Sunday, August 25, 2002

Washington: Peggy Noblitt moved out of her subdivision rather than abide by their HOA rules regarding her pit bull

WASHINGTON -- Pit bull owner Peggy Noblitt has moved out of Issaquah Highlands after a long battle with the homeowners' association.

But Noblitt, who now lives with her dog, Blu Gator, in an apartment complex in downtown Issaquah, still insists her civil and constitutional rights were violated when Issaquah Highlands banned pit bulls. She isn't dropping her lawsuit against the association.

Blu Gator's owner says she has more than lawsuits to worry about, however. Her home is up for sale, she and her boyfriend broke up -- and, she says, she's 4½ months pregnant.

As an about-to-be single mother, she hopes her lawsuits will lead to a financial settlement.

"This has cost me everything," said Noblitt.

Among others, she's suing the president of the homeowners' association and the president of the development company, Port Blakely Communities.

Noblitt acknowledges that state law allows breed-specific bans, but she says due process and procedural guidelines were ignored when the ban was implemented.

"You cannot do it in the way you did it," is how Noblitt summarizes her claim against Issaquah Highlands.

When the ban was first enforced in March, Noblitt and Blu Gator were already living in the development. The homeowner's offered to "grandfather" in Blu Gator if Noblitt met certain conditions.

Among other things, the pit bull needed to be muzzled, spayed, kept in a secure kennel and covered with a $250,000 liability insurance policy.

Noblitt refused.

The rationale for special treatment of specific breeds is based on the assumption that certain dogs are genetically more predisposed to lethal attacks.

In a special report issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2000, 27 people died from dog bites in 1997 and 1998.

According to the report, "pit bull-type" dogs and Rottweilers were responsible for around 60 percent of the deaths.

Asked if she would be comfortable having her new baby and a 60-pound pit bull living in the same apartment, Noblitt was unequivocal.

"Absolutely," Noblitt said. "They are wonderful with children. Petey, on Little Rascals, was a pit bull."

(Eastside Journal - August 24, 2002)


Friday, August 2, 2002

Florida: Andrew Bloom, 69, was charged with animal cruelty back in 1994. Now he's been caught hoarding more than 300 starving animals

FLORIDA -- An elderly rancher was charged with 32 counts of animal neglect after Miami-Dade police said they found more than 300 malnourished horses, parrots, llamas, deer and ducks on his 10-acre farm.

Andrew Bloom, 69, was arrested Wednesday and released Thursday morning on $96,000 bail.

Neighbors have filed several complaints over the past 10 years about the condition of Bloom's animals, said Sgt. Sheree DiBernardo of the Miami-Dade Agricultural Unit.

Officers were able to obtain a search warrant Wednesday after a veterinarian reported that malnourished horses could be seen on the property, DiBernardo said.

A detective found horses with visible rib cages, unlicensed deer, exotic birds and potbellied pigs living on the property, DiBernardo said.

The ranch was littered with animal feces, animal skulls and stagnant watering holes, she said.

Bloom was acquitted on similar charges in 1994, records show.

(Sun Sentinel - August 2, 2002)