Kinship Circle: Act – Undue Justice: Stu On Death Row, 4 years

July 1st, 2009 9:07 pm by Kelly Garbato

Kinship Circle - 2009-06-18 - Stu On Death Row for 4 Years 01

Though I’ve started linking to Kinship Circle’s alerts (as opposed to re-formatting and crossposting) whenever possible, I decided to publish this alert in in entirety anyhow (and even though I did indeed link to it in last week’s weekend link roundup). It’s just one of those stories that boggles the mind; even more so since it’s been dragging on for nearly four years now.

If you’ve been reading easyVegan for any length of time, you’ve probably already seen at least one alert dealing with the plight of Stu and Jeff de la Rosa. In August of 2005, Stu and another of Jeff de la Rosa’s furkids got into a scuffle, in which Stu was hurt. The “pet” sitter/assistant attempted to slip a harness over Stu’s head so that she could take him to the vet. Injured and cornered, Stu bit the assistant. Initially, there wasn’t an issue, as the bite was superficial. A month later, however, the sitter decided to sue, and Stu was confiscated without his father’s knowledge. Stu has been languishing in the “care” of LAAS (L.A. Animal Services) ever since. While experts have determined that Stu is not a danger, on death row he sits.

Thus far, Stu has spent four of his nine years imprisoned, the victim of injured pride, ego and bureaucracy (all of them human). Stu, now a senior, has not shown aggression towards any of his handlers since the August 2005 incident, and yet the city remains dead set on killing him. They continue to fight for his death, in fact. Four years of food, housing, medical care and legal bills – you’d think the city of Los Angeles could find a better use of its money, no?

The whole sad, sorry affair seems even more egregious in light of the “small victories” we celebrate daily – victories such as Gramby’s adoption after 2 1/2 years spent in a kenneled rescue facility. Gramby’s story, while unfortunate and commonplace, is also somewhat understandable – after all, he had no home to return to. His prison sentence was one of both necessity and compassion. But Stu – Stu has a life and family waiting for him. Stu remains imprisoned not out of human kindness, but rather human ugliness. There are no excuses for the injustices committed against Stu. The electric chair for a misdemeanor, indeed.

Please take a moment to read the Examiner article referenced below, and contact the LA City Attorney, the LA Public Safety Committee, LA City Officials and the LAAS. Kinship Circle has helpfully provided contact info and a sample letter (see below), but personalize the letter if possible. By all means, be indignant, stern and outraged – but also polite and respectful.

And also, spread the word – feel free to crosspost the Kinship Circle alert as written!

Previous alerts:

04/13/09 – Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Alerts – #3. Save Stu – Wrongfully Impounded Since 9/15/05

12/25/07 – Kinship Circle: UPDATES: Year-End Victories & Setbacks, SEPT – DEC 2007 (Parts 1 & 2) – #17. Stu Is Spared, But NOT Free Or Exonerated

09/17/07 – Kinship Circle: September Kinship Circle Digest (Parts 1 and 2) – #44. Unhappy Anniversary For Stu! Will He Ever Be Freed?

06/20/07 – Kinship Circle: JUNE KC DIGEST: Saving Stu, Dolphin Captures, Oasis In Trouble + MORE – #1. Saving Stu – Legally They Can Kill Him Any Day Now

06/20/07 – Kinship Circle: Saving Stu: Legally They Can Kill Him Any Day Now

01/10/07 – Kinship Circle: Stu In Grave Danger. Again. [KC MEMBER ALERT]

09/08/06 – Kinship Circle: UPDATE: Stu Is Safe!

09/06/06 – Kinship Circle: LETTER / End Stu’s Nightmare Inside LAAS

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 8:15 PM
Subject: Act/ Undue Justice: Stu On Death Row, 4 years

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
6/18/09: Undue Justice – Stu On Death Row, 4 Years And Counting

Kinship Circle - 2009-06-18 - Stu On Death Row for 4 Years 01

PHOTOS LT-RT: Stu at Thanksgiving, 2008 after 3+ years in custody. Stu with former Animal Services Board Commissioner Marie Atake, who famously resigned in 2007, frustrated in her attempts to increase Department integrity and professionalism. Stu, on day he was impounded by L.A. Animal Services, 2005.

