From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:


Reporter Tom Lyden, 34, of KMSP-TV, Channel 9, in Minneapolis, was on May 15 charged with theft, unauthorized borrowing, and tampering with a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors, for taking a videotape of dogfighting from a car which was parked outside the home of junior flyweight boxer William Grigsby during an April 27 police raid. The car turned out later be Grigsby’s. Police and humane officers seized 13 pit bull terriers and other evidence that Grigsby may have been involved in dogfighting, but missed the video, which according to those who have seen it appears to depict Grigsby at a dogfight. Lyden called taking the video “aggressive reporting.” The Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists called it a major breech of reporting ethics.

Municipal court judge Thomas F.X. Foley of Freehold Township, New Jersey, in early April dismissed due to lack of evidence a case brought by M o n m o u t h County SPCA chief cruelty investigator Stuart Goldman against the Clyde BeattyCole Brothers Circus, of Deland, Florida, for allegedly overworking an elephant named Helen during a series of performances in August 1999. Goldman previously tried to prosecute the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus in 1996 for allegedly violating an ordinance by exhibiting elephants in a parking lot.

An attempted prosecution of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for allegedly abusing seven elephants before an appearance in San Jose, California, on August 23, 1999 also failed due to lack of evidence, San Jose Mercury News r e p o r t e r Linda Goldson disclosed on May 9. Santa Clara County deputy district attorney R o b i n W a k s h u l l told Goldston that although the Humane Society of the Santa Clara Valley could establish that some of the elephants were injured, it was never able to identify exactly who injured them. Since criminal offenses must be charged to a particular person, no case could be brought.

U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt of Wilmington, North Carolina on May 8 dismissed a claim by Oregon Trail Films coproducers Eric Epperson and Alan James that veteran movie animal handler A l i c i a Rudd misrepresented her ability to direct a trained mule named El Berta. Epperson and James held that delays caused by El Berta balking cost eight hours and $111,111––about a fourth of their total cost overrun in making the soon-to-be-released film, called Morgan’s C r e e k. Rudd told the judge that James had tried to overwork El Berta. Britt reportedly ruled that to be stubborn is a mule’s time-hon

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