might have been rained on. She also testified that I immediately started sending the dogs to the vet to be given new shots and to be checked over for any problems. All the dogs were very healthy; no problems there.
She also made a complaint about some of the cats being in small quarters. My attorney proved this to be untrue?using the officer?s own photos. She made one photo of the cats inside the mobile home. The cats didn't know her so they ran to hide in the smallest space they could find, the bathroom. The cats also have two bedrooms and a hall in which they can run free. Certainly not a small space! Of course, it?s not the space I would like for them to have. I would like for all animals to be able to live free or in a building as large as the White House, but I don't see that happening any time soon. The officer?s own photos showing the outside of the mobile home proved there was more space for the cats.
The Judge dismissed all charges against John and David. He did hold me accountable for not overseeing the daily work because I own the animals, but he didn't impose any fines--just court costs (almost a thousand dollars), a suspended sentence of 30 days and 90 days probation.
I still don't think it was fair. But it could have been worse.
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