PLEASE NOTE–CALIFORNIA CASES ONLY
Much has been written about warrants and seizures in the law, but for animal owners, breeders, livestock owners, pet store owners, show fanciers and just normal pet owners, the spectre of being cited, or having a warrant issued and served, or seizure of animals– is something most animal owners actually fear. Especially in CA, home of the most prolific animal “cruelty” laws in the United States.
And that’s only if they realize what is actually done to people, by using the HSUS drafted laws against them.
Unfortunately, we have many laws out there which really suck and so knowing that, as defense attorneys we try and stay current with the crappola that HSUS keeps churning out, most of which very few animal owners ever know about. The danger in this is that bad precedents are set in the law by morphing one bad law into even worse ones. That is the known method of ARs.
Our Background Knowledge in California
To be honest, almost NO attorneys want to be known as the ones that stick up for owners or those who are charged with purported abuse, or cruelty, or anything “bad” having to do with animals. Yet if no one does this, then the owners and businesses that don’t want to have their rights trampled simply call any defense attorney, if they know one, or worse, they don’t call an attorney at all. A good example is when an innocent owner loses all their animals even when an illegal warrant was used. Or, the proper seizure notice was never used. Or, no opposition was ever afforded the defendant. Or, the animal control ignored the law.
We have the added benefit of being able to work with CA humane officers that have been certified properly. This means they are in good current standing and in some instances, may know more about animal husbandry, breeding, proper care and feeding than some animal control officers. Being at a “bust” and seizing animals does not make one into an expert. Animal control officers attend an education program, but it is a general program that is not necessarily one which would make an animal control officer an expert. MOST animal control officers in CA are NOT Peace Officers. [However, animal control officers in Modesto are supposedly all Peace Officers. We do not believe this is the case with most cities or counties.]
A purported expert in the field of animal control can depend on the length of time and background of the person, but in our opinion, most of them which testify are not experts. They may testify as to what they saw, which is usually one sided (against owner of course.) Many animal control officers think of themselves as HSUS agents, they are always on the lookout as bust patrollers. Wanna-be-cops. Many of them have very limited knowledge of animal breeding knowledge and will transfer AR [animal rights] concepts to animal owners in their assessment.
It is a known fact that some AC officers will lie, file false data and do anything they can to gain a “bust.” We have seen it firsthand. Live and in person. After seeing exactly how bad AC can be, we resolved to try and help others who are witnessing the SAME illegal acts, or where the law is compromised wrongfully.
Besides knowing this type of background, we have worked with both fanciers and animal rescue for years. That one element of having worked animal rescue hands on gives us a very novel benefit since we know what rescues do, how they pitch their products, and what improper actions we have seen in the past. Of course not all of them do these things, but many do. We have been in countless shelters, attended rescue group meetings, been authorized to pull animals (and still can), worked with canine and aggression experts, and listened to much rescue banter.
However, no animal owner who values their property, or their property rights, or constitutional rights would side with HSUS as HSUS does not place any value on those rights. HSUS’ sole purpose is to create human rights for animals, period. Whether they say it or not.
Our Ability To Help Owners in California, and sometimes Other Attorneys
It is very helpful for an attorney doing defense work for animal owners and animal related businesses, to have had experience in the field. This doesn’t mean we are like Mr. Karp (known AR attorney WA) but it does mean that we have to know defense work, strategy, and what is wrong in the case. Animal related cases are often not won because of delayed action, and in CAthere is a VERY short time frame to forfeiture. Although we don’t believe the law is good, that is the HSUS law currently, and asset forfeiture is what the animal laws were patterned after. Federal asset forfeiture is legendary, and although state law is bad, Federal is worse.
Dogs that are set to be killed, dogs that are deemed vicious, dogs that have bitten but not risen to the level of dangerous, animals that keep getting out, animals that stalk livestock, owners that keep going over the limit, live in renters that give authority when no authority is authorized, searches of vehicles when animals are seized, searches of people just because they are walking animals, animals in a location which is part of the dwelling seized without exigent circumstances, animals outside with housing seized with allegations of improper housing, animals with food that animal control said was not proper, water bowls empty because dogs drank the water 20 minutes ago, litter on the floor because cat kicked it out of box, poop on floor because dog not housebroken……… any or all of things things could potentially cause an animal owner to LOSE the ability of owning an animal for 5-10 years, thanks to new HSUS law.
And God forbid anyone who is not a “non profit” is outside (even say at Tractor Supply with permission) giving away, rehoming or selling their hamster. In CA that is called “animal abuse” under the Penal Code, mischievous conduct. The HSUS SB 917 implemented in 2012. The first strike is a fine, the second is misdemeanor or felony. But where is the “abuse?” It would seem that the first strike is just prima facie guilt. Such as owning a dog with cropped ears=a felony. That was another law HSUS tried to pass.
Because we tell the truth, and are not liars, we tend not to be well liked. We have been targeted BECAUSE we tell the truth, and BECAUSE we are willing to defend those who may seem un-defendable. Yet in defense work, it is not our job to determine who is not guilty or guilty. That is the job of the trier of fact, usually the jury.
Our job is to see that all elements of a case are analyzed and researched. Clients have a right to the best defense possible, and that is our job to do so. Without any animal background, defense attorneys in our opinion are handicapped because they are not familiar with how animal control, rescues, and how the system is used. Knowing these elements have helped to build a better defense for allegations, since many allegations [by AC] do not have adequate proof.
Jury instructions are often selected improperly, and are a leading cause of appeals. Animal related charges raise huge emotional aspects for many jurors, and bias is often indicated.
Selecting juries can be difficult because of the AR movement’s constant propaganda re “abuse.” In reality, there is very little animal abuse in contrast to what the HSUS and AR groups pander nationwide. This is because AR groups make $$$$ off pandering “abuse” “abuse” abuse” since it is a known $$$$$ maker, and makes headlines, it is on TV animal shows,etc.
It makes headlines BECAUSE it IS NOT that common, thus when it happens, it is rather uncommon. If it was as prevalent as HSUS claims, no one would bother to read their website, because it would be an everyday thing and they would NOT NEED TO OFFER REWARDS!!! The fact that REWARDS must be offered indicate that such abuse is NOT common.
Getting Help in California From Defense Counsel
If ANY seizure or warranted is executed on you, get legal help immediately! You will only have a day or so. Do not let animal control or anyone else tell you that you cannot be represented at any hearing–don’t believe it. In CA forfeiture starts very very quickly.
We help those accused of any crime, and we also do Plaintiff work, but are especially interested in defending animal related cases, or bringing suit in wrongful animal seizure cases, and in helping on cases where attorneys are not familiar with the territory. In some cases costs can be determined by income and ability to pay. We do not publish emails, contact numbers and other information since we have been targets of hacking for years. If you want information and have a potential case, you can leave a comment on the latest post we have, as all comments are moderated.
We have several generic legal sites which are not aimed at animal related cases, and yes, it is true that we have directly worked with canine expert that testified in the case which HSUS LOST, United States v Stevens. Although any attorney can defend a criminal case, it is to the animal owner or business owner’s benefit to consider those who know the territory, and have much access to those who are actually experts in animal husbandry. And last but not least, it helps to have people who actually care what happens when the law is ignored and due process is evaded.
Below is just a picture (not of us) that we found online of a cool dog and owner. 🙂