(If you're a new reader, you may want to back up to the first posts of this blog - especially those published in March. They have more details of the near-obsessive interest that the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission has taken with the rescue group Tx Pawprints.)
All vendettas begin with an incident that puts someone's nose out of joint - someone who can't let the matter drop. I suspect this note from the 2004 Texas Pawprints shelter logbook is the key (or one of several keys) to the whole sorry mess.
The author of this resignation note is a member of the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission. She also attended every single minute of Laniq Adams' 2008 trial for misdemeanor animal cruelty. And she looked absolutely sucker-punched when Laniq was acquitted in less than 10 minutes.
Also, Rebecca also did NOT remove all of her cats from the Pawprints shelter during her "resignation", although she removed the eight kittens after Pawprints' shelter manager Laniq Adams told her that there was no room for them. (Rebecca had brought them to the shelter and left them without enquiring if there was space available.) Neither did Rebecca make any provision for the other cats she left behind, or even make a single enquiry as to their wellbeing.
After this note was left in the Pawprints shelter logbook in 2004, the anonymous complaints started rolling in. (BTW, no complaints were received until this resignation note appeared.) The local SPCA stopped taking the complaints seriously after their third visit to the shelter; their inspector actually apologized during her final visit/inspection. The Humane Society of Greater Dallas' Marti McManus came by to check out the shelter, and almost adopted a kitten during her visit.
But Dallas Animal Services visited again, and again, and again. Even after the 2008 trial and acquittal, they kept visiting. And the shelter's manager, Laniq Adams was still on the Shelter Commission's meeting agendas during 2008 and 2009 - AFTER she was acquitted of misdemeanor cruelty charges.
Here's the real kicker: Even though Dallas Animal Services visited the Pawprints shelter at least seven times, they NEVER issued a single citation. Instead, they finally gave up and passed the buck to Code Compliance. Earlier this year, Code Compliance claimed the shelter was in a residence although the county's Appraisal District records clearly show it zoned Commercial like other county shelters.
This 2004 note, and the ongoing saga that followed, leaves a few unanswered questions:
1. Why did DAS single out Pawprints for continued inspections, especially after never issuing a single citation? Sure, they hassled the Companion Animal Network (CAN) for a while, but the visits to CAN have stopped during the last months.
2. Why was Laniq Adams singled out for cruelty charges? Why not charge other volunteers, or the shelter as an entity? (Hint: If you look through the affidavits filed with the District Attorney by other ex-volunteers, you'll see that the persecution had little to do with cats, or cruelty.)
3. Why did the Animal Services Commission continue to waste taxpayer money in 2009 and 2010 by persecuting someone who was acquitted of animal cruelty in 2008? Couldn't their efforts be directed toward something else more in the public interest - like lowering our city's shamefully high euthanasia rates?
4. Can anyone who dares rescue animals in Dallas County feel safe against this sort of expensive and ridiculous persecution?
Perhaps Rebecca (no, I'm not going to publish her last name, she'll recognize her own handwriting) can answer these questions for us.