Source: The Examiner: Playing political games with a dog’s life

Kinship Circle does not usually cover complex dog custody cases. Stu’s story is different. His person, Jeff de la Rosa, is a Kinship Circle supporter. We’ve watched Stu grow old in “jail” since he was wrongfully impounded in 2005. Please read the sample letter below, and an account of Stu’s ordeal after that. Stu still faces death. As always, the decision to act is yours.

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EMAIL BLOCKS: Sample letter + Complete contact information at end

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* TO SEND: COPY/PASTE EMAIL BLOCKS INTO BCC: LINE OF YOUR EMAIL
* TYPE YOUR OWN EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE TO: LINE
* COPY/PASTE SAMPLE LETTER INTO SAME EMAIL.
* Change some words, sign with your name/full address and send!

LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE & BOARD OF ANIMAL SERVICES COMMISSIONERS
Rocky.Delgadillo [at] lacity.org, Laurie.Rittenberg [at] lacity.org, Todd.Leung [at] lacity.org, Dov.Lesel [at] lacity.org, tariqkhero [at] gmail.com, ninekitties [at] aol.com, ireneponce [at] earthlink.net, secundar [at] unitedtalent.com, ajq1trq2 [at] aol.com, Jim.Bickhart [at] lacity.org, Ani.Commission [at] lacity.org

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE & CITY OFFICIALS
councilmember.weiss [at] lacity.org, weiss [at] lacity.org, Councilmember.Parks [at] lacity.org, Bernard.Parks.Jr [at] lacity.org, councilmember.smith [at] lacity.org, Dennis.Zine [at] lacity.org, councilmember.reyes [at] lacity.org, ed.reyes [at] lacity.org, David.Hersch [at] lacity.org, Mike.Hernandez [at] lacity.org, Moniquea.Roberson [at] lacity.org, jose.gardea [at] lacity.org, rebecca.valdez [at] lacity.org, guadalupe.duran.medina [at] lacity.org, lisa.flores [at] lacity.org, tony.perez [at] lacity.org, monica.valencia [at] lacity.org, mayor [at] lacity.org

CONTACT WITH NO EMAIL AVAILABLE:
[incoming] City Attorney Elect Carmen Trutanich
180 East Ocean Blvd.; Long Beach, CA 90802
ph: 562-216-4444; fax: 562-216-4445

***KINSHIP CIRCLE CANNOT GUARANTEE ALL EMAILS WILL WORK***
During campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses.
Emails from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.

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GET A FORMATTED LETTER (WORD DOC): info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

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Dear City of Los Angeles Officials,

I trust all letter recipients are familiar with Stu, a rescued dog who lived an uneventful five years with Jeff de la Rosa, before de la Rosa entrusted his dogs to an assistant while away for a family emergency.

Under that pet sitter’s care, in August 2005, Stu atypically clashed with another household dog and wound up with a torn ear. It is accepted knowledge that injured animals may react defensively. As the pet sitter slipped a harness over Stu’s hurt ear, the scared dog bit her twice on the arm.

“A couple of puncture wounds,” Commissioner Archie Quincey, a 30-year veteran of L.A. Country Animal Control, would later state. Still, a full month after the incident, the assistant served de la Rosa with a lawsuit and Stu was seized from a locked, backyard kennel. Thus began Stu’s incarceration under L.A. Animal Services (LAAS) and a bureaucratic battle so absurd, Stu’s story has gained worldwide notoriety.

What is the point of keeping this now elderly dog on death row? Dr. Richard Polsky, a co-creator of City criteria for gauging dangerous dogs, and Bobby Dorofshar of New Leash on Life, also a City advisor and one-time member of its Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee — have testified that Stu poses no threat of aggression to humans. Their conclusion stems from assessment of Stu’s pre- and post-incident behavior, plus comprehension of how the victim’s actions may have triggered the bites. Dorofshar sheltered Stu at his own facility for many months, during which time he came to know the dog.

The City Attorney should call off his resistance to de la Rosa’s appeal and close the books on this case. Please stop shuffling Stu through a bureaucratic thicket and let the dog live his final years with de la Rosa.

After four years of wrongful internment in LAAS facilities, just one fair and merciful outcome remains: Stu needs to go home. Yesterday.

Sincerely,

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PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES WITH A DOG’S LIFE

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A detailed article (link) gives an accurate picture of Stu and Jeff de la Rosa’s ordeal. Kinship Circle re-phrases it for simplicity and length:

Kinship Circle - 2009-04-13 - Friends of KC Alerts 02

Stu lived uneventfully with Jeff and two other dogs for five years, before Jeff had to leave him with a sitter in Aug. 2005, due to a family emergency. He entrusted his dogs to an assistant who knew them. While away Stu atypically clashed with another of Jeff’s dogs and wound up with a torn ear.

