[ SHOWGSD-L ] Dallas (Texas) Animal Shelter defies Court Order

  • From: "pmick12" <pmick12@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <Showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 21:41:17 -0500


 From another list.....(In Truth FEARE is an ARA but he is a lawyer

 Just thought I'd share the latest unfortunate incident at DAS. I would
 kindly ask that if you time, to write the mayor, city attorney's office, 
 perhaps the city council.

 Mary Griffin sent the following to her yahoo list, and it was forwarded to
 me by a third party. I have have asked for and received permission to,

 Don Feare, a local animal law attorney, is defending Ms. Griffin.


 While this is a day in which everyone should be enjoying Thanksgiving with
 friends and family, my reality could not be anything further thanks to Kent
 Robertson/Dallas Animal Services and Deborah Jagai/Dallas Asst City
 Attorney. Tryone McGill, DAS Shelter Manager was happy (his words!) to
 contact me with the "good news" Monday morning that I could pick up 3 of my
 4 dogs…Tiny had been killed. This is the same person who looked me in the
 eye and stated Tiny was SAFE and nothing would happen to him while this was
 sorted out. The remaining 3 were picked up Monday evening after hours of
 battle with DAS and Kent, then I drove back up on Tuesday (with the dogs) 
 be interviewed by a Dallas reporter. He later called to advise the City
 Attorney's office told him they ordered DAS to refund my money (see excerpt
 from attorney's letter), but DAS is still standing behind their decision to
 kill Tiny.

 It appears that lies and egos are commonplace up there and there are people
 who would like to see it stopped, but they're met with the usual excuses…it
 was an isolated incident, there was a gray area, the owner was in the 
 and so on, and the City does nothing. In the case of Tiny, there are no
 excuses, they violated a Court Order and Dallas needs to hear about it.

 At the end of my email is contact information for those who need to hear
 from anyone and everyone. A Dallas attorney also wrote a letter to the 
 yesterday that pertains to how DAS is handling the seized Min Pins and,
 separately, asking for answers on why they did not release my dogs as
 ordered. Copied below is the excerpt specific to me, so you can see the
 points Mr. Feare is making. Please note that I was not involved in the 
 case, I appeared as an "interested party" to claim my dogs, and had no idea
 what to expect. Houston may have its animal control problems, but I cannot
 think of an area shelter who would defy a Court Order. Weezel's right
 ribcage is tender, so I imagine he felt the toe of a kennel worker's shoe,
 and Widget is uber thin – he was a lean boy to begin with and trying to
 squeeze through a dozen other dogs to eat probably cost him plenty of 
 Trudi is doing well, she'd been here the longest and perked right up after 
 bath and familiar surroundings (although she is now yappy and a 
 Please email, fax or call and let them know that the City Attorney's office
 overstepped their boundaries after the Judge's decision was made, DAS needs
 to follow guidelines when deeming a dog aggressive, DAS needs to be
 accountable for their lies, and Kent Robertson is not qualified to be
 Director of anything animal-related… .whatever strikes you as wrong with
 this ordeal. People need to lose jobs over this (in our perfect world), it
 can happen to any personal pet or rescue dog. Thank you for your support.

 Mary Griffin:

 Ms. Griffin appeared in court with paperwork showing she owned the four 
 in question. The court's order reflects that upon such showing she is to
 receive her dogs back. The order includes a statement that there is one dog
 being held out of the 100 plus that is to be euthanized because of its
 "aggressive attitude".

 Ms. Griffin presented her paperwork to the city veterinarian in open court
 on the day of the hearing. The paperwork also had photographs of the dogs.
 The city veterinarian received and made copies of the paperwork. However,
 the prosecutor, whom I believe is named Deborah Jagai, stopped Ms. Griffin
 from receiving her dogs and stated that they city "will do due diligence".
 There is no such latitude in the order and her refusal to permit immediate
 release of Ms. Griffin's dogs constitutes a violation of the order.

 Upon Ms. Griffin's arrival at the Dallas animal shelter that day, she again
 presented her paperwork to shelter management and again copies were made.
 Yet they again refused to let her have her dogs, as ordered. Instead they
 stated she had to comply with City of Houston animal ordinances. It is
 unclear exactly why the DAS believes it should attempt to enforce 
 from another city, but it didn't matter as Ms. Griffin doesn't live within
 the City of Houston and so informed the employees. They argued with her
 stating she had a Houston address. It is apparently outside of animal
 shelter employee understanding that one can live outside of a city and yet
 have a mailing address of that city because that is where the post office 
 located. Again, the court order gives Dallas no latitude as to returning
 dogs determined to be the private property of Ms. Griffin.

 During the meeting that day she accompanied a shelter employee back to the
 kennel runs to point out her dogs. It was only then that she was told the
 dog to be killed was one of hers. She could not believe it because the dog
 is not aggressive. She was told it tried to bite one of the kennel help.
 Surely that must happen every day as many dogs are frightened and defensive
 when thrown into a foreign place with a bunch of larger barking dogs. Here 
 would ask if DAS ordinarily rules dogs to be dangerous (aggressive) because
 of one incident while in the pound? But be that as it may, Ms. Griffin was
 asked if she could control the dog at which time she walked into the run,
 picked up the dog and cuddled it in her arms. It was then that she noticed
 that the number on the dog did not match the number in the court's order of
 the dog to be killed. There was apparently some confusion over this and Ms.
 Griffin was told several times no dog would be killed until it was
 straightened out. Again, they refused to give her the dogs that day, as was
 mandated by the order. It was not up to DAS to set any conditions on her
 dogs. The dogs were determined by the court to be private property and were
 to be returned to her. DAS intentionally again refused to obey the court's
 After further discussions, Ms. Griffin was told that the DAS was going back
 to the judge to explain the dog listed in the order belonged to Ms. Griffin
 and was to be returned, and get the judge to change the order. However,
 clearly no such effort was ever undertaken and the statement to Ms. Griffin
 was a lie. However, Ms. Griffin was assured the dog would not be killed.

