HBO Sued Over Unreported Animal Cruelty During ‘Luck’ Production

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HBO is facing a lawsuit concerning unreported animal abuse occurring on set of its cancelled horseracing drama Luck.

In March of last yearHBO confirmed its decision to cancel the racehorse drama starring Dustin Hoffman Luck after only its first season. Although they promised safety of the animals was their first priority, throughout the production of the nine episodes, Paste Magazine reports several of their horses died during filming.

Recently, a lawsuit has been filed claiming both the network and its animal rights supervising committee, the American Humane Association, may have covered up even more animal abuse that had occurred behind the scenes. The Hollywood Reporter reveals the official document. Barbara Casey, who had worked on the set of Luck as the Director of Production in the AHA’s Film and Television Unit, is suing HBO for multiple counts of unreported animal abuse. She had allegedly been pressured to keep her lips sealed on the matter under threat of being let go from the team, and was eventually wrongfully fired for alerting authorities.

“In order to save time and money…minimize any disruption of its production schedule…rather than fully cooperate with AHA, continued to engage in and/or direct animal abuse and cruelty,” Casey states. Among the charges, she recalls underweight, sick, and retired racehorses being “drugged to perform.” Moreover, another horse, Hometrader, was killed, but because it was during a summer hiatus, his passing “did not count.”

News Link:-http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2013/01/hbo-sued-over-unreported-animal-cruelty-during-luck-production

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Ohio Owners Sue State Over New Exotic Animal law

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(I know, I know, I am behind with a lot of posts, so some news has been & gone… I’m going as fast as I physically can do… 🙂 )

“I honestly don’t think anybody should have the right to own & especially breed wild animals. If want to see a wild animal then go to its habitat instead of being lazy & growing one in your backyard!”

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Four owners of exotic animals in Ohio are suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating dangerous wildlife, contending the restrictions threaten their First Amendment and property rights.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Columbus federal court. It comes as the owners faced a Monday deadline to register their animals with the state.

In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Cyndi Huntsman poses in front of caged tigers at her Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio. Huntsman is one of four owners of exotic animals in Ohio suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating the dangerous wildlife. Photo: Mark Duncan / AP

The owners’ attorney said Monday that the state has agreed not to enforce certain provisions of the law until there’s a hearing on the lawsuit. Attorney Robert Owens said lawyers were still reviewing the agreement, but a court order detailing the arrangement was expected in the coming days.

For instance, under the agreement, Ohio officials wouldn’t refer owners for prosecution if they didn’t register their animals by Monday.

Under the law, owners who don’t register could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge for a first offense, and a fifth-degree felony for any subsequent offenses.

A spokeswoman for the agriculture department declined to comment on the lawsuit and the agreement.

The owners claim the law forces them to join private associations and possibly give up their animals without compensation. They also take issue with a requirement that the animals be implanted with a microchip before they’re registered, so the creatures can be identified if they get lost or escape.

The state has said it would work with owners on the microchip requirement.

As of Monday, Ohio’s agriculture department said it had received 130 registration forms accounting for 483 dangerous wild animals in the state.

In this Aug. 25, 2010 photo, Cyndi Huntsman holds a baby zebra at her Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio. Huntsman is one of four owners of exotic animals in Ohio suing the state’s agriculture department and its director over a new law regulating the dangerous wildlife. Photo: Mark Duncan / AP

Ohio’s restrictions on exotic animals had been among the nation’s weakest.

State lawmakers worked with a renewed sense of urgency to strengthen the law after owner Terry Thompson last fall released 50 creatures from an eastern Ohio farm in Zanesville before he committed suicide.

Authorities killed 48 of the animals, fearing for the public’s safety. Two others were presumed eaten by other animals. The six surviving animals were placed under quarantine at the zoo. Five were later returned to Thompson’s widowMarian Thompson. The zoo had to euthanize one leopard.

Marian Thompson was among those who registered animals with the state. She submitted information for the two leopards, two primates and a bear that survived.

Registration forms obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request also show she has two 11-week-old leopards on the property.

The owners suing the state have multiple breeds of exotic animals. They are Terry Wilkins, who owns a reptile and amphibian store called Captive Born Reptiles in Columbus; Cyndi Huntsman, owner of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon; Mike Stapleton, owner of Paws & Claws Animal Sanctuary in Prospect; and Sean Trimbach, owner of Best Exotics LLC in Medway, where he breeds, raises and sells exotic animals.

In their lawsuit, the owners say the cost of implanting a microchip in the animal can exceed the animal’s value. They also contend that joining certain groups to become exempt from the law means they would have to associate and fund organizations with which they disagree.

The law exempts sanctuaries, research institutions and facilities accredited by some national zoo groups, such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America.

While the law took effect last month, some aspects have yet to kick in. For instance, a permit process for owners won’t begin until next October.

Current owners who want to keep their animals must obtain the new state-issued permit by Jan. 1, 2014. They must pass background checks, pay fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds, and show inspectors that they can properly contain the animal and care for it.

One of the factors of obtaining of permit includes timely registration.

If owners are denied permits or can’t meet the new requirements, the state can seize the animals.

News Link:- http://www.chron.com/news/article/Owners-lawyer-Agreement-reached-in-exotics-case-4009262.php#photo-3692025

Los Angeles Zoo Elephant Exhibit On Trial This Week

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After winding its way through the courts for five years, a taxpayer lawsuit against the Los Angeles Zoo regarding its controversial $42 million elephant exhibit has finally gone to trial. The lawsuit, filed by attorney David Casselman, seeks to stop the display of elephants in a small, inadequate exhibit that does not meet their needs. 

The zoo currently holds a male elephant Billy, and females Tina and Jewel, on little more than two acres of useable space.

Filed in 2007, the suit alleges ongoing illegal, damaging and wasteful actions by the zoo, including construction of an exhibit that does not provide the large space and natural conditions elephants need for health and well-being.

The plaintiffs charge that inadequate conditions perpetuate captivity-caused foot and joint diseases that kill elephants prematurely, and that the risk of abusive handling practices still exists

Witnesses in the trial include world-renowned elephant researcher Dr. Joyce Poole, wildlife veterinarians Dr. Mel Richardson and Dr. Phil Ensley, Emory University neuroscientist Dr. Lori Marino, Born Free Foundation CEO Will Travers, and The Elephant Sanctuary CEO Rob Atkinson. IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle, who has been fighting for the elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo since 2003, was also called to testify.

A win in the lawsuit would set a precedent that could send shockwaves through the zoo industry. The trial is expected to last through the week.

The trial is attracting media attention and is sure to open the eyes of the public to the outdated practice of confining elephants in unnatural zoo exhibits that lead to terrible suffering and premature death.

News Link:http://ida.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=23861.0&printer_friendly=1

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