The pet sitter tried to slip a harness over Stu’s wounded ear, to bring him to the vet. Injured animals often act uncharacteristically defensive. Such was the case with Stu: The scared dog bit the assistant twice on her arm.

The assistant did not file a report with police or L.A. Animal Services (LAAS). She told Jeff she “didn’t want to get Stu in trouble.”

Yet three weeks later, Jeff was slapped with a lawsuit. Ten days after that, Stu was seized (without warning) from Jeff’s locked outdoor kennel. Jeff rushed to Animal Services, but staff denied Stu’s release, citing a bite report received one full month after its occurrence. Thus began Stu’s incarceration, a battle of bureaucratic power plays so embarrassingly absurd, Stu’s story is notorious worldwide.

Kinship Circle - 2007-01-10 - 02 - Stu

With the assistant now dramatizing her account (Stu “dragged her back and forth across the floor”), lawyers asked for six million dollars in damages. Meanwhile LAAS ruled in its initial hearing to revoke the dog’s license. The verdict would have let Jeff relocate Stu outside Los Angeles or move himself. The verdict would have let Stu live.

Instead, LAAS ignored the Hearing Examiner’s recommendations (defying LAAS rules) and a Captain Helen Brakemeier memoed then-General Manager Guerdon Stuckey: “After reviewing the [Hearing Examiner’s] report, I disagree…and think that the dog should be deemed dangerous.” Brakemeier never mentioned evaluating Stu herself or what authorized her to override the original verdict. Still, Stuckey sided with Brakemeier to sentence Stu to death.

Ironically, Mayor Villaraigosa fired Stuckey days later for the GM’s inability to bring euthanasia numbers down. Jeff only found out about Brakemeier’s inappropriate role in Stu’s fate after securing all public records in the case, in an attempt to save his dog.

Kinship Circle - 2007-01-10 - 03 - Stu

Fast forward four years and Stu is still trapped in a bureaucratic thicket. He’s aged inside City facilities as Jeff fights a relentless legal battle. Esteemed dog behaviorists — such as Dr. Richard Polsky, a co-creator of City criteria for gauging dangerous dogs, and Bobby Dorofshar of New Leash on Life, another City advisor and one-time member of its Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee — have testified that Stu poses no threat of aggression to humans. Their common conclusion stems from assessment of Stu’s pre- and post-incident behavior, along with comprehension of how the victim’s actions may have triggered the bites. Dorofshar even sheltered Stu at his own facility for many months, during which time he came to know the dog.

Animal Services and the City Attorney’s office remain dead-set on killing Stu. Are they peeved over the negative publicity? Just before the forced resignation of previous General Manager Ed Boks, the City Council admonished him for blogging against Jeff (and other LAAS critics) on the City’s time.

Animal Services Commission, created to monitor LAAS, even advocated for Stu’s life. Commissioner Archie Quincey, a 30-year L.A. County Animal Control veteran, motioned the City Attorney to call off his resistance to Jeff’s appeal. Quincey proposed the case go back to Superior Court to drop Stu’s sentence because evidence shows a denial of due process. But Commissioner Quincey’s motion has vanished from the Commission’s agenda and a 6/8/09 meeting before Stu’s Appeals Court case was cancelled as well.

No one seems to know who’s in charge — Animal Services Commission or Animal Services Department — of meeting agendas. It is clear, however, that Stu’s case is shuffled so that Commissioner Quincey’s motion goes unheard.

Quincey intends to bring up Stu’s case at the June 22 meeting whether it’s scheduled or not. “I think it’s gone too far,” he told reporter Kate Woodviolet for LA Pet Rescue Examiner. “I have a lot of Animal Control experience. I saw the pictures [of the human victim’s injuries], there were a couple of small puncture wounds — and the dog was injured when it happened. On that one bite Stu gets the ultimate penalty? That’s like getting the electric chair for a misdemeanor!”

Kinship Circle - 2007-12-25 - Year-End Updates 07

At this point, there is but one fair and merciful outcome left: Stu needs to go home. Yesterday.

