They’re sick of this case

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

SAN MATEO, California––Of the first 28
employees and volunteers tested for exposure to a flu-like
zoonotic disease called Q fever at the Peninsula Humane
Society, 23 proved positive, executive director Kathy
Savesky told media on September 20, one day after a local
physician apparently inadvertantly made knowledge of the
outbreak public by appealing for further information about the
disease on an Internet message board maintained by the
World Health Organization.
The bacterial disease hit the shelter staff shortly
after 39 of 230 dairy goats seized from Fran Simmons and
Maryella Woodman of Pescadero on March 19 gave birth.
“The disease is most easily transmitted by coming into contact
with goat placentas during birthing,” freelance Eve Mitchell
explained in coverage for the San Francisco Examiner. Many
of the goats were found “standing up to their bellies in mud,
feces, and urine,” Mitchell continued, and were apparently
suffering from mud fever, a perhaps related illness usually
seen in horses.


About 300 of the 97 staffers and 380 volunteers
who have helped care for the goats had been tested as ANIMAL
PEOPLE went to press, but additional findings were
not yet available. Simmons, Woodman, and one other person
are to be tried in December on 44 counts of misdemeanor
cruelty. The rodeo publication Ropers Sports News in June
defended Simmons and Woodman, objecting that PHS
“under the authority of a tax-free organization supported by
donations, not elected or appointed by any governmental
agency, seized an American citizen’s property.” Writer Dean
Flenniken called the case “a serious threat to constitutional
rights.”
As if Savesky needed another headache, Peninsula
Animal Trapping owners Stephen Albano and Dona
Rossignoli sued PHS, San Mateo County, and the cities of
San Carlos and Belmont on September 19 for allegedly
improperly releasing animals from traps and confiscating
traps that PHS deemed illegal, and for slander and libel for
accusing the firm of violating trapping regulations.
“We’re not engaged in slander and libel,” Savesky
said, “nor do we do anything outside of our duty to enforce
animal control laws. If there is an animal in distress or a violation
of the law we can see, we have certain rights.”

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