Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The Lawrence County Animal Welfare League wishes to respond to false allegations, made by General Mike Bottoms toward the Lawrence County Welfare League.
In a statement issued by Bottoms on March, 3, 2010, Bottoms states that the League acted illegally by going on the property of Jennifer Parrott.
However, the League did not go to the property to gather evidence or trespass. The League was accompanied by Lawrence Co. Sheriff's Deputies and following orders given by the Lawrence Co. Sheriff's Dept. at all times.
The League obtained the address from Parrott's website which stated the address of her business after receiving a complaint from a recent puppy buyer.
The League did speak with a local judge who agreed to sign a search warrant for the property. However, Captain George Barturen, told the League members that the warrant was unnecessary because arrest warrants were being issued.
According to state law, animals can be removed upon arrest of the defendant. The League along with Barturen were later told by Investigator Robert Denton that there would be no arrest warrants issued, but that Parrott had agreed to sign over ownership of her animals to the League. The League was instructed to return to the property by Barturen to remove the dogs at this time.
While Bottoms claimed he conducted a thorough investigation, he has not contacted any member of the League for information, seen the animals in question, or showed any regard for the official police report made by the deputy put in charge of the investigation by Barturen after Investigator Denton's refusal to press charges.
This deputy has continue to pursue charges in this case and stated that the report that the dog's living situation was unacceptable. The report states that the deputy observed the dogs with no food, frozen dirty water or empty water dishes, and feces and debris piled in the kennels.
The report further states that the deputy observed dogs with various skin condtions, including mange, swollen eyes, various injuries, underweight dogs, and severe matting with feces and maggots in the mats.
The report also states that after Investigator Denton said he did not feel there was abuse on the property, Captain George Barturen told the deputy to take over the case.
The deputy also states that he accompanied the League to the Parrott's residence to remove the dogs who were being signed over to the League by Jennifer Parrott and to keep the peace.
In films, made by various news stations, the deputy's vehicle along with county inmates are seen repeatedly assisting the League in removing the animals. We do not feel that we should be accused of illegal activity when we were obviously performing a duty approved of by the Sheriff's Department.
There were no animals seized at any time, due to the fact the Parrott voluntarily relinquished her animals to the League. Not only did she sign a Voluntary Relinquishment for Adoption Contract, she also stated to Denton and the deputy that she was giving her dogs to the League.
No animals have been adopted to friends or family of the League. The dogs in the worst conditions, are however being fostered in the homes of League members.
The badges worn by League members during investigations were approved by Sheriff Kenny Taylor. In addition, Taylor had ID cards made at the Sheriff's Department for League members and informed us that as long as we had our ID cards, we could have the badges.
The badges are not meant to represent League members as Law Enformcement. We believe these accusations are unfair, due to the fact that many organizations as well as security guards wear badges
The county has not spent any money in the food or care for these or any other rescued animals.
All veterinary care, medications, grooming, food and other supplies have been supplied by generous citizens and volunteers.
On March 2, 2010, Judge Jim Hamilton ruled that the dogs would remain in the care of the League until further court proceedings.
The League is confused as to how General Bottoms and Sheriff Taylor have authority to overrule a Judge's decisions on moving these animals to Parrott's residence.
We will continue to be the voice of the abused and neglected Parrott Farm animals with the assistance of our attorney and other organizations.
The League would like to thank the public for it's continued support, along with Captain George Barturan for his long hours of work with us on this case.
We would like to thank the deputy, who has worked so hard to fight for these animals and the League. Furthermore, we will never forget the kindness of County Executive Paul Rosson for allowing us to use the county facility as a temporary holding place for the dogs, the kindness of Mike Robbins and the trustees for their continued work with the League and animals, Sheriff Taylor's wife, Belinda, for coming out to help with the dirty work of cleaning up the matted hair, feces, and maggots from the dogs and the countless volunteers and donors who have made this rescue possible.
We regret that this case has become a war against the League rather than a fight to insure proper care for these and other animals in need. However, we will continue to stand up and be a voice for abused and neglected animals who cannot speak for themselves.