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JANUARY NEWSLETTER

A year of change - and much of it good!

January 2009

 

June, September and December of 2008 marked significant turning points in the culture of animal welfare in Indianapolis.

In June, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) Martha Boden stepped away from the agency with less than rave reviews from the local animal welfare community. She left HSI nearly $2.8 million in debt, about the same as when she started in 2002.

During Boden's six-year reign, the agency sustained a provincial and arrogant profile that was less than welcome to the grassroots animal welfare community. During this time, animals were imported to the facility from out of state while adoptable animals were being killed in our own county. Breed rescues were contacted only on a limited and selective basis. Doors were closed to strays, surrender fees were required to relinquish an animal, and a "Reservation Required" program was instituted for those wanting to surrender a pet.

At one point, Boden commanded salary and benefits amounting to more than $106,000, according to federal tax filings. To survive, the agency could no longer bleed its treasury, compromise services to the animals and alienate the public with these kinds of practices, and Boden left the agency.

On September 10, HSI announced new leadership with the hiring of John Aleshire , previous director of the Little Red Door. In his short time at the helm, Aleshire has reversed the above policies and has begun to welcome local rescue groups to the table - a refreshing change.

Of special significance is the fact that the HSI Wellness Center is being retrofitted for a low-cost spay/neuter initiative.

 

 

On November 20, 2008 Marion County officers were attempting to serve a warrant on a relative of a family in the 1400 block of Lindley Avenue . The individual was not at the residence. The offense for which the warrant was being served? Failure to appear for a hearing on a charge of driving with a suspended license in Kentucky .

In the process, the family's dog, Deoge, was shot and killed. Nine shots were fired at the dog by two officers. Five bullets struck the dog who was in his own fenced-in yard.

There is no argument that law enforcement and other public servants put their lives on the line serving and protecting citizens. Their efforts are much appreciated. But police officers are protected by broad immunity with regard to the use of their powers, making for potentially reckless and unnecessary use of their authority and firearms. It appears this poor dog was used for target practice on its own property. There are troubling elements about this shooting, not to mention that this event occurred in a neighborhood where many small children are often outside playing near the residence.

It should also be noted that firefighters, EMTs and medics also confront dogs daily in their line of service, and do not have to resort to killing the dog.

Representatives of move to ACT visited Deoge's family on December 6 to learn that these are good people, kind, genuine, homeowners and taxpayers. They are a dog-loving family and have three smaller dogs who are part of the family, as was Deoge.

We learned a lot about Deoge. He would carefully unwrap his own Christmas presents and would run around the yard with a Frisbee in his mouth and his Boston terrier companion in tow. When he had the Frisbee to himself, he would have it folded in his mouth and open and close it, looking like a quacking duck.

Since the shooting, the mother of this household has been distressed and becomes emotionally shaken whenever anyone comes to the door with an ID hanging from their neck. That was the only identification of the warrant-serving officers. During the tearful retelling of the events of that day and after reviewing the police report and examining the property layout, it became quite clear that there are blatant inconsistencies in the officers' report regarding the property layout, how they described the events, and the family's side of the story.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable seizures, shall not be violated..."

As this tragic case illustrates, every tax-paying citizen who owns a dog is at risk of having their dog callously shot IN THEIR OWN YARD - a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment regarding seizures/takings. Warrant-serving officers are on the municipal payroll. Is this acceptable behavior of public servants for our tax dollars?

All the owner is asking is that local law enforcement train its officers and adopt a non-lethal policy for handling dog encounters on personal property. It is their sincere wish that no other family be forced to witness the unnecessary killing of their beloved dog by officers who are sworn to protect the public.

David and Goliath. A complaint (see Torte Claim) has been filed by an attorney on behalf of the dog's owner, George Moore, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A federal civil rights claim is also planned.

Government holds a monopoly on power, and whether the facts of this case become public record depends on whether the courts will hear this case. The city has up to 90 days to respond to the notice about Deoge and the pending lawsuit. The family and their attorney fear the city will use the entire time rather than responding expeditiously, in order to delay, drag out, and wear down the commitment to see this wrong corrected.

Move to ACT believes that our city has the conscience and integrity to address the litigation responsibly by proactively taking the initiative and committing to upgrading warrant officer training. Such a response can go a long way in confirming its commitment to humane decency and public trust.

If you would like to see that Deoge's death is not in vain, please consider a contribution toward this legal effort. The costs of such legal action are high, but the risk of this being repeated is higher. You can help give voice to a silenced Deoge and help prevent this from happening to your dog someday. Contributions can be mailed to:

"Deoge"
c/o Ameriana Bank
22 N. Jefferson St
P.O. Box 120
Knightstown , IN 46148

The bank asks that you please include a note with the money detailing that the money be deposited into Deoge's account. Your help is much appreciated.

