Horse abuse case: Ag Commissioner Patrick Griffin responds to comments about Animal Control

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“Call me picky or perhaps even wrong, but the picture of the horse that was originally rescued, doesn’t bare any resemblance to the picture of the horse in this, the latest post (do a search on Siskiyou, which will bring up 4 posts).”
The first post called “Two horses die, one rescued in Big Springs animal cruelty case” shows a horse which appears to be a light bay with a black mane & a white marking between his eyes.”
“The second story “Animal abuse questions left unanswered didn’t have a picture.
 The third post “WEB UPDATE: Sheriff Lopey is confident felony criminal charges will be filed in alleged horse abuse case” shows a picture that matches the horse in the first post.”

“However, this post, being the 4th & last post on this story to date,  show’s a totally different horse! The picture below, which they claim is the rescued horse, is a Chestnut colour, with a white blaze down his face, & 2 white hind socks. So, either I have got the stories mixed up or they’re showing the wrong horse. One could be forgiven for mistaking colours, but not white markings on the face or white socks on the legs….I’m intrigued now…Very strange!!!”

30th April

As the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) completes its investigation of the recently reported Big Springs horse abuse case, Agricultural Commissioner Patrick Griffin said he would like to set the record straight regarding allegations that Animal Control did not respond to calls about the alleged abuse.

The gelding that was recently rescued from a Big Springs residence has gained 100 pounds and is receiving excellent care at his new location, reported Siskiyou County Agricultural Commissioner Patrick Griffin.

Griffin oversees the Animal Control division of the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture.

The Animal Control division has recently come under fire due to allegations that officers did not respond to numerous reports over the months of the three emaciated horses at the Big Springs residence.

When officials from the SCSO responded to the scene on March 31, one horse was reportedly buried alive, according to an eyewitness who videotaped the incident. Of the two surviving horses, the mare had to be euthanized while under the care of a veterinarian, and the gelding was successfully rescued. He has gained 100 pounds since his rescue, and he is enjoying his new location where he is receiving excellent care, Griffin said.

“The Animal Control office has been reluctant to engage in discussions related to the horse case in Big Springs because we did not want to compromise the ongoing investigation,” Griffin wrote in a press release issued Friday. However, “Since there has been so much inaccurate information presented about this case, I would like to address the facts relating to Animal Control’s response to the incident.”

According to Griffin, a thorough review of the Animal Control call log and messages beginning Jan. 1 has been completed. The release states that since Jan. 1, Animal Control has received 1,359 phone calls.

“There were no calls relating to horse abuse in Big Springs except the ones received on or after March 30. I have a very high level of confidence in Animal Control’s phone log and message recording system and conclude that Animal Control received no calls regarding this incident prior to March 30,” Griffin stated in the release.

Griffin noted that county offices were closed Friday, March 30 in observance of Cesar Chavez Day.

“(Animal Control) received the first call that Friday morning at 8:12 a.m. The office was closed but the message was recorded. Several other calls were received over the weekend. On Monday morning (April 2) at 8:28 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office called us regarding the horses. Animal Control responded within minutes of notification. Back-up assistance from the Sheriff’s Office was requested as well as veterinary assistance,” Griffin said.
He noted that it is Animal Control’s policy to respond to all reports of animal abuse, but in this case, “We simply weren’t called. We responded as soon as we were made aware.”

WEB UPDATE: Sheriff Lopey is confident felony criminal charges will be filed in alleged horse abuse case

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The Siskiyou County Animal Control and Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) continue to pursue the criminal investigation and care for the surviving horse involved in the alleged animal abuse and neglect case both agencies responded to on Saturday, March 31, an SCSO press release stated on Friday.

Pictured here is the gelding that was rescued from the Big Springs property on March 31. A mare found at the scene did not survive, and neighbors report that one horse was buried alive

“The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has conducted a comprehensive follow-up investigation to assist Animal Control and the Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus to successfully prosecute this case,” Sheriff Jon Lopey said in the release. “I am saddened by the senseless loss of these defenseless animals but I am confident that our investigation and the efforts of Animal Control will lead to felony criminal charges being filed against the suspects in this case.”

Case background
The SCSO and Siskiyou County Animal Control responded to a report on March 31 that horses were reportedly in distress and not being properly cared for after being observed in a small field on Obsidian Road in the Big Springs area. The report also indicated that the animals were not being properly fed and that one horse was possibly dead.

The responding SCSO deputy arrived at the scene and found two horses in a very emaciated condition, indicating that the animals were subjected to long-term neglect and possible abuse, the release stated. Another horse was already dead at the scene.

