Update: LA’s Animal Control and StuThe Dog

by Mary Haight on July 28, 2009

Recap

Stu, the dog, who has been wrongfully kept from his owner for nearly four years at LA Animal Services on a bogus charge of being a”dangerous dog,” may get out of this mess alive yet. The Appeals Court had ruled that Animal Services could kill the dog as early as July 23. It did not matter that Stu’s designation as “dangerous” was in err, that he passed all tests for aggression with flying colors, administered by the man who devised the tests and standards for LA, despite the fact that Stu had no priors, and that there were missing documents in Stu’s case that gave rise to serious questions of possible criminality (tampering with County records is a crime), another injustice would be piled on the back of this dog.

Stu

Stu

Archie Quincey, the incisive Commissioner who had repeatedly requested the paper trail on Stu’s missing intake records, was one person who had vast experience and a deep understanding of Animal Services given his 32-year service to LA County Animal Control. Quincey pointed out that it was a mystery how the dog got out of his locked backyard kennel, ending up at Animal Services, the chain of possession record was missing, the bite was reported more than a month after the incident, and we can’t omit the catalyst for Stu’s incarceration: the $6 Million dollar lawsuit against Stu’s owner by his assistant, bit while putting a harness over a newly ripped ear flap.

Add to that insult the injury of the deliberate omission of Stu’s case and these points of inquiry to the agenda of the Commission’s next meeting, as requested and agreed to by the Acting GM of Animal Services at the April, June and July meetings. This stopped the Commission from acting to clear Stu’s case. The Commission can only vote on what’s on the Agenda. The City Attorney also obstructed another avenue of recourse for Stu by refusing to drop the case against the dog, even with all the evidence that the dog was not dangerous. Very odd behavior.

Today

The Animal Services Commissioners proposed changing L.A.’s Municipal Code to allow the Board to overrule the General Manager’s verdict of death against dogs the Animal Services department has determined to be dangerous, even after the appeals process has been exhausted, if new evidence becomes available. This will be made retroactive to include Stu.

Stu is in legal limbo now, until this measure is drafted and goes through the City Clerk for assignment to a committee. I hope someone interjects with a release of custody to the owner. Until such time as the ordinance is completed, Stu could remain under house arrest.

If the City had acted as they should have years ago, with common sense, they wouldn’t have this problem. Why so invested in hurting this dog and his owner? And nearly four years is quite an investment. What a tangled web…

An aside: Commissioner Archie Quincey, champion of the law and its process in this case, resigned effective July 23. The Deputy Mayor apparently “asked” that he apologize to Animal Services for accusing them of criminal behavior. Rather than take back what he said and mislead the public by “toning things down” he quit.

Comment: It is a mistake to “tone things down” to cover up wrongdoing. And such mistakes are compounded by forced apologies. While inconvenient for some, the truth is required for law to have its intended effect. Kudos to Quincey. But I hope he’ll go back, sans apology of course.

With thanks to Kate Woodviolet, LA Pet Rescue Examiner, for her detailed coverage of this story.  Related article: LA’s Animal Control Gone Wild

5 comments
Mad
Mad

Please let me know whatever happened to Stu. Thanks.

Antonina LiCastri
Antonina LiCastri

Please make sure that Stu goes home finally to Jeff and his remaining dogs siblings! Antonina LiCastri

Ashley Greenspan
Ashley Greenspan

This sums everything up, very well written, accurate and explains the whole story without trying to blame the owner of the dog or lawyers. This exemplifies the truth - a specific case where people in higher power are targeting a person (for no reason) without evidence of wrongdoing while Jeff's life is in limbo as well as Stu's. I pray every second that this gets resolved - as it is obvious to even the average person not well versed in law or the committee to see the MAJOR wrongdoing and CORRUPTION involved in this matter.

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