Monday, November 15, 2010

Local Veteran Needs your help!

And WHO is spreading the word for him?  A local attorney. Doing this work pro bono.  There are still good people out there, we are hoping YOU are one of them.

PLEASE help this man WHO helped protect YOUR freedom.

Dear Friends,
I posted the email below on the Animal Law Section list serve. I would like for as many people as possible to know about this. I would appreciate it if you could post this to any list serves you belong to. I have a request for assistance at the end of the email. Thanks.

I just tried a dangerous dog case for two days in Ft. Worth Municipal Court and lost. My client is a young Iraq war veteran who was permanently disabled by a roadside bomb. (He walks with a cane, has little control of his bowels, is incontinent, wears a catheter, and suffers from PTSD). His psychiatrist recommended that he get a dog as therapy, which he did. The dog is his baby—or “my little girl” as he calls her. She lives totally indoors, sleeps with him on his bed, is registered, current on all vaccinations, etc. She allegedly bit a neighbor on the finger. (We vigorously disputed that it was his dog who bit the person, hence the two-day trial with 10 witnesses).

On cross-examination when my client was shown photos of his dog that had been recently taken at the animal shelter he just stared at them and tears began streaming down his face. He was devastated to see that his once healthy dog has probably lost 20 lbs during 3weeks in captivity and appears to be starving. He looked at me from the stand and sobbed, “Mr. Turner, why did they do this to Mimi”? He was so choked up he could hardly answer any more questions. The judge declared Mimi a dangerous dog and ordered that she be euthanized unless my client complies with all of the dangerous dog requirements within 15 days. This was effectively a death sentence. My pitiful client lives on $779/mo. disability checks in a home for disabled vets and there is no way he can ever pay the $500 registration fee, $500 boarding fees (as of today), purchase $100,000 of liability insurance, put up an enclosure with 6 ft. fences, pay for spay, etc. Therefore, his beloved Mimi will be killed in two weeks.

I can’t appeal this ruling because of Loban v. City of Grapevine which held that, although the law provides for an appeal, there is no court in Tarrant County that has jurisdiction to hear the appeal. When the judgment was pronounced at 6:30 p.m. last night my plan was to file suit on Monday against Fort Worth and get a TRO to stay the execution by challenging the ordinance and state statute on the ground that they violate the equal protection clause because of Loban (citizens in some counties may appeal while citizens in others may not). However, I have been researching the law since 5:30 this morning and found several Texas and U.S. Supreme Court cases which have held that disparate treatment under the law based on geography does not violate equal protection. Territorial uniformity is not required.

As a side note, the trial was on Veteran’s Day and my client proudly wore his uniform as he has on every Veteran’s Day since he was discharged because, as he says, “I am proud that I fought for my country.” I am trying to figure out a way for someone to buy Mimi and comply with the dangerous dog requirements. (I have the maximum number of dogs allowed under the FW ordinance or I would do it). If we can do this Steven has an uncle in Arkansas who will take her from the new owner.

Randy Turner
1800 N. Norwood Dr., Suite 100
Hurst, Texas 76109

Go here to help.  And here to see the story on 33news.

UPDATE:  Thanks to all WHO saved Mimi!  Read the update here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The city of FW is seventy something MILLION dollars in the red. So much did it cost the city to try this case over a two day period? Consider the salaries for the judge, bailiff/s, "prosecutor" (ala "Nightcourt" quality law school grads, barely, and other city employees sitting around waiting to testify and hear the findings at the end. The city must protect the health and safety of the citizens after all. Good thing all those gas wells and pipelines are perfectly healthy and safe.

Cost in staff salary and utilities aren't the only expenses to consider here. The hours that all these city staffers used to teach this damaged American hero a lesson also means that they DID NOT TEND TO OTHER CITY BUSINESSES, THUS CAUSING A BACKLOG ON INVESTIGATING OTHER "CRIMES" AND RUBBERSTAMPING ALL THOSE REVENUE-GENERATING TICKETS HANDED OUT LIKE CANDY ON HALLOWEEN.

The Startlegram did not report on this case, but their (ironic!) columnist nmaed "The Watchdog" wrote a whole piece praising an Azle businessman who won his case in small calims court against some valet parkers. The FW Way.

Great effort and resources to try an alleged finger-biting, that's FINGER-BITING, charge. I didn't hear what effort, if any, that went into trying those FWPD thugs who brutalized innocent citizens in a local gay bar last year. A dog, even a pit bull breed, can be tamed and reformed. Thuggish police and code enforcement/dog catching officers, not so much.