A volunteer from “The Run for Home Haven Horse Rescue Ranch” responded and arranged for temporary feeding and care of the animals. Despite the efforts of the rescue volunteer, veterinarian and county responders, one horse had to be euthanized after a day’s effort to save the animal, the release stated.

Siskiyou County Animal Control conducted a criminal investigation and filed an animal cruelty and neglect-related case against the owners of the horses with the Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus on Friday, April 13. The following week, the SCSO initiated a follow-up investigation to assist Animal Control and the district attorney.

“I want all citizens concerned about this case to realize that my department responded to this call and has taken action necessary to enhance the chances of a successful prosecution of the suspects,” Lopey said in the release. “This department fielded calls just prior to the response on March 30, and forwarded one call to Animal Control. The recent allegations that we ignored or disregarded calls related to this case are not true, pursuant to a dispatch audit conducted by the department. We are aggressively investigating this case.”

See Monday’s edition of the Daily News for an interview with Agricultural Commissioner Pat Griffin, who oversees Siskiyou County Animal Control.
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Animal abuse questions left unanswered

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By Monique Ybarra

Posted Apr 25, 2012

Grenada, Calif.

I was shocked and appalled by the news of animal abuse in Big Springs. Besides the obvious condemnation of these horrible acts of torture, many questions were left unanswered for me.
First, why didn’t Animal Control go out there right away?

Sheriff Lopey stated that when he checked the phone log there had not been an inordinate number of calls reporting the abuse. So how many calls does it take for Animal Control to go check on these animals? Why isn’t the first call enough? How much does an animal have to suffer before it is rescued?

My second question is why have there not been any arrests? What investigations need to be done? Look at the horse. It is skin on a skeleton. A second horse dead from obvious starvation. The third horse buried alive. This is not enough? Will the law not protect these innocent creatures?

It is criminal to do this to helpless animals. I can’t comprehend how a human being can commit such acts. The only justice left for the abused horses is to have whoever did this be punished to the full extent of the law.

Police: Drunk woman bites mom, family bulldog — dog bites back

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A 19-year-old woman was arrested Sunday after allegedly biting a dog during an argument with her mother after returning drunk to her northwest suburban Lake in the Hillshome.

Analise J. Garner, 19, of the 300 block of Village Creek Drive in Lake in the Hills, was charged with animal cruelty, two counts of domestic battery and underage drinking, Lake in the Hills police Sgt. Mark Smith said.

Officers responded to a disturbance at Garner’s home about 4 a.m. Sunday after neighbors reported loud screaming and pounding, Smith said.

Garner’s mother confronted her about coming home late and being drunk, Smith said.

Garner scratched and hit her 37-year-old mother in the left side of face, Smith said. She also bit her mother’s right hand.

The family’s white, 80-pound English bulldog was also bit three times on his back and shoulder, Smith said. The marks were visible on the body of the animal.

Garner was medically treated for a bite mark when the dog bit her once in the left arm, Smith said.

“The dog was defending himself,” Smith said. “She’d already bit him a few times. The dog was not charged.”

The skirmish was reported to the village’s animal control department due to the dog biting Garner, Smith said.

Garner was released on $3,000 bond Monday, according to McHenry County Sheriff’s office. She is scheduled to appear May 23 in court.

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Woman charged with animal cruelty may lose foster children – Video

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A woman arrested on animal cruelty charges will find out if her foster children will be returned to her on Monday. They were put into child protective custody when police found them living in deplorable conditions.

Police say a tip led them to the home of Bonnie Lieberman in Helena. They say they found feces all over the place, including in areas where the children lived. They also found more than a dozen dogs, many malnourished.

Lieberman agreed to give up the animals, which are now being brought back to health before they are put up for adoption.

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Three in court over badger baiting

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THREE MEN HAVE appeared before a court in Co Down today after they were arrested by PSNI officers on suspicion of animal cruelty.

The men, aged 19, 21 and 42 have been charged with animal cruelty offences concerning the unnecessary suffering of a terrier dog and a badger. They have also been accused of interfering with a badger sett.

The BBC reports that the men were ordered by the judge to desist from hunting activities and to maintain a 9pm-7am curfew. A fourth man due in court could not attend for medical reasons.

The arrests were made in connection with the UK-wide Operation Meles, which aims to disrupt badger baiting activities.

What is badger baiting?

Badger baiting is a bloodsport in which badgers are hunted from their setts and pitched against dogs in a fight. It usually ends with the death of the badger, though the dogs can sustain serious injuries in the fight.

