SEIZURE-FORFEITURE H$U$ Laws– BEWARE

Join the crusade AGAINST HSUS anti-pet+animal Laws,+Pass it Forward!!

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Due to HSUS having the resources to PASS illegal laws, it has become necessary for OWNERS to KNOW their rights.  Most owners do not have a clue and do not take the proper steps in ADVANCE.  Don’t be a sitting duck.

Petdefense does work on California cases involving defense of animal owners, such as dogs purposely killed by police, illegal warrants, illegal searches, dog altercations including alleged bites or animal-animal provocation, over the limit, citations gone awry,  and various civil rights claims.  We also act as consultants to cases where animal rights have overstepped their bounds in other states,  such as where warrants are made upon fabricated events, or misrepresentation.  Almost all of our work is through referral.                                                                                                 Petdefense has worked on national animal cases in both state and federal courts.  If AB1122 by HSUS passes the Governor’s desk  (the law that claims “selling” is illegal in outside locations) Petdefense will consider handling a case involving the law because the law is illegal as written.

The time has come for all of us to do more than just talk about what HSUS is doing. So besides PetPAC preparing a bill for National Pet Owners’ Rights, we intend to work on practical issues and AGAINST the laws proposed by Animal Rights.  If unity cannot be achieved by animal/pet owners [and unity has not been done]  then Petdefense will defend those in need based upon severity and determination of the facts.   Although Petdefense attorneys are licensed in CA, one of us is licensed both in CA and NY,  Petdefense counsel can be signed into almost any other state pro hac vice by local counsel, for State OR Federal jurisdiction. One of us is also licensed in California Northern District Federal Court, Eastern District, and Southern District Federal Court.  The only Federal District left is Central, and that District could easily be signed into also. We have trial counsel that has concentrated mostly on criminal trials and civil rights. We also have experienced bankruptcy counsel familiar with the 2005 revisions to the Code. 

Since Seizure-Forfeiture seems to be the Order of the Day, thanks to HSUS,  and if the laws in CA are any indication of what is to come, all owners in all states stand to lose their property (animals) if convicted of so-called  “animal abuse”  even if NOT convicted of  actual “animal abuse.”  See below.

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That is because in CA, HSUS put a law forward which allows forfeiture of YOUR animals  even if you are NOT convicted, but are ACQUITTED.  YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY……That law (AB243) has already passed the legislature’s VOTE and will become the LAW unless Governor of CA decides to VETO the law.

By looking at the Louisville Federal Court case which just issued recently, it would seem that Judge stated the same thing Petdefense has stated as to AB243, re the “forfeiture” of animals, despite a finding of acquittal.  Judge mentions that “Moreover, the government has little interest in keeping ownership of pets belonging to innocent  citizens.”  “Presumably most of the animals kept under this ordinance have to be euthanized, lest the burden of boarding and caring for them grow too high.” 

 Maybe the Judge should tell H$U$ that, as H$U$ does exactly the OPPOSITE and seeks forfeiture for everything, claiming people are all animal abusers, even when there IS NO ABUSE.

Let’s not forget also, that H$U$ attempted TWICE to butt into the Louisville case with their “amicus” brief, and TWICE the Court DENIED the H$U$.

The Louisville Kennel Club case…… Both parties had filed summary judgments. The Court gave the Plaintiffs a finding that the altered dogs [vs the un-altered dogs], did not require approval or inspection of the “UNaltered animal enclosure”, as there was no rational basis for it.  The court also found for the Plaintiffs on the due process/seizure issue, where the ordinance caused an owner’s pet to be forfeited, upon probable cause, if  owner did not pay $450 immediately;  and even if  later found not guilty (acquitted), owner would still lose the animal and NOT re-gain possession.  In other words, there was no way to regain possession after the animal was seized upon probable cause if one did not pay the $450.  HOWEVER the court did NOTE, that another hearing,appeal or late-payment process could remedy this flaw.

If the flaw was remedied, then the ordinance could be used, as apparently a procedure to re-gain possession was never written into the ordinance. (Typical H$U$ bad drafting on purpose.)  It is a certainty that the ordinance will be modified with such a procedure, otherwise they could not use the ordinance at all, at least not that particular aspect of it.

