The Murder Hollow Bassets in happier days.
Baily’s recently reported that the PSPCA withdrew all of its charges against Wendy Willard, Master of the Murder Hollow Bassets of Philadelphia.
After more than 14 months, all 22 counts of animal cruelty charged against Murder Hollow Bassets master Wendy Willard in August of 2009 by the Pennsylvania Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) in Philadelphia County were withdrawn on October 5, 2010 in Philadelphia Municipal Court. Wendy was also found to be in complete compliance with all applicable statutes.
You may recall that on July 27, 2009, the life of Wendy Willard, a retired social studies teacher and nationally recognized Master of a pack of hounds known as Murder Hollow Bassets, changed forever. That day, using a warrant obtained following a trespass on her property, the PSPCA searched Wendyâ€™s barn, seized 11 of 23 hounds and pressured her to sign so-called â€œsurrender agreementsâ€ by threatening to take the other 12 dogs and subjecting her to a heavy fine if she refused.
The search and seizure was performed under the guise of enforcing the Philadelphia â€œlimit law,â€ applicable only to residential dwelling units, and not a barn inhabited by dogs. However, before Wendy was charged with anything, and without notification to her, all of the hounds were spayed and neutered after their seizure. Worse still one of the hounds was killed as a result of a botched attempt at surgery during the mass spay/neuter operations performed by the PSPCA. The 10 remaining live hounds became infected with a lung virus in the PSPCAâ€™s facility. The PSPCA then sent those 10, with medications, to an unlicensed â€œrescueâ€ operation that sold them all for â€œadoptionâ€ before any hearing on the charges took place.
Jarndyce v. Jarndyce triumphs again.
The law’s delay, high legal costs, and the passage of time have all rendered the status of the hounds taken and given for adoption to new homes moot, and have brought the case of the PSPCA versus Wendy Willard to a stalemated end.
PSPCA withdrew all of its charges, but will not be returning any of the Murder Hollow hounds. One aged hound, irrationally subjected to a pointless neutering operation succumbed on the table to the tender mercies of the protectors of animal welfare in Philadelphia. The rest of the basset hounds taken from their owner were lawlessly transferred to an unlicensed adoption facility in another state as soon as they had recovered from being neutered and were then sold to new owners for an “adoption fee” long before the right of PSPCA to do any such things had been established in a court of law.
The legal contest has dragged on for well over a year and enormous expenses have accumulated while time has passed to the point where any remedy is both impossible and impractical. The “adopted” (read: “sold”) bassets have undoubtedly over so many months become accustomed to new homes and have developed strong ties of affection to new owners. One poor basset is many months unnecessarily deceased, the victim of mindless PSPCA policy. No useful purpose would be served by uprooting the surviving stolen bassets from their new homes and lives as pets and sending them back after so long an interval to the working life of the pack hound. Their training and condition has been neglected. A quarter century of breeding efforts have been brought to nought. Former hunting hounds have been transformed into pets. There would not be a lot of point in altering their condition now.
Help is still needed however to meet Murder Hollow’s enormous legal expenses. To donate by mail, please make checks or money orders payable to Wendy Willard/Escrow Defense Account and mail your contributions to: Hound Defense Fund, 1229 Chestnut Street, #107, Philadelphia, PA 19107. To donate on line, please go to the web site, www.houndefensefund.org and follow the donation instructions provided.