Sometimes, baiters cause serious damage to the badger by crippling it or breaking its jaws to prevent injury to the dogs.

Badger baiting is illegal in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, and it is illegal to interfere with a badger sett.

Baiting is quite widespread across Northern Ireland, with thousands of badgers being killed this way ever year, according to David Wilson of the USPCA.

“The people who are involved and doing the damage are generally criminal gangs from urban situations who go out into the environment,” Wilson told “Badgers are strange creatures: they will stay with a sett for hundreds of years and for generations, so they’re not hard to find. These people will open the setts a bit with spades and sent small dogs down to seize the badgers.

“They don’t even care about the danger to their dogs. Badgers are extremely powerful animals and some of the injuries on the dogs are beyond life-threatening – they just have to be put to sleep.”

He said that anyone who suspects badger baiting is happening should contact the police immediately.


There is a badger cull in place in the Republic of Ireland as part of the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to tackle TB in cattle. However, some researchers say there is little evidence of culling having an effect in the eradication of bovine TB.

Conn Flynn of the Irish Wildlife Trust told that a 12-year study in the UK found that culling badgers has no significant contribution to cutting the level of bovine TB. Instead, culling can force the highly-territorial animals to flee and spread into other areas, potentially spreading the disease.

The study found that cattle measures are the best way of controlling the disease, but there are restrictions on vaccination cattle due to export regulations.

Flynn says that a study is underway in Ireland to examine the effects of the oral vaccination of badgers.

He also says that tackling badger baiting is very difficult for gardaí, but that it happens all over the state and the Trust has received a number of reports of baiting in Meath and Offaly in particular.

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Days to save the smallest dolphin

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Posted: 18 April  2012

Only 55 Maui’s dolphins remain, and New Zealand will sign their death sentence unless it stops netting in their habitat. Together, we can persuade the Prime Minister to save the dolphins.

A new report shows that dolphin numbers have halved in six years.Thousands of Kiwis are calling for a ban on the deadly set nets which are responsible for many dolphin deaths, but the fishing industry is busting a gut to stop this. Half of the tourists that go to New Zealand every year are Australian, so if we now tell Prime Minister John Key that his country’s green image hangs on this decision, we can get him to act.

If any more of these unique dolphins die it will be too late to save them.So let’s join our voices across the trench and drown out the powerful fishing lobby with our call to save the Maui’s dolphins. Avaaz will deliver the petition with dolphin costumes to Key this week before he instructs his Primary Industries Minister. We don’t have much time left! Sign the petition and share widely.

24,223 have signed. Help us get to 30,000

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Local rescue organizations practice humane methods to control cat overpopulation

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In a 2011 year-end study by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Kentucky was identified as the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the fifth year running. The study was based on a comparative analysis of more than 4,000 pages of statutes and categories of provisions.

Cat overpopulation cannot be addressed with an emphasis on shelters and euthanizing, but rather by getting at the root of the problem, said Teri Williams of TLC Cat Refuge in Berea.

A few years ago, Williams began to notice stray cats in her yard, which motivated her to find shelters for the animals.

“But the current system of allowing animals to reproduce and then letting them die in a shelter was not a humane approach to address the core of the problem,” she said.

Williams shifted her focus to a method called Trap, Neuter, Release, or TNR.

TLC Cat Refuge uses the TNR method, along with Pamela Corley of The Kitty, Inc. and Debbie Jackson of DJ’s Kitties who form C.A.R.E, the Coalition of Animal Rescue Efforts, all of Madison County.

“The problem is getting people signed on to the idea that there is nowhere for these animals to go,” Williams said, “so funding low-cost spay/neuter clinics and organizations who practice TNR is the way to curb overpopulation and animals dying in shelters.”

For example, Williams had been working with a large property owner in Berea to address an overpopulation issue near one of the owner’s buildings.

She and her volunteers had trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and released around 30 stray cats in the problem area when the business owner decided that they simply wanted the cats gone, she said.

Williams explained that by ridding the area of the cats that had been spayed or neutered, new stray or feral cats would move in and inhabit the same area.

Sure enough, she said, that area is beginning to repopulate with stray cats.

TNR animals tend to stay in the area, which keeps others out, neutered males fight less and there are no kittens, she said.

Many states that adopted the TNR method in the ’90s have already seen a decrease in their stray and feral cat population, Williams said.

Though it is impossible to determine just how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States, estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

There could be up to 120,000 offspring over a seven-year period from one pair of fertile cats, Williams said.

