How Stories re “Abuse” Don’t Tell Truth

This is one of the longest cases in CA involving seizure of animals. It resulted in owner being acquitted of animal abuse and the banks likely taking the real property..however, even if banks did, it would likely be appealed by horse owner…..the horses were either given away, sold, adopted or stolen, and  The Grace Foundation has not been held accountable for them; nor has the CEO or non profit been required to prove where each animal went.

 

In fact, we already know that some of the best breeding stock was the first to go, hidden or not. In fact, we know where some of the animals did go, because we saw them online on another non profit site. Because the CA Penal Code was not followed, most of the animals that were given, sold or stolen,etc. are the result of the illegal actions taken by both the rescue, and Lassen County, and the errant receiver. But a lot of the blame should be placed on Timothy M. Ryan, of Irvine (we say this because there are like 5-8 other Timothy M. Ryans out there) because it was mostly his idea to get the ‘receiver’ (who was really Ryan) to file a motion to take the animals, and by ignoring the Penal Code since he claimed they were in dire need (exigency) thus triggering the penal code.

Instead, he thought he would play God, went on Facebook and made an idiot of himself (the Facebook blurbs were filed in the bankruptcy court) and starts talking about a penis measuring contest between himself and Lassen. Let’s just say, to bring that up we are sure the bigger penis is not Ryan’s??  Since horse owner was acquitted, we believe an abuse of process might be filed. See jury instructions: https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1500/1520.html

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FOLSOM CA – A question of responsibility is at the core of the case of more than 50 neglected horses, their rising medical bills and basic cost to keep them fed.

Monday Jul 09 2012 (year story written)
Grace Foundation files lawsuit against banks over Susanville horses
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer

http://tinyurl.com/jmaffyj  (url of Auburn Journal story)

‘The Grace Foundation of Northern California, based in El Dorado Hills, has taken the fight to court, claiming they were deceived by Wells Fargo and Bank of America when the foundation was entrusted with the care of the horses.  According to the foundation officials, the banks that foreclosed on that ranch are not providing money to help care for the neglected animals. The cost of caring for the horses and their medical costs is more than $50,000 per month, according to the foundation.’

Banking officials deny the allegations, saying they
  are not the rightful owners of the horses.

PD note: What really happened, is the bank attorney timothy M. Ryan, of Irvine, pretty much was the de facto receiver, (there actually was one appointed that he hired) but Ryan’s office did all the legal work pretty much, filed all of the receiver documents, helped set up AC and Lassen County, and got the horses taken from owner without a legal seizure, but instead, by a rents and profits receiver, by law and motion in civil court, claiming exigency, without a warrant and no seizure hearing; then– between the AC, rescue, and Lassen county, (having rescue sign that she got them from Lassen), they passed the horses to the horse rescue, and banks gave rescue $40,000. Owner was ejected from property without eviction. As for banks saying they were not the rightful owners of horses, of course they were not, THAT is why they could not just TAKE the animals and claim to give them away– even if there was exigency–which there was NOT—a court or receiver in this scenario, simply cannot TAKE the property of another by making up their own facts or law and ignoring the Penal Code.

“Ms. DeCaprio’s claims against Wells Fargo are completely without merit,” said Julie Campbell, assistant vice president of Corporate Communications for Northern and Central California Region’s Wells Fargo Bank. “Wells Fargo has never owned the Whispering Pines property or the horses that formerly resided there, nor were we involved in the horses being transferred to the Grace Foundation.”

PD fact: Neither Wells Fargo or B of A owned the property. In fact, horse owner’s filing in bankruptcy court indicates that shady mortgage entities were involved (as in foreclosure issues due to bad lending actions) However,  it appears the banks have now bought the litigation rights of the horse owner’s  property (in bankruptcy) and already paid off the other co-owner at $200,000 is what we were told, to settle her lawsuit against the banks. We also heard that Grace had been offered just under a million to settle and go away but she held out for more money and ended up losing quite a bit. Had Grace simply hired counsel to quickly stop the Receiver’s action of “taking  or moving” the animals and doing it the correct way, under the Penal Code (since they were claiming negligence/abuse)–then Grace would have legally gained possession of the animals most likely. However, she instead opted to take $40,000 from the banks and the rest is history. {It was also stated by banks that they offered Grace a $400,000 grant which she turned down.}

‘According to reports, the horses’ original owner, Dwight Bennett of Whispering Pines ranch, has been charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty and is currently awaiting trial. He denies all allegations. The horses were stunted from a lack of nutrients after not being fed or watered for some time, according to authorities.’

PD fact: There was no report by any vet which indicated there was starvation or harm to horses; in fact, the vet did not need to examine the ones that were on the property because he did not feel they needed any help. (See picture above at top of post)  The vet also refused to testify for the Lassen animal control or the DA, because he knew the horses were not in danger. Neither rescue horses nor purpose-bred horses that  Grace took were properly accounted for; the numbers including foals that Grace may have killed (using lutalyse) never added up. In other words, many horses are not accounted for.  The horse owner was fully acquitted of all animal abuse charges, with the jury finding this was a political or some kind of witch hunt case. It took 5 years just to get to trial. Insanity.

