Love Always Wins

Court rules in favor of animals in cruelty case

Pictured above: Hattie before (at left), and Hattie now with family members on vacation (at right).

Last week we won a very important and very long legal challenge thanks to an incredible legal team made up of three HSHV Board members— Susan Kornfield, John Koselka and Tom Piotrowski.

Some of you may recall reading about the lawsuit in last year.  In essence, a couple forced 17 dogs, used solely for breeding and showing, to live their entire lives in cruel confinement—within a crowded garage in dirty wire bottom cages.  The Cocker Spaniels had no form of comfort, minimal socialization, and a lifetime of veterinary care that never went beyond the preparation required for competition in the show ring.

Neglectful and exploitive treatment that they characterized as “love”.

At the time of the investigation, HSHV made an agreement that asked them to relinquish the dogs in the worst condition and demanded that they get their situation under control and get a kennel license.

But, like many people who maintain hoarder-like conditions, the Harts never recognized a problem with their treatment or their illegal kennel operation.

So instead of rectifying their situation, they chose to sue HSHV and the Director of our Cruelty Investigation Department for $1 million based on a claim that we had no right to enforce animal cruelty laws or local animal ordinances.  (Despite the fact that Michigan and many other states have long given humane societies the authority to enforce state animal cruelty laws due to the recognition that police agencies do not have the expertise or time to enforce these important laws.)

If their side had prevailed our role in enforcing animal cruelty laws and our mission in the community to protect the innocent could have been seriously compromised.

I want to say how deeply grateful I am for our crackerjack legal team; HSHV’s dedicated Cruelty and Rescue Director, Matthew Schaecher, and his team; HSHV supporters who allow us to do this critical work on behalf of the voiceless and vulnerable; and, last but not least, a jury, who saw right through the ruse, and said love is more than a word.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.



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All images and photographs are courtesy of HSHV staff and Jeffrey E. Roush of Two Cat Studios.