Residential areas are prone to overpopulation and many turn to inhumane methods of ridding their neighborhoods of unwanted felines such as poisoning or dropping animals off in other areas.

“Poisoning animals is cowardly because you don’t have to see them die,” Williams said.

Dropping animals off in the middle of nowhere or a parking lot is even more inhumane, she said.

Because the very nature of a cat is to be territorial and to learn to live off its surroundings, transplanting a cat to another area is essentially “pulling the rug out from under their whole life,” Williams said.

In 2011, C.A.R.E trapped 203 cats. The cats are taken to low-cost spay/neuter clinics that usually charge around $30 an animal. One clinic in Georgetown is only for feral cats — cats that cannot be a pet — and charges only $15. The animal’s ear is clipped so trappers can identify the cats that had already been spayed or neutered. Each animal is given a standard four-way vaccination and a rabies shot.

C.A.R.E. does not have a shelter, so foster homes are greatly needed to house the animal until it can be adopted. However, the number of foster homes available can vary, especially when one of those homes decide to adopt their foster animal, Williams said.

Aside from the grants and donations TLC receives each year to sustain the TNR program, Williams’ time is completely volunteer and she does not make any money for her efforts. A lot of individuals who run small rescue organizations are doing the same, she said, often trapping cats on the weekends and evenings while working a full-time job.

Williams believes if lawmakers allotted money to the low-cost spay/neuter clinics and small rescue organizations, instead of sheltering and euthanizing, we would begin to see a lower population of stray and feral cats in Kentucky, too.

Until then, C.A.R.E. has worked with businesses and individuals to address overpopulation in their areas. Some businesses and individuals agree to feed strays while C.A.R.E. handles the TNR process. They hope to trap, neuter and release 400 cats this year.

“I get calls from people who don’t even like cats, but they call me, because they want to figure out how to humanely solve the problem,” Williams said.

Madison County residents may contact the C.A.R.E organizations by calling Williams at 986-7840 or visiting the TLC website at

There also are opportunities to adopt a rescued cat on the site’s Adoption List on When kittens are available, they may be adopted between the age of 6 and 8 weeks. If the adoption fee is paid, the animal will be spayed or neutered for free.

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Animal-abuse shame list

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Suffolk County next week will become one of the nation’s first jurisdictions to shame animal abusers through the use of a public registry.

Administered by the Suffolk County SPCA, the list will expose to public ridicule anyone convicted of beating, killing or neglecting animals.

Suffolk SPCA chief Roy Gross said that anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony count of animal cruelty will have their photo and address posted for 10 years.

“People should know that there is an animal abuser living next to them just like they should know if there is a sex offender living next to them,” Gross said.

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Farmer accused of animal cruelty speaks

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A southern tier farm owner accused of animal cruelty is telling his side of the story. This isn’t the first time Jay Williams and the Cattaraugus County SPCA have gone through this. Their past stems back to the early 90’s, but Williams says he’s done nothing wrong. Of course the SPCA disagrees.

“They’ve put me out of business so far,” says Williams.

Dozens of animals were removed from Williams’ farm in Cattaraugus County last week including horses, goats, sheep, chickens, and cows. Rescuers say their body was covered in mange, scabs, and lice.

“I talked with the USDA Marshall’s and they said as long as I fix the slaughterhouse with stainless steal and get rid of the wood that’s in there. There can’t be any wood and I can keep slaughtering. But the SPCA said no, they don’t want no animals on the farm,” says Williams.

Williams first lost animals on his East Otto farm in 2000.

“So we did take over 100 animals off his property back in 2000 and there were probably about 200 dead animals as well,” says Kelly Chafee.

Cattaraugus County SPCA President Kelly Chafee says they hoped that would be it. But in 2006 charges were filed again, Williams went to jail, and she says the process just keeps repeating itself.

“The sheriff’s department was actually the ones who contacted us in March and they said that there were 3 dead horses on the property,” says Chafee.

But Williams says his animals weren’t neglected and he lets others use his slaughterhouse.

“The sheep were a little thin because I would buy them when they were thin and try fattening them up. Other than that I think the horses were perfect, the cows were perfect, the chickens were perfect,” says Williams.

But Chafee says far from perfect. The animals were swarming her for food and she says it even gets worse.

“Screaming bloody murder. That’s what these lambs and sheep were doing. It was so deafening that someone would be standing right next to you, you couldn’t hear them because they were so loud,” says Chafee.

Chafee says she’ll be meeting with the Assistant District Attorney to decide if they will press charges.

A rabbit and 7 horses still need homes.

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