LIDA Cases

Police shootings of pit bulls and dogs mistaken for pit bulls have reached epidemic proportions. Civil rights actions can and should be filed against the police in these circumstances. Those whose guardians are of modest means have no legal recourse and their death or disability goes uncompensated and the officers' wrongful actions continue undeterred.

LIDA cooperating attorneys filed suit against the offending officers who LIDA believes often shoot pit bulls and those they mistake for pit bulls because of who they are, not what they did.

Animals are routinely evicted from their homes: A cat colony is evicted because a municipality suddenly decides to implement or enforce a no feeding ordinance. Dogs and cats face homelessness along with their guardians because a town decides to pass or enforce a limit law. Guardians along with their animals face displacement because a co-op or condo association imposes mounting fines alleging violation of a no pet provision of the governing documents.

Because the number of animals they shelter often subject them to unwanted attention, those who provide foster homes for rescue groups and shelters and those who do rescue themselves disproportionately find themselves on the receiving end of eviction notices or municipal charges. Having depleted their funds on the care of the animals these latter individuals rarely have funds for legal fees.

When other attorneys fail to accept these cases due to financial limitations of those seeking counsel, LIDA cooperating attorneys provide guidance and representation on a pro bono or reduced fee basis.

Shelters and rescue groups face a multitude of situations which entangle them in the legal arena. A foster home is sued for injuries allegedly inflicted by one of its fosters. An animal becomes ill after adoption allegedly infecting the adopter's other animals. A shelter animal stressed by its surroundings bites.

LIDA cooperating attorneys provide much needed guidance and legal support for these not-for-profit corporations.

Two cases exemplify LIDA's role in representing rescue groups: In the first a municipality sought to have animal control confiscate animals from a severely overcrowded environment. A private rescue group agreed that the animals needed to be removed but wanted to ensure that sufficient time would be provided to find foster homes for the large number of animals. A LIDA cooperating attorney protected the interests of the animals by representing the group at the court hearing.

The result of LIDA's intervention was a Court Order which authorized the rescue group to act and provided it with a realistic time frame within which to accomplish its mission. Animals were rehomed rather than euthanized.

The second case involved a more tragic scenario. The executor of an estate had abandoned the formerly indoor cats of the decedent outside in the dead of winter. Prior to the involvement of rescue many cats had already succumbed to the cold and to starvation. Once involved, the rescue group worked tirelessly through difficult conditions to ensure the survival of the remaining cats. Bills for veterinary care mounted. When the SPCA brought charges against the executor a LIDA cooperating attorney intervened on behalf of the rescue group. The plea agreement which was ultimately achieved not only provided for the defendant to pay fines to the SPCA but also that the defendant reimburse Rescue for a portion of the considerable sums expended. LIDA represented the interest of the animals by securing the financial resources necessary for the rescue to continue its lifesaving efforts on behalf of the cats.

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