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    Court Says "No" to Noah's Ark, Won't Enjoin LB Animal Control Re Seized Animals

    (Sept. 8, 2006) -- A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of LB City Hall in declining to extend a temporary restraining order (TRO) into a preliminary injunction against LB's Animal Control Bureau which had been sought by Noah's Ark, a non-government animal rescue group from whose facility Animal Control seized nearly 300 animals on Aug. 23 alleging they were living in deplorable conditions.

    The restraining order, which expired Sept. 8, prevented LB Animal Control from euthanizing any of the seized animals without the consent of two independent veterinarians. The survivors' fate is less certain now. LB Animal Control Lt. Michelle Quigley stated in a sworn, written declaration submitted to the Court that "only those animals deemed to be irremediably suffering by a licensed veterinarian will be humanely euthanized. Failure to euthanize these animals would cause continued needless suffering."

    City Hall's legal papers included photographs and stomach-turning allegations of sick animals in deplorable conditions). Lt. Quigley's declaration said that based on recent findings, her agency will be asking the District Attorney to file felony cruelty to animals charges against Noah's Ark and its founder Alexia Kyrklund, adding "The [LB] Department of Animal Control is continuing its investigation regarding felony cruelty to animal charges in which numerous suspects may be named." [Ms. Kyrklund, who told us last week that she's a volunteer at the facility, has denied the animal cruelty allegations and indicated the photos reflect different, explainable circumstances; no charges have been filed against her in the current proceeding.]

    Lt. Quigley's declaration further states:

    Since August 23, 2006 [the day Animal Control seized 152 dogs and 147 cats frm Noah's Ark], the Long Beach Department of Animal Control has received many calls from other animal rescue groups that have "rescued" an animal from a public shelter and then released or placed the animal into the care of Noah's Ark. These groups or individuals are now requesting that those animals be released back to them. Based on the fact that these groups or individuals placed animals in the care of Noah's Ark, subjecting them to inhumane conditions, the Department is concerned that releasing these animals to another animal rescue could result in the animals being placed into similar inhumane conditions. Additionally, as evidence in a criminal case, releasing the animal to private parties or organizations would compromise the ongoing investigation...

    "The Court's decision today is a victory for the animals," Deputy City Attorney Cristyl Meyers told after the court hearing.

    The attorney representing Noah's Ark, L.A. lawyer James Blancarte, told after the hearing that the issue which concerned Noah's Ark in seeking the TRO was whether LB Animal Control would euthanize special-needs animals which require special or extraordinary treatment (animals that need extraordinary medical treatment to survive).

    Attorney Blancarte said Animal Control Lt. Quigley's representation in her declaration to the effect that [paraphrase] LB Animal Control would not euthanize animals unless it was absolutely necessary (i.e. the animal was beyond hope) amounted to a City Hall concession of what Noah's Ark sought in the preliminary injuction...and the judge indicated that if Lt. Quigley was willing to make this repersentation on the record, issuing a preliminary injunction wasn't needed.

    Deputy City Attorney Meyers noted that animals deemed irremediably ill or suffering by independent veterinarians could have been euthanized even during the (now expired) TRO...and can now be euthanized with the approval of only one veterinarian now.

    What about seized animals that are NOT deemed irremediably ill or suffering? Their fate is yet to be determined.

    "The animals are currently being held as evidence and under protective custody at the Long Beach Animal Control shelter, pending completion of the investigation pursuant to California Penal Code section 597.1," Lt. Quigley's declaration states

    Before taking steps regarding the seized animals, the City of LB is awaiting a now-pending decision in the administrative proceeding, Deputy City Attorney Meyers said. The presiding officer in that proceeding is an L.A. County Animal Control Lieutenant; a decision in that matter is expected within roughly the next 10-14 days.

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