From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:

Pet theft
The Oregon Court of Appeals o n
May 18 overturned a $100,000 defamation
award to former laboratory animal supplier
James Joseph Hickey, issued by a Linn
County Circuit Court jury in July 1994 against
his godmother Merthal Settlemier, over
remarks she made to the ABC television program
2 0 / 2 0 in a 1990 episode about pet theft
called “Pet Bandits.” Hickey lost a similar suit
against ABC, heard in federal court. The
appellate court ruled that Hickey, as a public
figure, had the burden of proving that Settlemier’s
claim that his animal care was “inhumane”
was false, and that he “presented no
evidence that the conditions defendant
described did not exist on the day she visited.”

Hickey took over his father’s business after the
USDA suspended the senior Hickey’s Class B
permit in 1988. Hickey himself drew a license
suspension in 1989, and then surrendered his
license in 1991, when he was fined $10,000
for failing to meet Animal Welfare Act care
and record-keeping standards. The USDA
brought additional charges of dealing in undocumented
dogs against Hickey in May 1994. A
former Hickey employee, David Stephens,
meanwhile set up as a Class B dealer, operating
for three years before he was shut down in
April 1992, largely through the investigative
efforts of Oregon animal advocates B o b b i
M i c h a e l s and Dana Entler. Stephens, his
wife Tracy Stephens, and associate B r e n d a
Linville were all convicted of fraudulently
obtaining animals in February 1993. The U.S.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld those verdicts
in March 1994.
Lew Wasserman, attorney for
Animal Lobby founder Cindy Schultz, of
Thiensville, Wisconsin, told media Schultz
would plead innocent to two counts of being an
accessory to dog theft and one count of
obstructing a police officer, filed in late May.
Reported Associated Press, “A criminal complaint
filed by the Milwaukee County District
Attorney’s office said Schultz told another
woman that seven or eight neighbors took two
Gordon setters from a backyard in suburban
Whitefish Bay on January 17. The complaint
said Schultz was involved in getting the dogs
to an underground network that placed them in
homes in Greendale and Naperville, Illinois,
where they were eventually found. The dogs
were healthy, but neutered when returned.”
An Animal Lobby bulletin says the purportedly
valuable hunting dogs, belonging to one
Rebecca Smith, were kept outdoors in filth,
and were neglected in extreme heat and cold
for months before they were taken.

Julie Padilla indicted again
SANTA FE––Former Santa Fe
Animal Shelter Director Julie Padilla,
50, near the end of a five-year suspended
prison sentence for embezzling at
least $85,000 from the shelter, was
indicted in late May by a Santa Fe
County grand jury for allegedly depositing
$6,434.30 not belonging to her into
her personal account. The alleged
offense occurred on February 29.

Those who thought University of
Florida art student Vince Gothard, 24,
should have hell to pay for dipping 40 live
mice into hot resin were shocked on May
17 when there was only the Humane
Society of the U.S. to pay: copping a plea,
Gothard agreed to donate $500 to HSUS
and do 50 hours of community service.
“I am not ashamed of what I
did,” the remorseless Gothard said. “I am
ashamed of how people reacted.”

Attorney Otto Ruge on May 20
won dismissal of charges filed in Fredriksstad,
Norway, against Sea Shepherd Conservation
S o c i e t y international director of operations
Lisa DiStefano in connection with the January
1994 scuttling of the whaling ship Senet, later
refloated. Ruge successfully held that
DiStefano had not been properly summoned to
stand trial. The crown reportedly will appeal.
The Indiana Supreme Court decided
3-1 with one abstention to let stand three
split verdicts of Superior and Appeals courts
that the state Public Records Law and Open
Door Law do not allow public access to documents
and meetings of Institutional Animal
Care and Use Committees, who under the federal
Animal Welfare Act must approve work
using animals in federally funded research or
facilities. The case was filed in 1990 by Scott
Robinson, M.D., of Indianapolis.
All charges against Chicago
Animal Rights Coalition founder Steve
H i n d i in connection with his February 19
arrest while tryting to videotape a deer cull in
Minnetonka, Minnesota were dropped just
before a scheduled June 10 court appearance.
Charges remain against Minnetonkans Against
Cruelty members Bobbi Rudh and M a r y
Constantine for allegedly interfering with the
cull by being briefly near a deer trap to set up
and retrieve Hindi’s hidden cameras. They
were apparently seen from ambush by police,
who intercepted them in Hindi’s van several
blocks away. Allowing them to return to the
van enabled the police to seize and inspect
Hindi’s array of high-tech surveillance equipment.
The equipment was returned a week
later, some of it damaged, under court order.
In a separate case, a small claims
action Hindi and fellow activists Greg
Campbell and Mike Durschmid filed against
four Lake County sheriff’s officers for false
arrest was dismissed on a technicality June 11,
with provision for refiling. Hindi, Campbell,
and Durschmid were accused of illegally using
megaphones in a 1995 protest against the
Wauconda Rodeo, but the Illinois state attorney
refused to prosecute.
Hunt saboteur Simon Wild, 38, of
West Sussex Wildlife Protection, on June 11
won his fifth out-of-court settlement in lawsuits
against police for false arrest and use of
excessive force. Wild has collected almost
$12,000. “The money means I can afford to
keep going to demos and hunts, and I have
bought a video camera to record the police so
that we have hard evidence against them,” he
told Joanna Bale of the London Times.

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