 On Monday, November 23, 2009 Ms. Griffin received a telephone call from the
 shelter stating they had good news. The person told her she could pick up
 her dogs. She asked if it was all four but was told they had killed the
 other dog. As you can imagine, my client was distraught and emotionally
 destroyed. She broke down in tears. In short, she had been lied to several
 times by DAS employees and her rights violated.

 I instructed Ms. Griffin to get up to Dallas immediately and get the
 remaining dogs before some other unfortunate event befell them. Upon her
 arrival at the shelter again the order was violated in that she was told 
 only way she could get the dogs was to pay almost $500 in costs. She told
 them that the issue had been resolved the previous week when she was there
 and DAS had spoken with the prosecutor and been told that all such costs
 were assessed against Ms. Collins, not Ms. Griffin, as is stated in the
 order. But refusing to abide by the court's order yet again, they made Ms.
 Griffin pay the fees before releasing her remaining dogs.

 While at the shelter Ms. Griffin was informed by DAS staff that she had the
 right to challenge the "aggressive" finding that resulted in the dog being
 killed but she had not done so. First, she was never notified, as the 
 that it was her dog to be killed. Secondly, she was informed the dog was 
 going to be killed and a court order was being sought. Finally, clearly the
 dog was not held a sufficient time to permit an appeal of the finding even
 if she knew to do so. The aggressive determination constitutes a
 determination under the dangerous dog portion of the Texas Health & Safety
 Code. There is certainly a requirement for the owner to be notified in
 writing of both the determination and the right to appeal. Not only was
 there no such notification but again, she was informed the city would not
 kill her dog.

 It is also worth noting that DAS released her dogs to her on the basis of
 the very same paperwork she first presented on the day of the hearing when
 they refused to release them and further refused to release them on Friday,
 November 20, 2009. Any delay in that release not only violated the court's
 order but was done solely as retaliatory conduct in this case. The court
 determined the dogs were private property owned by Ms. Griffin and were to
 be released to her. Obviously when the court wrote "the animals identified
 by Mary Griffin" were to be returned to her, there was no contemplation 
 any would be killed. Further, denial of release of an allegedly aggressive
 dog has to do with adoption out of the pound or in a bite case, neither of
 which apply here. DAS was not adopting the dogs to Ms. Griffin; she had a
 court order stating she was to receive the dogs because she produced proof
 of ownership. While one may not agree necessarily, an owner has the right 
 possess an aggressive dog. But in this case, Ms. Griffin certainly
 demonstrated to the DAS personnel that the dog was in fact not aggressive.

 It is my understanding that an instruction has been issued for return of 
 funds Ms. Griffin had to pay as ransom for her dogs. I can only assume a
 check will be sent to her forthwith.

 The events set forth throughout this case demonstrate power run amuck and 
 hesitancy to lie and violate a court order. The rights of citizens have 
 abused and violated and the court's order has essentially been ignored.
 Employees of DAS have intentionally ignored the court's order and lied
 several times to Ms. Griffin. There is something very, very wrong at DAS 
 it seems, from recent accounts of misdoings, that no one at city hall is
 willing to take corrective action.

 If the city desires to avoid costly litigation for violation of my clients'
 rights as well as continuing damage to credibility with the public, it will
 immediately act to correct these problems, including return of Ms. Griffins
 funds and immediate release of the remaining dogs to any rescue group
 receiving dogs from DAS, not just those meeting the ridiculous conditions
 allegedly set by the city attorney's office. Again, Ms. Collins stipulated
 to the matter only to ensure the well being of the dogs and the court
 demonstrated that intent in the language of the order. The only complete
 breakdown in this matter has been the despicable conduct of DAS and
 allegedly, according to DAS, complicity of the office of the city attorney.

 I look forward to receiving a response.


  Donald D. Feare

 cc: Hon Pauline Medrano Facsimile (214) 670-3409 & mail
 Chair, Quality of Life Comm.

 Ms. Mary Suhm U.S. mail
 City Manager

 Mr. Tom Perkins Facsimile (214) 670-0622 & mail
 City Attorney

 Mr. Skip Trimble Facsimile (214) 855-8858
 Chair, Animal Shelter Comm.


 Kent Robertson
 Dallas Animal Services Division Manager
 (214) 671-0704
 Kent.Robertson@ dallascityhall. com

 Thomas P. Perkins, Jr.
 Dallas City Attorney
 (214) 670-3519 main number
 (214) 670-0622 fax

 Tom Leppert
 City of Dallas Mayor
 (214) 670-4054 main number
 (214) 670-0646 fax
 Tom.Leppert@ dallascityhall. com
 http://www.tomleppe rt.com/

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  • » [ SHOWGSD-L ] Dallas (Texas) Animal Shelter defies Court Order - pmick12