Zoo Wars~Karl Mitchell Fighting for His Right to Remain with His Big Cats
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, Grey Thursday-Black Friday (what have you), and an enjoyable time shopping either for yourself or someone else.
It’s been a rather pleasant and enjoyable Thanksgiving this year for us, we ate the day before and hit Walmart early to stand in the lines for a few things we badly wanted or needed. One thing I noticed that was different than in Texas was that people were actually helping one another, whether they knew each other or not-Then again after standing in the lines for hours, you kind of get to know people; see their families and friends as they check on one another, hold your spot in line for a ‘potty break’…And when the ‘frenzy’ began to get what you wanted into your cart people were actually helping one another to grab or to load their carts-I was stunned after everything we’ve been thru over the past almost 5 years now. While I admit, I still remain somewhat secluded and not gone out much over the years since, this was thrilling for me, my eyes actually tearing-up a bit at one point when two very well dressed and groomed young men approached me and asked, “Is this is what you wanted?” I hadn’t been standing in line with them or anywhere near them, they just pooped up out of the crowd. You know, you can find something to be thankful for even when you’re not looking for it-The kindness of total strangers to one another.
I do have much to be thankful for regardless of all else and so glad I was able to experience this after all that was said but NOT DONE folks-FAR from it actually-The good people in and ‘of’ Marion County, Texas should not have done what they did and there’s really no excuse for it. Mean, ugly and evil people will never get out from under what they did to us and the animals. What they did wasn’t deserved-period. But that’s for another day and another time our court case is far from over or we begin again. It’s just a matter of time for justice to finally be done and the fat lady to sing-HA!
Many people have at least heard the name Karl Mitchell with his ‘colorful’ past to say the least. In and out of trouble, even jail but that’s not a reason for the county to say he can not remain with his cats on grandfather property where he’s currently residing with his wife and his big cats.
PETA in an uproar as well as owner exotic animal owners joining sides with PETA against another exotic animal owner-really, it’s no wonder that exotic animal owners have a much harder fight on their hands when they sit in judgment of others. He already has the cats now doesn’t he and I believe that it’s all settled with the USDA for the past. He’s on property that was always used as an ‘animal sanctuary’ and therefore, he’s grandfathered in and should be allowed to remain.
Karl Mitchell and I aren’t real friends-far from it actually if the truth be told but because you don’t like someone or their checkered past doesn’t mean kick him out now does it!?! Jeff Kozlowski with his ‘colorful past’ got his break and has his animals (and MINE) so why treat Karl Mitchell any differently!?! If Kozlowski, a convicted bank robber, felon, has managed to remain and even set-up and steal animals from another exotic animal owner and got away with it, then so should Karl Mitchell.
The following the media report where the fight to remain begins in February:
Pahrump tiger owner fighting loss of permit
PAHRUMP — The cat fight between the owner of a tiger sanctuary and the Pahrump Planning Commission advanced to another level Wednesday.
The commission voted 5-0 to revoke Karl Mitchell’s conditional use permit for an animal sanctuary to house tigers and a liger at 6061 N. Woodchips Road.
It deadlocked 3-3 in June on whether to grant the permit, then held another vote Aug. 15 where members voted 4-1 against it. But Nye County commissioners overrode the planning board 3-2 on Oct. 15.
Mitchell, who has the right to appeal the revocation to the County Commission, has threatened to sue the county.
A case was brought against Mitchell on allegations that he violated the terms of his conditional use permit, which prohibits the sanctuary from being open to the public or exhibiting animals. The Planning Commission was furnished photos of people posing with Mitchell’s animals.
But Mitchell said it was a private photo shoot, which is allowed.
“If you have pets you can do a private photo shoot, especially if you’re not doing it for commerce,” he said. “It’s exhibiting when you’re involved in commerce, when there’s money paid or something given to you.”
Mitchell also is required to have permits from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies.
Robert Gibbens, director of the western region for the USDA, in an Oct. 22 letter to County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen, said Mitchell doesn’t possess a license under the Animal Welfare Act to exhibit his animals.
Mitchell was assessed a $16,775 penalty in 2001 for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In 2010, in an order denying a petition for reconsideration, he was assessed joint penalties of $67,000 for Animal Welfare Act violations and an additional civil penalty of $19,500 for failure to cease and desist, Gibbens said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement Tuesday urging the USDA to pursue criminal charges against Mitchell for disregarding federal law and public safety, exhibiting his big cats without an exhibitor’s license. They asked the Planning Commission to revoke his permit.
