Former Pennsylvania dog law chief sues vocal critics
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2012:
Jessie L. Smith, who headed Pennsylvania dog law enforcement 2005-2011, on August 15, 2012 filed a defamation case in Dauphin County Court against Main Line Animal Rescue founder William Smith, of Chester Springs, North Penn Puppy Mill Watch founder Jenny Stephens, of Lansdale, and blogger Teresita Delgado, of Lancaster.
Before her appointment to head the agency then called the Bureau of Dog Law, Jessie L. Smith was for 20 years a lawyer in the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s office, and for three years was president of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. She is now a senior deputy state attorney general.
Jessie L. Smith contends in the lawsuit that while the Bureau of Dog Law closed about 75% of the “puppy mills” in Pennsylvania during her tenure, “she was the target of a ‘campaign of intentional character assassination’ by ‘radical elements’ in the animal welfare community, who subjected her to a ‘continuous and relentless campaign of systematic defamation,'” including false allegations of sexual impropriety and taking bribes, summarized Matt Miller of the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Jessie L. Smith charges that the alleged defamation led to her removal from the Bureau of Dog Law. “Raising new issues in the growing but still largely uncharted waters of cyberspace libel, the suit also names the Lancaster Newspapers and York Newspapers,” wrote Amy Worden of the Philadelphia Inquirer, because newspapers published by those companies printed links “to the blog that contained the disparaging remarks.”