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FULL CONTACT INFORMATION

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[incoming] City Attorney Elect Carmen Trutanich
180 East Ocean Blvd.; Long Beach, CA 90802
ph: 562-216-4444; fax: 562-216-4445; (no email available)

[outgoing] City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo
800 City Hall East; 200 North Main Street; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-978-8100; fax: 213-978-8312
email: Rocky.Delgadillo [at] lacity.org

Ms. Laurie Rittenberg and Mr. Todd Leung
Office of the City Attorney
200 N Main Street; City Hall East, 9th floor; Los Angeles CA 90012
fax: 213-978-2250; email: Laurie.Rittenberg [at] lacity.org,
Todd.Leung [at] lacity.org, Dov.Lesel [at] lacity.org

BOARD OF ANIMAL SERVICES COMMISSIONERS
President Tariq Khero: tariqkhero [at] gmail.com
Vice President Kathy Riordan: ninekitties [at] aol.com
Commissioner Irene Ponce: ireneponce [at] earthlink.net
Commissioner Ruthanne Secunda: secundar [at] unitedtalent.com
Commisioner Archie Quincey: ajq1trq2 [at] aol.com
*(Mayoral aide assigned to Dept.) Jim Bickhart: Jim.Bickhart [at] lacity.org
Ani.Commission [at] lacity.org

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
Councilmember Jack Weiss, Chair, Council District 5
200 N. Spring Street, Room 440; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7005; fax: 213-978-2250
email: councilmember.weiss [at] lacity.org, weiss [at] lacity.org

Councilmember Bernard C. Parks (former police chief), Council District 8
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 460; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph 213-473-7008; fax: 213-485-7683
email: Councilmember.Parks [at] lacity.org, Bernard.Parks.Jr [at] lacity.org

Councilmember Greig Smith, Council District 12
200 North Spring St., Rm 405; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7012; fax: (213) 473-6925
email: councilmember.smith [at] lacity.org

Councilmember Dennis Zine, Council District 3
200 N. Spring Street, Rm.450; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7003; fax: 213-485-8988
email: Dennis.Zine [at] lacity.org

Councilmember Ed Reyes, Council District 1
200 N. Spring Street, Room 410; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7001; fax: 213-485-8907
email: councilmember.reyes [at] lacity.org, ed.reyes [at] lacity.org

David Hersch, Public Safety Deputy: David.Hersch [at] lacity.org
Mike Hernandez, Assistant Chief of Staff: Mike.Hernandez [at] lacity.org
Moniquea Roberson, Executive Assistant / Administrative Manager:
Moniquea.Roberson [at] lacity.org

Jose A. Gardea, Chief of Staff: jose.gardea [at] lacity.org
Rebecca Valdez, Chief Planning Deputy: rebecca.valdez [at] lacity.org
Guadalupe Duran-Medina, Planning Deputy: guadalupe.duran.medina [at] lacity.org
Lisa Flores, Executive Assistant/Scheduler: lisa.flores [at] lacity.org
Tony Perez, Communications Director: tony.perez [at] lacity.org
Monica Valencia, Press Deputy: monica.valencia [at] lacity.org

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Hall
200 North Spring Street, RM 303; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-978-0600; fax: 213-978-0750
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: mayor [at] lacity.org
Jim Bickhart, Mayor’s Office: Jim.Bickhart [at] lacity.org

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SOURCE OF INFORMATION / REFERENCE LINKS

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Playing political games with a dog’s life

Proposed [impossible] settlement in Stu’s case

Jeff de la Rosa, Stu’s dad
stu.911 [at] gmail.com

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*DISCLAIMER: The information in these alerts is verified with the original source. Kinship Circle does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the information or for the consequences of its use. Nothing in this email is intended to encourage illegal action in whatever country you are reading it in. Kinship Circle does not engage in, nor support, any form of harassment or unlawful activity. Nothing in this alert serves to promote such conduct.

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3 Responses to “Kinship Circle: Act – Undue Justice: Stu On Death Row, 4 years”

  1. Jeff de la Rosa (Stu's dad) Says:

    We both thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

    Jeff and Stu.

  2. Kelly G. Says:

    My thoughts are with you and Stu, Jeff. Keep up the good fight.

  3. Kinship Circle: Update – Stu is scheduled to be executed on 7-23-09 » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] Kinship Circle’s 6/18 Stu alert asked you to flood Los Angeles offices with pleas for the dog’s life. Now, a 6/23/09 court decision leaves Stu with a July 23 execution date — despite testimony from acclaimed animal experts that Stu poses no threat to humans. […]

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