“Of all the despicable animal exhibitors PETA has encountered, Karl Mitchell — who thumbs his nose at public safety and the law every time he exhibits a tiger — is one of the worst,” said Delcianna Winders, PETA Foundation director of captive animal law enforcement. “The time for warnings and civil penalties has long passed. The USDA must press criminal charges and Nye County needs to enforce the local laws that make it illegal for Mitchell to have big cats in Pahrump.”
In a prepared statement he read Wednesday, Mitchell said the Planning Commission needs to stick to its land use decisions.
“The subject property is correctly zoned according to your county code, and animal control has inspected it,” Mitchell said. “Our activities would not be the subject of scrutiny if we resided outside the purview of the RPC.”
Mitchell added, “it would seem to be an abuse of equal protection, an abuse of discretion and an abuse of the process to place the county in a position of carrying the water for the USDA.”
Mitchell said the county violated his constitutional rights for making USDA compliance an issue.
“The attempts to use the USDA letter is a slippery slope that will undoubtedly result in a lawsuit,” he said.
“The letter from the USDA director does not constitute an indictment or charges,” he said. “The cycle of animal rights group, jealous competitors making complaints is a causal case for USDA to make an investigation.”
He said a judge ruled in 2010 their activities on the Internet didn’t constitute regulated activities. Since 2009 Mitchell said he hasn’t received any charges or communication from the USDA.
If they have to comply with regulations, Mitchell said his wife Kayla qualifies for a license.
“We live in an area that borders Pahrump planning and should be exempt. This continued harassment and bullying has resulted in my PTSD worsening, leaving me anxious and fearful of what you guys will pull next,” Mitchell said.
Linda Halko Crossley said Mitchell’s sanctuary, which is on the property of Ray Mielzynski, has disrupted her neighborhood. She said residents were never notified. Planning Director Steve Osborne said he notified people 500 feet away about the conditional use permit for the property, which is on 18 acres zoned rural homestead.
“I came here to Pahrump to go ahead and have a ranch and have horses and I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s just less than a mile from where he’s temporarily housing his wild cats,” Crossley said. “They’re disrupting the neighborhood, they’re disrupting my horses. Find a different temporary holding area for his cats.”
“The cats have got to go. My horses are stressed out to the hilt. They smell blood, they smell urine. Yesterday there was a pack of six coyotes circling between my barn and the neighbors; she has a 3-year-old child and she was screaming,” Crossley said.
The property isn’t zoned for wild cats, she said.
John Bushko, a volunteer with Mitchell’s Big Cat Encounters, countered that there are horse corrals on their ranch. They use it as a staging area for horse rescues for Diane Davis and Dream Chaser Horse Ranch, he said.
“A lot of county commissioners have visited, they will tell you it’s a peaceful place,” Bushko said.
Mitchell said he has received emails from neighbors, and one neighbor said they were quite content with the animals being there.
Mitchell concluded: “If someone else is upset I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s the tigers’ fault. The bottom line is we’re not involved in any regulated activities. We’re at odds with the USDA and we will continue to be at odds as long as animal rights people make complaints. Those complaints have to be checked out. But since 2009 there’s not been one problem with USDA that’s been presented to us.”
Of course PETA put out the actual court documents-HA!
Filed and dated November 18, 2014
IN THE FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF NYE, STATE OF NEVADA
NYE COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Nevada, Plaintiff,
KARL MITCHELL, RAYMOND V. MIELZYNSKI, and BIG CAT ENCOUNTERS, a Nevada nonprofit corporation,
ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs Complaint is GRANTED.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants, and each of them, immediately remove all the animals designated as special conditions animals from the real property known as 6061 Woodchips, Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants, and each of them, are permanently enjoined from having special conditions animals on the real property known as 6061 N. Woodchips, in violation of Nye County Code Chapter 17.04 without an appropriate conditional use permit.
So I guess PETA and the exotic animal owners who stand in judgment thought it was over-Karl Mitchell required to move on and possible confiscation to begin -WRONG-first of all, it’s not about the animals-It’s rarely about the animals even though they try to make a case that it is-even if they supposedly win a judgment against the animals-How well I know this!!! Mean, ugly and evil people will go for such things including pulling the property out from under you or making false claims about cruelty when there was none and without conviction. All they have in this case is the issue of conditional use. But far from over in this case:
Judge invites high court review in tiger case
Fifth District Judge Kimberly Wanker said she sympathized with the concept of preserving endangered animals, but said the law is the law, in ruling Karl Mitchell, owner of Big Cat Encounters, had to remove his tigers from property owned by Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski at 6061 N. Woodchips Road.