The Court did note: “…”[t]he portion of Section 91.101 that would permanently deprive a pet owner of his property, absent a finding of guilt, is unconstitutional.” pg. 19, Case No. 3:07-cv-230, United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky at Louisville.  

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Owners of kennels, animals, pets, and those with a business involving animals might consider the following, in light of potential seizure, forfeiture, and privacy issues; all of these general provisions are available on most privacy sites, and those dealing with seizure.  This does not constitute legal advice as to any specific owner or situation, but is generalized information available on the Internet and self help locations.  Avoiding trouble is not a crime, and protection of privacy is fast becoming a hot issue.

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Make sure that your residence, if owned, is homesteaded, and that you have liability insurance.

Consider placing the real property in a land trust.

Make sure you understand the Animal code section of your jurisdiction. Most in CA update theirs online, but make sure what you are looking at is CURRENT. Do not assume facts.

Try to be on good terms with neighbors.  Most complaint driven cases are from unfriendly neighbors, “made-up” non existent neighbors, or complaints that were not about your animals, but the complainer alleged it was your animal(s).

Have a visible sign out front, and back, which indicates a 24hr surveillance system is on. Get the cameras. Night vision is good and a Sony camera can be had for less than $200.

If needed, do not make entry into the home or yard, too easy. Keep animals secured and do not trust third parties (cable, gas/electric, etc) to close gates, doors, locks. Hire someone if necessary to be there so a witness can be used down the line if you have a Houdini type pet. 

Understand what constitutes “animal abuse” currently in your jurisdiction….. For example, in CA, HSUS has made SELLING of an animal outside, including outside the confines of the building which is used to show dogs at a dog show, into ANIMAL ABUSE

 Due to the poor drafting (on purpose) of the law, a transaction that might not be a sale can be categorized AS a sale of some type, since a bargained for exchange (such as barter) is considered taxable by the IRS.  Of course, an aggressive attorney could defend the case but you would have to find and afford such counsel. If passed, the law might take two years to overturn, so being prepared is prudent.

If you don’t know the LAW, you could be guilty.  If you are convicted, you can lose (by seizure/forfeiture) all of your animals. Maybe even more.  If this LAW (AB1122, where selling =animal “abuse”)  is not vetoed by the Governor, it will become the statewide LAW in CA. 

Remember like on TV, anything you say will be used against you. Never, never blurt out statements. If possible, get a prepaid legal plan which is payable monthly (less than $20),  where you can access an attorney 24/7 via phone call, for only $1.00 extra per month.  We highly recommend it as very few other companies offer this service.  The attorney should return your call within 10 minutes.

Consider use of disposable phones which are prepaid, in case your phone is seized.  Consider use of a paging device or web based notification system for calls.  It is much more difficult to gain information when they require specific warrants for exact items/locations.  

Valuable or confidential documents or information re your business or kennel should be stored safely away and not carried around, in your vehicle, purse, or where it can be confiscated. CA law has conflicting cases re seizure and phones and computers, beware.  The LOCATION is key.

Consider how the use of vet records, pedigrees, sales receipts and other documents might be used against you, and plan accordingly.

Have backup friends who can help you 24hr, in case of emergency, and an attorney to call.

Consider even having an indoor video recording setup, in case of unlawful entry.

In Any and all cases involving warrants,  warrants should be the subject of potential suppression motions, regardless of who executed the warrant, and regardless of what you know of the law,  suppression is a viable tool. In particular, this applies to any warrants of entry onto your property/premises.

   

You can view another attorney article also, here at the Dog Place, http://www.thedogplace.org/PROJECTS/BBR/09092-Animal-Rights-Abuse_CardozoEsq.asp  which talks about animals as property and animal abuse laws. 

CA law has conflicting cases on these issues, especially as to computers, laptops, cell phones, and similar data devices.  So it is extremely important for warrant analysis to take place.  Technicalities may crop up that may void a warrant, therefore the fruit of the poisonous tree might be applicable unless there is an exception. This is standard common knowledge.