‘According to DeCaprio,(Grace Foundation CEO) the banks illegally gave the horses to their organization so they do not have legal ownership of any of the horses. Now, because the Grace Foundation does not own the horses, they can not legally adopt any of the horses out, DeCaprio said.’

PD fact: The rescue was paid $40,000 (by banks) to take animals from owner’s ranch,  but there was no proper legal seizure; the bank attorney rigged seizure by using a receiver (Ryan was really the receiver in fact, and had a signed indemnification/his insurance paid the receiver when she sued because her bill was not paid!) As a 501(c)(3) The Grace Foundation should have obtained private counsel to ensure “taking” horses was done properly. IT WAS DONE COMPLETELY IMPROPERLY AND NOT ONE OF THE PARTIES EVEN ATTEMPTED TO FOLLOW THE LAW. We could say it a million times, no matter what Grace or the banks have stated, it was done improperly. The government or a rescue or a “bank” does not and cannot simply TAKE your property without due process. The only time this seems to happen legally is when drugs/money is seized during some criminal charge, at that time everything is often seized and the owner has to file immediately an opposition to forfeiture of the money; you cannot oppose the drugs being taken since they are illegal.)

‘Again, Campbell said DeCaprio took possession of the horses from Lassen County, not a bank. “In fact, in a Lassen County legal document signed by Ms. DeCaprio herself, the Grace Foundation took possession of the horses directly from Lassen County.’

“DeCaprio filed a lawsuit seeking damages. “On Friday, July 6, with no other option available to us, we filed a $20 million lawsuit (including compensatory and punitive damages) against Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Tim Ryan (bank attorney) and Dwight Bennett (previous owner of the horses),” DeCaprio said. “We also began the process of alerting the media to our plight. We are hoping that everyone will join us in our efforts at undoing this injustice….”

PD fact: Grace Foundation dropped claim against Mr. Bennett, but kept case against Ryan.

Grace CEO was put on notice years ago, that no proper seizure had ever been done, yet she continued to work with bank attorney Ryan in an effort to keep horses she wanted or wanted to allegedly sell, or to gain donations for?

Because Ryan and Grace Fdn had been working together, things worked for awhile but when owner filed bankruptcy and Court abandoned animals, they legally belonged to owner, but he could not have possession (due to charges) and Grace refused to allow a non profit SPCA to help take some of the horses.

Instead Grace kept all of the horses as a funding machine to gain donations and published worldwide, that she was suing the banks. That action, once Grace knew the proper seizure was lacking, (she should have known from the start by asking an attorney and she did not do so), makes her in part, responsible for the fallout, since her non profit corporation must adhere to non profit governance.  At no time was this being done.  As previously stated, the county cannot just take and give away another’s property under guise of “abuse.” Shame on Lassen Animal Control. 

We knew years ago that Grace could likely get Ryan on potential malpractice (because we saw the documents and had personal knowledge) and possibly something else, but Grace completely bungled the case by trying to keep it in El Dorado because Ryan got it moved to Orange County. It was downhill from there after Grace failed to show for Court and basically caved in, lost the non profit and non profit status, failed to file the tax returns, got investigated by the Charitable Trust Unit AGs, was evicted from ranch, and who knows where the owners horses went???

This very pathetic case shows how much can go wrong when illegal seizure is used to take animals. Had the seizure been proper and rules followed, Grace could have legally obtained the horses. She did not ever legally obtain them because the method of taking them was wrong from the beginning. This can be seen if one understands that taking another’s property requires due process— this is not an administrative forfeiture at this point (such as cases when money linked to wrongdoing is taken by forfeiture..)

Seizures of animals require following the law set up for that purpose in California.

By no stretch of the imagination, was that law followed at all.

Certainly not by the banks, or bank attorney Ryan, nor by Grace, nor by Lassen County Animal control. Had they done it properly, the animals would either have been moved by Animal Control, say to a rescue location, pending the outcome of criminal, and if no monies had been paid for storage fees (which is very high, monthly) then the animals are considered surrendered and normally are adopted out.

ONLY if the owner keeps the storage fees on the animals paid– until either conviction or acquittal, then if acquitted, owner gets animals back and the fees paid refunded. However, the People can file for forfeiture anyway, if they claim the owner can’t properly afford to care for the animals, or if they have some valid reason. The decision is up to the court, not animal control.

While PC 597 and 597.1 are not well written, due to many duplicative provisions and some overlap and confusion (since many sections look the same but for a few words which can change the direction) — it is still, unfortunately , the law in California. Most seizure hearings are lost due to the expense of paying storage, and the one sided nature of AC.

