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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE . . .
Kern County Animal Control, KCAC, is abusing its power, overstepping its authority, and violating California codes.
The Hayden Law was enacted in 1998 to protect impounded animals and require city and county shelters to work with rescue groups. Unfortunately there is little recourse under the law to hold shelters accountable for violations of it, so Animal Control continues to get away with egregious violations of the law, including the senseless killing of innocent animals that rescues and the public try to save.
Recently California passed a new law making animal abuse a felony, which Animal Control Agencies are now using to terrorize rescue groups.
HERE'S OUR STORY . . .
Save-a-Life is a 501(3)c non-profit animal rescue since 1995, and is dedicated to saving homeless cats rather than kill them. Save-a-Life provides large spaces for its cats on a 10 acre ranch. Rescue groups like Save-a-LIfe are supported by local communities and benefit society by reducing the glut of "puppy and kitty mills."
In early 2015, Save-a-Life acquired a new president, Ruben Lopez, who vastly improved the business and the property. A disgruntled worker, who had been largely responsible for the demise of the property, was upset, as her control was usurped. She made secret complaints to ACO Burgess for purposes of revenge. Burgess then bullied, intimidated, and harassed Save-a-LIfe, making more and more demands, until Lopez was driven to consider bankruptcy.
On June 14th, ACO Burgess then used these false complaints to illegally seize 24 of Save-a-Life's cats. No search warrant was produced, no citations were given, and there was no way to retrieve the cats. Save-a-LIfe challenged the seizure, but the KCAC hearing was a demonstration in abuse of power and justice. Five cats from this first seizure were killed within a few days. Only one was truly ill and was under the care of a veterinarian.
On August 2nd, Burgess charged onto the Save-a-Life property with an army of KCAC trucks and officers who began running around the property with pole nets and scooping up cats. The 46 cats that were seized in this manner were domesticated and could have been placed in carriers. Of the 46 cats seized, 6 were immediately killed, one for a bad eye, and the others for dental and mouth issues. And once again, there was no way to retrieve the cats. Burgess arrested Lopez, and after spending 3 days in Kern County Jail, Lopez was released. No charges were filed. KCAC Director Nick Cullen then sent a ransom letter to Save-a-Life demanding $14,000 within 14 days, or forfeit the cats.
Save-a-Life appealed to the KCAC Commission, but apparently no one listened. KCAC then retaliated for the appeal, months after the seizures, by filing one count of animal cruelty against Lopez, who denies the charge and is fighting back against the illegal, unethical and inhumane activities of KCAC.
BREAKING - HORRIBLE NEWS . . .
We just found out today, Sept 13, that on July 10th, KCAC killed all 24 of our cats from the June 14 seizure. This was not necessary and no one was notified. Employees of the Kern County Shelter told us the cats were still alive up until last week - two and a half months after they had been killed. We spent months trying to save these cats. We even made a heart breaking plea to save them before the Kern County Board of Supervisors and KCAC Director Nick Cullen, but our efforts were futile, as the cats had already been killed . . . and no one bothered to tell us . . . for more than two months!
Other local rescues and activists are behind Save-a-LIfe in this battle to control an out-of-control Animal Control. Animal rights attorneys have been retained and court dates are pending.
Tens of thousands of dollars from Kern County tax payers are being wasted by an agency that acts as if they're above the law. KCAC seems to prefer attacking local rescues rather than working with them. Does anyone care if anything good has been accomplished from all this. Certainly not Animal Control.
30 murdered cats so far . . and counting. What is the fate of the remaining 40 cats? Are they dead or alive? KCAC must be held accountable for their barbaric and outrageous conduct.
Thank you for listening, . . . You can help Save-a-Life with legal costs at https://www.gofundme.com/save-a-life-rescue
Save-a-Life Cat Adoptions
8448 Joshua Lane
Mojave, CA 93501