No Jury, No Appeals

The “verdict” is IN in Beaumont.  3 adult dogs and 2 puppies awarded to the Humane Society.  That means the owner got no trial, no jury, and has ZERO right to appeal.  That’s right, as the law on animal seizures currently stands, all a judge need do to deprive you of ANY right to appeal is to order your animals go to a humane organization or be destroyed during a rapidly held pro forma hearing where you may not even have an attorney because of the short time between the seizure and the hearing.  Whether it is your one beloved and pampered pet or the $1 Million dollar inventory of a wholesaler, you could be subjected to this form of summary deprivation/destruction of YOUR property based on the allegations and completely fictitious testimony of a single over zealous animal control officer.

This is the law of Texas but, from what I read in the news, it is or soon will be the law across the nation.  The very concept of such a lack of procedural and substantive due process should make your skin CRAWL.  I don’t think the owner of these dogs had evil intent but, even if he did, isn’t every person still entitled to a modicum of fairness before being stripped of property rights?  What kind of country have we become if we are no longer supporting that fundamental principle?

A survey in Beaumont asks: “Are fines the right response to animal abuse?”  There were 3 sensationalized choices for answers but most startling were the results that popped up after I answered:

  • Yes. In a capitalist society, hitting people in the wallet gets their attention.                              51%
  • No. Big Brother has no say in what a person does with their property, including animals.   21%
  • In addition to animal licenses, we should test and license people to own animals.                  28%
  • Total Votes: 112

I understand the sentiment behind that last one but I certainly hope that less than 25% would go to the extreme of testing and licensing OWNERS of animals, with all the government costs that would entail.  I fear the true percentage is much higher than 28.

The U.S. Global Exotics case is unusual in several respects.  An important legal one is that it CAN be appealed.  Because of that, we can get could get some firm law on several issues from the appellate process.  Right now, we are all subject to the whims of the activist animal control agents and of these teeny tiny judges in their teeny tiny courts, treated by Texas as "profit centers".  I urge you to scroll down to the entry prior to this one and support the appeal of the U.S. Global Exotics case as I doubt we’ll EVER see a better case to appeal in Texas.

 A Beaumont man lost custody of his five pit bull dogs Wednesday and will likely not be allowed to own any dogs ever again. I’m guessing this journalist is jumping forward, presuming conviction on the criminal charges, and that part of the final order will be a prohibition against future ownership.  I agree with that prediction and it’s probably even more than “likely”.   Oh, yes, lose one of these cases and you could be ordered never to own an animal again; your property rights preemptively and permanently infringed.

Arthur McGlory was “fined” $700 “to cover the cost of the dogs’ care”.  I grit my teeth every time I see this type of inaccurate reporting.  This is a COST assessment; NOT a FINE!!!  I realize much of the public may not understand the distinction but it is an important one and there’s just no excuse for reporters not to learn that distinction and report the facts accurately.

"The dogs have made a significant recovery already, since we've had the dogs for a week, the health reasons aren't the issue - its whether they have an aggressive nature or not" said Det. Lewallen.  This statement makes me truly angry!  The dogs were seized about Noon on Friday and the hearing was Wednesday morning.  That is a total of 4½ days.  Truly abused dogs do NOT rebound in under 5 days.  The last stray I took in had round worms and it took over a week of very high protein and meds just to slow the diarrhea.  If these dogs rebounded in under 5 days, they couldn’t possibly have been more than mildly and temporarily neglected and THAT isn’t a crime.  Of course, that won’t stop the court from summarily convicting him on the criminal charges in the near future.

“A necropsy of the frozen dog supported this, as the only food found in the dead dog's stomach was tree bark and dirt.”  ALL that may mean is that he’d digested his last meal and liked chewing on bark, which is not an uncommon dog trait.  “The dogs were also underweight and malnourished, which contributed to the deadly scene.”  That would disturb me if I believed it but, given the source, I’m not inclined to believe it without further information.  DAMN LAZY reporters still have reported who did the necropsy, whether it was even done by a veterinarian!

"No excuses, this was completely preventable on both parts - from the elements and the starvation" said Det. Tina Lewallen with the City of Beaumont Police Department.  Witch, get off your activist high horse.  The public is acutely aware of how few shelters will take dogs, that they will almost certainly be euthanized if left at shelters.  Yes, when the economy is crappy, the animals often get poorly fed just like the humans.  If an owner chooses that over near certain death at a shelter, in the hands of strangers, while hoping things improve; that I can understand.  Your judgmental arrogance, however, is outrageous and probably incurable!

These dogs were awarded to SE TX Humane Society.  Learn to read these "humane" organizations' websites carefully.  Like most, this one lists "adoption hours" and touts the number of animals that come in but what is NOT on their website is an intake procedure or drop off hours.  In my experience, that means they don't take in distressed animals from distressed owners and this is nearly SOP with these groups now.  At best, they want paid for accepting your pet if they will take it at all.

“McGlory said his landlord would not allow dogs inside the house, and that he was not expecting the freezing temperatures until the weekend.”  That certainly partially explains things.  Want to do something for dogs?  Support an amendment to the property code mandating that landlords permit pets in homes during natural disasters instead of punishing owners forced to choose between risk to their pets by being out in the weather and risk of losing their home for violating their lease.

“McGlory walked out of the courtroom speechless and upset after being told he would not be able to keep his three grown and two puppy pit bulls.”  And I can empathize with Mr. McGlory who doesn’t have a right of appeal although he probably couldn’t afford it even if he did.

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