Friday, January 29, 1999

California: Pamela Miller says she runs a rescue/sanctuary but wouldn't let anyone inspect it so they pulled her kennel license

CALIFORNIA -- After the City Council took away the license of a private animal shelter accused of keeping dogs in unhealthy conditions, the owner Pamela Miller (aka Pam Miller, Pamela Miller-Sackter, Pam Sackter, Pamela Sackter) has pledged to keep fighting.

The City Council late Tuesday refused a final appeal to reinstate the kennel license for Pamela Miller's Millerwood Animal Rescue & Sanctuary. The license was revoked July 1.

Burbank police started investigating Millerwood after former volunteers there complained that dogs were overcrowded and living in squalor. But police have been unable to get into the facility at Flower Street and Linden Avenue to inspect it.

Authorities say Millerwood has the capability to house about 85 dogs, but Miller admitted to the council that it now holds at least 120.

Voting 5-0 against reinstatement after an hourlong hearing Tuesday, council members said it was Miller's final appeal.

But the woman's lawyer said the decision to revoke was based on suspicions, not facts, and brought several witnesses to the hearing who testified that Miller's dogs are in good health.

"Suspicions are not grounds to revoke, it is not grounds to refuse to relicense," attorney Michael Duberchin said.

He said the battle over the facility isn't over yet.

"If the city wants litigation, the city will get litigation," Duberchin said.

Burbank police started investigating in December 1997 after volunteers came forward with stories of overcrowding, sick dogs, filthy conditions and not enough food.

After investigators determined that Miller is a "collector," who didn't have the capability to take care of her dogs and wasn't trying to adopt them out, they took the shelter owner to court to force her to allow inspectors in.

Burbank police said Miller "plays games" every time they try to inspect the facility, trying to put conditions on the judge's order to let authorities inspect the site.

"We have a court order giving us access to inspect. She's not letting us in," said Claudia Madrid, an animal control officer with the Burbank police who also testified at the hearing Tuesday.

Ultimately, the council praised Miller for her intentions, but declined to give her license back.

"You have far too many dogs, you have far too few resources," Councilman Ted McConkey said.

Madrid said the city had "watched the deterioration" at the shelter for several years. Miller opened the kennels in 1992.

The outside is like a fortress, with a 6-foot concrete fence and two padlocked metal gates barring entrance. There are no markings to identify the shelter, and three "No Trespassing" signs line a walkway leading to the front door.

Councilman Bob Kramer, who visited the site, wondered how the public can acquire the dogs when Miller works an outside job during the day.

"How are these dogs adopted if no one is here?" Kramer asked.

(LA Daily News - January 28, 1999)

Thursday, January 21, 1999

Connecticut: Two Dogs In Attacks Put To Death

CONNECTICUT -- Two dogs were put to death Monday after viciously mauling two other neighborhood dogs, leaving one dead and the other critically injured.

The incident took place as the town council considers a vicious-dog ordinance. Tuesday night, the council voted to hold a Feb. 16 public hearing on the ordinance, which would place new restrictions on dogs and their owners.

Under the proposal, dogs deemed vicious would have to be leashed and muzzled while off their owners' properties and owners would have to carry $100,000 worth of liability insurance and post their properties with warning signs.

The owner of the dogs put to death, Keith Kavarsky, 28, of 97 Ledge Drive, was cited for two counts of damage to person or property, two counts of allowing a dog to roam, two counts of being a nuisance and one count of failure to vaccinate an animal. He was fined $455.

Capt. Larry Schubert said Kavarsky told police he let his dogs -- a mixed-breed 8-year- old German Shepherd named Ashley and a mixed-breed, 7-year-old Doberman pinscher named Tesla -- out Monday about 2 a.m. The dogs ran off, Kavarsky said, and he went to bed.

Animal control officer Janice Lund said that about 7:15 a.m. Kathy Sudol of 102 Ledge Drive let her 14-year-old Shih Tzu dog, Coco, out. About 8:15 a.m., Sudol found the mutilated body of the small dog in a neighbor's yard, with Ashley and Tesla standing over it. The neighbor's yard is across the street from Kavarsky's home.

Kavarsky's dogs, which were acting aggressively, would not let the owner and her husband near the Shih Tzu's body, and chased the Sudols back to their home, where they called police.

Before police arrived, Kavarsky's dogs apparently attacked another dog, one owned by Rita Desrochers of 127 Ledge Drive. The 15- year-old cocker spaniel named Barney was critically injured, receiving several bites.

Police said they followed the attacking dogs to Kavarsky's home. The dogs acted aggressively toward police officers before Kavarsky, who was asleep, was awakened, police said.

Lund said a remorseful Kavarsky voluntarily had the dogs put to death, taking the dogs himself to town veterinarian Mark Russak, who gave the animals lethal injections.

The Sudols told Lund they believe Kavarsky's dogs killed another Shih Tzu they owned in 1995. No one ever filed a complaint about the dogs, however, said Lund.

Lund said that when people fail to report incidents involving aggressive animals, it limits what action the authorities can take in the future because the dogs appear to have no history of aggressive behavior.

Both of Kavarsky's dogs were licensed, but because Tesla's rabies vaccination expired in July, its body was being tested for the disease.

``You don't know what dogs are going to do once they form a pack, and it looks like that's what happened here,'' said Lund.

The cocker spaniel was being treated Tuesday at an animal hospital in Rocky Hill.

(Hartford Courant - Jan 20, 1999)