Wendy Willard, M.B.H.
Cat, the administrator of Basset Town Hall, quoted this statement by Wendy Willard, which she says she found on “one of the basset boards.” (I’m still trying to find which that was.)
One of NYM’s own commenters, Denise, posted it this morning, in the comments on the first Murder Hollow Bassets posting.
First a huge thank you for all your words of support and everything that you have done! I had my third visit today from the PSPCA and again threats of multiple citations if I didn’t cooperate with these lovely folks. I can fill you in the details, but more important fish to fry (sorry, Jeep [the reference to "Jeep" is a private comment addressed to a friend of Ms. Willard's: Mrs. Peyton S. Cochran, Master of the Calf Pasture Bassets of Maryland]).
I have been deluged by phone calls and e-mails from all over the country, from a lawyer in GA (” forget the SPCA, go directly to the State Attorney General”) to the manager of a shelter in IL (“can’t believe.. and horrified”). The blogs seem to have been in over drive.
Good news is we got a very sympathetic article in one of the two major papers today. A reporter has also called from the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as the AKC and the Chronicle of the Horse (Molly Sorgi? [Molly Sorge] 804-994-2349). My problem is that if I respond personally, the SPCA has made it clear that I must “cooperate or multiple citations will be issued and there would be no PA Kennel License”.
So here is my response to the PSPCA website (www.pspca.org/news), first article about the Murder Hollow Bassets. I cannot respond to anyone in the media or even the PSPCA, but I can let you know. Whatever you chose to do with my information, oh well.
1. Only one dog barking complaint from unknown neighbor, no other complaints. That neighbor has yet to come forth, although all, I mean all have expressed dismay in writing. Never in the 22 years of having a kennel here has anyone come to me to complain in person, writing, or e-mail.
2. The websites indicated that the SPCA left requests to be contacted. The ‘Humane Law Officer’ (her term, not mine) left a card in my door with no information, no requests for a call, no warnings or no citations a few days before the raid. Absolutely none. She could have left a note to call, because I get lots of cards from grass cutters to painters. No mention of any 12 dog limit in the city.
3. Yes, I initially refused entry with a long explanation about abuses due to the new Dog Law. Two Dog Law Officers (from Harrisburg in two trucks), three PSPCA officers (in three trucks, not including the small truck with those tiny multiple pens on the side), and two Police Officers (two police cars) quickly returned with a search warrant.
4. The PSPCA did NOT work with the owner to reduce the number of dogs. Officer Tara Loller repeatedly, repeatedly threatened to take all the dogs if I did not give her 10. Under extreme duress and far outnumbered, I handed over 10 hounds. Talk about Sophie’s Choice in the dark. Then they found Hansel and demanded one more. I gave them my other house hound, taking off her collar and Invisible Fence collar. All the time crying hysterically and protesting loudly.
5. When forced to sign release papers for the now 11 hounds, I explained that Betsy Park [Mrs. James M. Park, Master of the Sandanona Hare Hounds of Millbrook, New York] was the technical owner of three and wrote her name at the bottom of the forms. (Betsy, sending you copies.) Officer Loller assured me that Betsy Park would get first consideration for adoption.
6. A ‘Warning’ for re-inspection was issued, but no other warning or citation. A copy of the Philadelphia Animals laws (17 pages) included 3 lines which stated “No residential dwelling unit shall keep a total of more than twelve (12) adult dogs or cats combined of which no more than four (4) may be unneutered”, was left in my kennels. These laws were never handed to me before or after the raid, and I was never informed of these laws by my Philadelphia Vet or the Philadelphia Dog Licensing Agency that took my money year after year.
7. At the first re-inspection, the ‘Humane Law Officer’ was accompanied by an Assistant District Attorney, Barbara Paul. They found the conditions of the hounds (one bitch needed nail trimming, all done by my Vet) and kennels to be satisfactory (some ceiling insulation tiles were more securely fastened). The indentations in the limestone screenings outside the kennel made by random scratching will be filled with more screenings. That should have been accomplished, but the black cloud over the kennel dropped 6+” of rain on Sunday. Tons of stone are being dumped on the lane first.
8. The DA left her card and asked to be phoned with questions. I e-mailed her a question about the definition of “residential dwelling unit”. Is the barn a separate unit? As it was constructed and only used by hounds, does that make the barn a residential unit? She replied that she could not give me that information because we may be in “adversarial positions” and directed me to the Philadelphia Bar Lawyer Referrals.
9. To date, no one has been told of the location of the seized hounds and no calls have been returned from Officer Ray Little, the PSPCA Adoption Agent. A neighboring Vet who has offered free health care for the life of the adoptees and wants Khaki has not heard from them. David Gottier who wants the two litter mates of his hounds and Sandy McKenna who wants the one year old fuzzy bitch have been stone walled. Dr. Roy Feldman and Pat Renner from my Hunt have not heard back. But there is an urgent message on the PSPCA website asking for foster homes and adoptions, because they have no room in the shelter.
Again, I am asking you to be in the position of the messenger, but feel free to ask me any questions. Thank you SO much.
[The posted text also includes at the very bottom the name Julian Praeger, an attorney who may be representing Ms. Willard.)