Zoo Wars~Woo-Hoo-Judge Refused the Case-Yogie and Friends Survive Round One

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/local/2014/09/03/judge-says-yogie-safety-hearing/15035443/

Judge says no to Yogie safety hearing

An Oct. 15 misdemeanor trial date is set on the citation issued to Yogie and Friends for failing to abide by LDWF commission rules regarding the possession of exotic cats.

The DeSoto District Attorney’s office was unsuccessful today in holding a safety hearing on alleged violations cited by wildlife officials in July at Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary.

District Judge Robert Burgess gave Assistant District Attorney Brittany Green time over a recess to produce statutory authority for a safety hearing in which the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries sought a court order to physically remove Yogie’s nine large cats. When she could not, Burgess, after hearing brief testimony from Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries Sgt. Troy Parker, ended the discussion.

He instead set an Oct. 15 misdemeanor trial date on the citation issued to Senier for failing to abide by LDWF commission rules regarding the possession of exotic cats. District Judge Charles B. Adams will be on the bench then.

By then, upgrades recommended by LDWF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be completed. “We are going above and beyond,” said attorney Alan Golden, who is representing Yogie and Friends in its court matter.

Executive Director Jenny Senier estimates the work should be done in less than two weeks. Local volunteers, as well as some from out of state, came to the sanctuary’s aid in recent weeks.

New cinderblock den houses have been constructed, a wooden privacy fence erected and chain link fencing strengthened and extended.

In its 14 years of existence on Fob Lane in Frierson, Yogie and Friends has never had an escape or any type of incident that would put the public at risk. And Senier and board member Tim Mills, who lives on site, plan to keep it that way.

In the motion for a safety hearing filed Aug. 25, Green said LDWF on July 14 found “inadequate and unsecure enclosures that would allow the animals’ escape.” Twenty violations were listed and the cats were seized on paper only. She also noted an unidentified facility in Colorado was willing to take the cats.

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http://www.ktbs.com/story/26442558/desoto-das-office-wont-dismiss-yogie-and-friends-charges-despite-facility-upgrades

DeSoto DA’s office won’t dismiss Yogie and Friends charges despite facility upgrades

MANSFIELD, La. (KTBS) –

Prosecutors say they will not drop charges against DeSoto Parish big cat home Yogie and Friends, despite upgrades to the facility.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries inspectors say Yogie and Friends failed to provide a safe environment for their lions, tigers, and cougar, and certain offenses endangered community members living around the Frierson habitat.

During a July 14 inspection, LDWF inspectors filed a series of safety violations against the group and seized- on paper only- the group’s nine large cats.

Previous article: Yogie and Friends starts online campaign to save exotic animals

If Judge Charles B. Adams find LDWF’s complaints valid during an Oct. 15 trial, Yogie and Friends could lose any or all of their animals. Yogie and Friends authorities pleaded not guilty during Wednesday’s arraignment, although Judge Robert Burgess wouldn’t hear arguments on the planned safety hearing.

The animal advocates say they have never had an animal escape from their location and say the chances are lower now than ever before since all but one big cat is considered geriatric.

Yogie and Friends have devoted countless man hours and at least $10,000 to upgrading their facility since the July inspection, but board members deny the validity of some complaints.

“The legislature has authorized Wildlife and Fisheries to make up regulations to deal with the possibility of large, exotic cats,” Yogie board member and attorney Alan Golden said. “In our opinion, Wildlife and Fisheries has gone crazy with these regulations. They make up many that are unreasonable, and most are unnecessary.”

Yogie authorities hope the changes will assuage the state agency, but prosecutors say they will not dismiss the charges, likening it to a thief who returns money after a robbery. They say a crime has been committed.

There was a small victory for Yogie and Friends Executive Director Jenny Senier when assistant district attorney’s agreed to name the organization in as the offender, rather than her personally. Neither Senier nor any other board member owns the cats.

Two engineers have certified the interior 16-foot tall fence, which is inside a separate fence that keeps on-site visitors several feet away, can withstand a lunge by a 500-pound animal. All but one of the big cats – two lions, one lioness, four tigers, one cougar and one black leopard – are considered geriatric because of their advancing ages.

Senier estimates about $10,000 has been spent in recent weeks addressing the concerns noted during the LDWF and USDA inspections, including the employment of a professional fence company to handle that job.

Yogie and Friends had another small victory in court today, too, in that the DA’s office agreed to a technical change in the citation that holds the corporation responsible for the alleged violations instead of Senier personally. Golden had filed a motion to throw out the citation based on the citation being issued to Senier.

Senier still pleaded not guilty to the citation on behalf of the corporation.

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Link of interest: https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/zoo-warssanctuaries-and-fake-rescuers-should-take-note-of-thisthis-representative-of-how-its-done/

Still trying to rack my brain as to how they could come up with safety issues when there has been no incident…Many friends were there last week helping make the improvements that  are being demanded by the authorities to meet AZA standards…expensive and nearly impossible for a private owner…
So this DA has never dropped charges before-huh?!? Is he saying that he would rather appear as an ass-wipe to the voting community…

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others…Stay tuned  -B

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~ by topcatsroar on September 4, 2014.

2 Responses to “Zoo Wars~Woo-Hoo-Judge Refused the Case-Yogie and Friends Survive Round One”

  1. “…prosecutors say they will not dismiss the charges, likening it to a thief who returns money after a robbery. They say a crime has been committed.” Isn’t this exactly what happens when animals and property are seized and then some of the property -having nothing to do with the seizure and not mentioned in the search and seize warrant- gets returned weeks or months later? Unrelated property was taken under color of a warrant, and later returned, like a thief returning money to the bank he robbed. -Same thing, so how come the courts look the other way on that? Or are the local authorities above the laws they create to keep the peons in line and intimidated? It goes both ways.

  2. […] Link of interest: https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/zoo-warswoo-hoo-judge-refused-the-case-yogie-and-friends… […]

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