Local articles on Deoge:
http://www.wthr.com/global/story.asp? s=9390456
http://www.fox59.com/pages/landing_local_news/? Controversy-surrounds-police-shooting- of=1&blockID=141541&feedID=1295

http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp? S=9416138

 

On September 12, 2008, Steve Talley, former administrator of IACC, resigned after allegations of animal abuse and neglect at the facility were substantiated by two independent investigators. The IACC Advisory Board was tasked with finding a new administrator. After a lengthy interview process, Doug Rae from Philadelphia was selected upon unanimous vote of recommendation by the advisory board and his appointment was announced on December 15.

Rae brings with him a wealth of experience not only as a shelter administrator, but also from the corporate world. He is more than a shelter professional; he is a fair and caring individual who is committed to eliminating the killing of adoptable animals in our city by instituting programs and services that place a priority on responsible stewardship. An example of Rae's passion is evident in a response he wrote to a local citizen's letter that can be viewed here:
http ://www.indypaws.com/post/index/22712 Mayor Ballard's team has been enriched by another quality administrator!

Citizens are excited to see this establishment of integrity and responsible stewardship within animal sheltering in our community. These leadership changes at both IACC and HSI offer Indianapolis the opportunity to come out of the dark ages and become the most watched city in the country with respect to animal sheltering as referenced by sheltering expert Nathan Winograd's "Winners and Losers" . This new leadership also takes Indianapolis a significant step closer to becoming the "world class" city it claims to be.

As with any progressive movement, there will be parties near and far with obstructive agendas and intentions of sabotaging this life-saving sheltering orientation. This was blatantly apparent in a PETA member's December 17 letter to the editor of the Indianapolis Star, loaded with misinformation about progressive animal sheltering.

 

 

Joan M. Isaacs Attorney at Law

December 5, 2008

Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson 40 South Alabama Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 Attention: Legal Department

Marion County Commissioners C/O Office of Corporation Counsel City-County Building 200 East Washington Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

Re: Shooting of family pet dog by Marion County Sheriff's Deputies

Dear Sir or Madam:
You are hereby notified, pursuant to the provisions of Indiana Code 34-13-3-10 of the following:
1. CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CLAIM OF LOSS: On November 20, 2008, approximately 12:40 p.m., three armed sheriff's deputies entered through a closed gate onto the private property of George Moore and Toni Noland, located at xxxx Lindley Avenue, Indianapolis, allegedly to serve an arrest warrant. In their statements to the victims, the deputies said that they had been given an anonymous tip that a person with an active warrant was living at the premises. On their arrival the deputies entered the fenced area of private yard past "Beware of Dog" signs that were prominently displayed on all four sides of the chain link fence surrounding the property. There was a fifth "Beware of Dog" sign posted in clear view on the front door. The deputies reported they walked around in the yard and peered into the house and also the garage, which is situated right beside the dog's house, for 5-10 minutes before the family's dog approached one of them as they were exiting the property after the failed search, allegedly biting him on the left hand. Two of the deputies then fired nine rounds of ammunition at the dog from a distance of several feet, but failed to kill him. The family members were forced to watch their dog suffer for over one hour, critically injured and lying in a pool of blood in their front yard. Brian Ohler was present in the yard during the shooting and witnessed the violence as it actually occurred.

10110 Hermosa Drive Indianapolis, Indiana 46236 Phones: (317) 823-8977; 690-4055 Email: jmijd@yahoo.com

2. EXTENT OF LOSS: as a direct result of the incident, the following losses were suffered: a. Severe emotional damages including intentional infliction of emotional distress; b. Trespassing on private property without a search warrant; c. Loss of personal property; d. Unlawful search and unlawful seizure of personal property; e. Medical bills and costs.

3. AMOUNT OF DAMAGES SOUGHT: Unknown at this time.

4. CLAIMANTS: George Moore; Brian Ohler

5. RESIDENCES OF PERSONS MAKING THE CLAIM: George Moore: xxxx Lindley Avenue, Indianapolis Indiana; Brian Ohler: xxxx West 11th Street.

If yours is not the proper office to notify with regard to the foregoing claim, please forward this correspondence to the appropriate office. If there is any other information which you require to process this claim or to conduct an investigation, please contact the undersigned prior to the one hundred and eighty (180) day limitation date.

Sincerely,
Joan Isaacs

 

Move to ACT looks forward to a new year with our community's two largest animal agencies focused on working in concert to saves lives.

 

The mission of Move to ACT is to heighten community awareness of animal welfare issues and to advocate for improved policies and practices. MtA seeks truth and responsibility and is guided by principles of respect, accountability and integrity.


The Board of Move to Act

Move to Act

phone: (317) 317-641-9300