In some cases, it may be best to even forego the post seizure hearing, BUT it must be made available to the accused.   Very few post seizure hearings are won in California. The best post seizure position to be in, is to have a clean background, clean premises, and all animals clean. AC always likes to look for dirt, as in dirty surroundings, dirty dog coat, dirty crate, dirty anything. If there is no dirt sometimes some errant ARs will make up dirt by throwing bags of collected dog poop or cat poop.

Therefore, don’t keep such bags of poop or of recycling bags on premises. Get rid of them as fast as possible.  Don’t allow fences to be broken down, garbage to be laying about, or broken appliances, dead cars, any junk. All of that will be photographed and used against you. Although it may not be illegal to even have these things on your premises, it most definitely can sway a jury against you. You will be perceived as a hoarder, and as a messy person who does not take care of premises. Have surveillance signs and cameras installed.  Do not assume that everyone is your friend.

Do not allow people who associate with illegal drugs or illegal gambling on premises, and definitely don’t rent to them. Guard your computer and  cell phone with your life, and do not use social media. DO NOT LOAN OUT YOUR COMPUTER, PHONE OR TECH DEVICE TO OTHERS. Nearly all social media access requires a warrant, as phones/computers/tablets…. It is preferable to use throw away phones and those paid by prepaid cards. They cannot obtain a history on these since the carriers do not keep history on prepaid cards (at least not now.) Forensics can easily be done to tech items and gadgets, as experts have caught the government changing data.

Criminal defense attorneys know what is required to convict. It is a high burden by the People (district attorneys) but you would be surprised how careless people can be with their computers and phones. MANY people keep sex photos galore on their phones, believing the phone cannot be accessed by others.  Completely wrong, unless there is a self destruct provision (and that’s highly doubtful) a person could take your phone to a hack and put your shit out on the Internet quite easily??? And that’s not just revenge porn law, that’s just crazy people who want to take phones and hope they find porn? Imagine that you had seen a bestiality photo of sex involving a female/pony online, (on some AR site) and you sent it to your friend, saying how awful it was, but at seizure time, AC says you are in the picture and charges you for violating that law? Can you imagine how terrible that would be– even if it’s not you in the picture??

Just remember, even if you are not doing anything illegal, AR zealots (often your neighbors) can make up all kinds of things, complain and etc. And that can cause you to lose animals for no reason and without private legal help, you would be at the mercy of the public defender. We know people with law degrees that could not afford private legal help and despite having the public defender, they end up in prison–not jail….Prison ruins peoples’ lives, no doubt.

Save yourself the horror of being accused of a felony and be smart. If AC is after you, you need to act quickly. Consult defense counsel before they build a case against you.

We have seen many cases inappropriately handled, and no attorney was ever consulted.

Animal law requires knowledge of not just criminal law, but often civil and administrative law, bankruptcy, constitutional issues, and sometimes more involved overlapping issues such as federal storage of health records, etc. That is one reason why many attorneys do not engage in animal law issues, because the breadth of coverage can be quite large.

But any of the following could lead to an animal case:

Your dog, cat, bird, whatever, allegedly caused neighbor to fall/break her hip because the animal either startled her, harassed her, spooked her, etc. Published verdict case on this.

Your innocent dog allegedly killed a rat and the neighbor turned you into AC because in your jurisdiction, an animal (dog) that kills ANY vertebrae animal is considered a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog. There are jurisdictions which have this law.

Your neighbor continuously feeds wild birds, squirrels and more. This violates California law but she continues to do it. Your dog then chases a squirrel from neighbor’s yard that goes into your yard and injures it.  Neighbor turns you in for having a dangerous dog. Or worse, your dog becomes very ill because the squirrel has lyme disease or the plague. And then you get it (whatever disease.)  all rodents can harbor disease; squirrels can carry lyme, the plague and more.

You have company and they like your dog. Your dog is playing near the front door and neighbor swings open front door and dog runs out because you can’t get to it fast enough. Dog then startles a walker in front of house who now wants to sue you because she says the dog attacked her.

Your dog goes to dog park where no dogs are leashed. Another dog starts to menace your dog but you can’t stop it. Your dog then gets the better of the other dog and the owner sues you.

You are in pet store with your leashed dog. Some idiot brings in a leashed cat. The cat causes ruckus with 4 dogs but owner of cat asserts right to be in store. Your dog is attacked by cat then he kills the cat in front of 5 people. You are served with animal abuse citation.

You are in your house counting cash to be used to get a cashier’s check when you get a call which requires you to rush out and help someone; you leave your cash at top of stairs in your hallway; when you return an hour later, 7 AC cars/vehicles and police have surrounded your house. You are so mortified you keep driving. When you do go back you find that all your animals have been seized. And all your cash is gone.

You have livestock including breeding horses. Your ranch is 40acres, you can’t be in every area at same time obviously. Unknown people start poisoning your livestock. You can only light up so much area. Firebomb thrown on your porch. You find someone has just slit throat of your pony. Then banks try and take your property (you do not owe anything on the land) and banks get a rescue group to build a case against you so they can take your property (including the improvements)…….you get the drift.

 

 

 

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