This is a direct copy of a page from a Post Seizure Hearing in CA. Sorry we could not improve the quality of the document. (the document is at end of post)
Although it saved the owner from any fines or costs, as seizure was not upheld for purposes of “seizure”, thus owner is not responsible for those costs; nor was she charged with any crime; note the 3rd paragraph where it states that the animals were not under any condition which would cause death or irreparable harm??
We also saw a recent case involving horses in VA where the rescue was allowed to have all 42 horses returned BUT faces “charges” on 3 counts, see directly below…
IN June 2016, King William County Animal Control personnel seized 42 horses from New Beginnings Horse Rescue after investigating several complaints that the animals were unhealthy and lacked access to food and water. Cassy Newell-Reed, New Beginnings operator, was subsequently charged with three counts of Class 1 misdemeanor animal cruelty.
During a July 14 King William County Circuit Court appearance, all 42 of the seized horses were ordered returned to Newell-Reed pending her animal cruelty trial on grounds that there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the horses had been maltreated.
King County District Court records indicate that on Aug. 4, a District Court judge granted a motion from the county’s Commonwealth Attorney Matthew Kite that the charges be ruled nolle prosequi—literally, “unwilling to pursue.” The designation means that the prosecutor voluntarily chooses to discontinue the criminal charges.
MOST seizures are usually resolved in the GOVERNMENT’S favor. THUS it is best to be very careful with animal control or rescue/humane groups because they want to play policeman and get ‘cha. Instead, the minute AC accuses you of anything at all, call a criminal defense attorney, preferably one that has some experience with animals and animal law. We normally only get calls AFTER everything has been seized. The time to call is way before that, because you can never, never, never trust animal control or humane groups.
BELOW IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE POST SEIZURE HEARING CASE IN CALIFORNIA: directly after, is our advice…….(there is a gap of about 4″ due to size of the pdf) Have tried to enlarge the page so it’s readable..
——- >> The reason for this seizure not meeting the legal mark, is because, although the animals had water, the AC officer admitted, under cross exam, some did not have “enough” water but AC DID NOT GIVE THE ANIMALS WATER. And when queried how long the animals took to be taken in, AC officer said 7 hours. Actually–this is typical of animal control. They try and dehydrate animals so they can photograph them later, after the seizure, after the “roundup”, after hours and hours go by that they have stressed the animals for hours……….then they take the pictures!!!!
It should be known that under the CA Penal Code, the animals do not have to be suffering exigent circumstances in most cases for seizure, IF there is a warrant in place. IF no warrant in place then yes, you need one generally–UNLESS there are obvious exigent facts. This owner had grounds for a constitutional case had owner pursued it.
AND HERE WE HAVE LASSEN COUNTY JURY ACQUITTING BENNETT OF ALL CHARGES; CHARGES STARTED OUT AT 60+ THEN WHITTLED DOWN TO 20 APPARENTLY……AND THIS DID INCLUDE RESCUED HORSES, HORSES THAT WERE SICK AND UNDER CARE, PREGNANT HORSES AND MORE…………….
A Lassen County jury found Dwight Alan Bennett, the owner of the property, not guilty of 20 felony charges of animal cruelty …………………
On Thursday, Nov. 5 a Lassen County jury found Dwight Alan Bennett, 63, not guilty of felony charges that he unlawfully subjected 20 horses to needless suffering and failed to provide proper food, drink and shelter for them between May 2009 and April 2011 at his Whispering Pines stable just west of Susanville.
Another felony animal cruelty charge was dismissed before the trial began.
Stephen King, Bennett’s attorney, said the prosecution had “chain of custody issues” and during the trial witnesses were also unable to identify the particular horses named in the criminal complaint.
That’s important because each of the 20 individual felony charges Bennett faced where tied to a particular animal. For example, the felony charge in count 1 referred to a horse named Paso. The felony charge in count 2 referred to a horse named Bay. The felony charge in count 3 referred to a horse named Penny, etc.
King raised a similar issue during the preliminary hearing, asking the court how it would be able to determine which animals at the stable were unhealthy and which ones were healthy at the time OF SEIZURE.
BE AWARE………..THERE SHOULD NEVER BE CRIMINAL CHARGES WITHOUT ANY PROOF OF WHICH ANIMAL IS BEING HELD, TO HAVE BEEN THE ANIMAL ALLEGEDLY “SUFFERING” FROM WHATEVER CHARGE. In CA, we have seen AC simply tell the DA that they want to file felony or misdemeanor but then don’t delineate which animals, which counts, and etc. For example, AC loves to use “neglect” as a widespread count, but it has to be more specific than just the word neglect….UNLESS every single animal APPEARS obviously and provably neglected—they still need documented proof. And if there is no hope for any defense at all, then you probably need to contact a criminal defense attorney, preferably not a free public defender (since defenders usually don’t have time to do a lot of specifics on cases…) If one had 50 animals and only one was sick, or even 10, should one be charged with 50 counts of neglect? We say no.