If an emergency occurs including a forcible entry, raid, seizure, or other liens are filed against your property, consider contacting a bankruptcy attorney immediately. He/she will know what rights you have under the Bankruptcy Code, which are far reaching, and can even stop the IRS.  Bankruptcy is a federal (not state) action, and the rules are the same nationwide, except for local rules which usually deal with specific filing issues.  For example, it was stated that an owner in Texas allowed his home to be forfeited toward a huge “animal control” bill and possible fines.  If he had use of the unlimited homestead protection in Texas and filed bankruptcy, it is possible his entire home could have been exempted, if he qualified.  [Of course, the bankruptcy laws are very particular and trustees always look for shady business dealings.]

Consider having other owners on title to your property (if not in a trust) in advance,  as this will make it more difficult to forfeit, since you don’t own all of the property.  Also, many of the newer laws on forfeiture allow for owners who had no knowledge of any criminal acts, to be exempted.  Consult an attorney to see if this would create problems for your particular situation, as it may not be helpful in some instances, or might create other logistical issues such as how tenants in common vs joint tenancy are handled.  It will depend on your state laws as well. And for those in Louisiana, which follows Napoleanic law, you need to definitely use a Louisiana attorney for your particular location. 

Use the Need-to-Know rule, meaning do not tell people your business unless they are on a need to know basis, and even then, determine whether that is actually required.

If you must use a computer and think you can erase something by deleting the data, you should know that forensic technology can uncover just about anything you erase.

Realistically,  sending text messages……….. is not  the best idea.  To anyone.

Use web-based email (Yahoo, Hotmail etc) instead of email which is stored directly on your computer.  Hackers can more easily access a computer which uses a direct email program. 

Consider using a legal private mail post office box for all of your mail. All.  It will take a court order for almost anyone to get your information out of the private mail box place, with only a few exceptions.  Also consider it for every other type of correspondence. Using a US Postal Post Office Box is not private and no court order is needed to gain information.

 Consider the formation of a non profit such as a 501(c)(3), which HSUS uses. A non profit can OWN for profit businesses.  HSUS owns tons of for profit businesses.  Why do you think HSUS keeps passing laws?

Many attorneys understand criminal law but many attorneys do not understand the Animal Rights deception.  Do not hire an attorney that does not understand your case and who pushes you to settle the case by admitting fault, if it will cause the property to be forfeited by admitting guilt.  If someone else’s property is involved, another motion can be filed to have that other person’s animal(s) released.

Consider making it difficult to view inside your home from all windows or doors.  Especially if you have prying, nosey neighbors.

If you allow strangers into your home, beware. You never know who the strangers are and in many instances, the strangers are undercover AR people, taking photos by subterfuge (like Peta, etc. does)  If you meet people who want to buy/sell products, think carefully as to where you will be meeting, since HSUS’s new CA law will term transfers of animals as “animal abuse” due to the way the law is written.

It is very dumb to every leave anything that could be used against you laying around in plain view, no matter if you own animals, or don’t own them.

Publishing your phone number (landline to your residence) is easily looked up by the reverse directory, unless you have paid to have a non published number.  Also, if another person has your address and social security number, they can actually BUY your credit information online.  Beware.  Consider having an unlisted number, and then changing it.

Consider having only one charge card with a small limit, and only use that for buying. Cash can be used otherwise.  At least that way a thief cannot exceed the credit limit and do substantial damage. Consider the use of prepaid Visa cards. There is no document or cash involved.  Consider what type of paper trail you are setting up by using a debit card everywhere.  Then decide if you need that or have concerns. 

If “selling” an animal becomes a crime, (and it already has been passed by CA legislature) then anyone who sells an animal could be guilty, but a non profit animal group can not be guilty.  Remember that when talking to friends.  Many animal owners did not bother to oppose AB1122 because they believe it would “not affect” them. How wrong they are.  It will affect sales, ownership, and our rights involving interstate commerce.

Tell all your friends what the Animal Rights are really doing to our economy.  Ruining it even further.

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