Wanker added that having the animals on the 20-acre parcel doesn’t comply with the law.
“That’s the issue that’s before me, not whether I like the tigers or don’t like the tigers,” Wanker said. “I think it’s admirable, they are an endangered species. We haven’t had a report tigers are on the loose in Pahrump, obviously you’re taking very good care of them.”
Wanker stayed the order as Mitchell is expected to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. A video recording of the hearing wasn’t available by press time before an article that ran in Wednesday’s Pahrump Valley Times.
“The Supreme Court may say, ‘Judge Wanker you’re completely wrong,’ and I don’t have a problem with that. I will give you that opportunity,” Wanker said during the hearing in October. “But when I see the straight law and what I have to do as a district court judge, I have to apply the law. My personal feelings have to be set aside. I have to do what the law says.”
Mitchell claimed Mielzynski’s brother, Robert Mielzynski, used the property as an animal sanctuary since 1988, before the enactment of the Nye County Zoning Ordinance in 2007 exempting the property from regulations in Nye County Code to obtain a conditional use permit.
“His brother kept dogs, rescued animals, water was set up for the wildlife that live in that area, burros, tortoises, protected animals,” Mitchell said. “No permit was required by Nye County for that use. All the way up to 2007 that was a continued use for that property. It was a sanctuary for animals.”
The judge didn’t buy that argument, Melzynski’s late brother couldn’t just turn on the water for animals and call it a sanctuary. The judge added the Big Cat Encounters website invited tourists to drive out from Las Vegas and pay a donation to have their pictures taken with the tigers.
“I think the requirements were that you were a non-profit organization and at this point all I’ve seen in response to that is Mr. Mielzynski’s brother basically took in stray animals and provided a quote, sanctuary, for them, a safe place of keeping,” Wanker said during a hearing on the Nye County request for summary judgment Oct. 16 and the county’s motion to dismiss Mitchell’s counterclaims.
Jonathon Nelson, the attorney for Big Cat Encounters, said a jury should be allowed to decide the matter.
Deputy District Attorney Marla Zlotek argued an animal sanctuary had to be registered as a non-profit organization. Wanker said the county’s definition of a sanctuary and Mitchell’s definition are two different things.
Mitchell said other animal hoarders and collectors in Pahrump are trying to save dogs and cats, they’re not required by Nye County to have a license unless someone files a complaint. He said other owners of tigers were grandfathered into the regulations.
Mielzynski said the 11 tigers are an endangered species that are well taken care of.
“I threw him a rope when he needed a rope and I’m not going to let go of that rope,” the Flagman said.
Wanker sympathized with the Flagman’s intent.
“My hat’s off to Mr. Mielzynski to say, you know what, I got 20 acres, let’s bring the tigers over there, they’re not bothering anybody, so I understand where you’re coming from,” Wanker said. “In that regard I think that is a really noble thing, because I have over the years picked up animals that people have dumped out.”
Wanker wondered why Mitchell applied for a conditional use permit at one point when he claims a permit wasn’t needed. Mitchell received a conditional use permit after Nye County Commissioners overruled a Pahrump Regional Planning Commission recommendation in October 2012, but then revoked it in April 2013, amid accusations he was exhibiting the tigers without a federal license.
Mitchell claimed the county responded because of threatening letters from animal rights groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“Part and parcel to this are the bullying tactics used by Nye County planning,” Mitchell replied. He said there were many letters sent to the planning director where Big Cat Encounters made their claim for an exemption but “we were constantly steamrolled by threats of evictions and we had no choice but to attempt to comply.”
Kayla Mitchell, read a statement at the hearing that there have been no calls for service on the property. She said the area is not likely to be developed in the next 20 years and asked to wait until the revised Pahrump Master Plan is approved, which may remove their property from the Pahrump Regional Planning District.
Relocating the tigers outside the regional planning district would be extremely stressful for the tigers who would have to be tranquilized, Kayla Mitchell said. “The Endangered Species Act states government will not take action detrimental to these species,” she said.
Wanker invited Mitchell to file an action in federal court on whether the county ordinance is constitutional.
Mitchell said former Nye County Emergency Services Director Brent Jones gave him a waiver from the Nye County Code when the tigers were moved based on hardship conditions and because Mielzynski didn’t have any neighbors at that site, after the EMS ended up in possession of his tigers after an eviction in 2010.
“That way Nye County gets out of possessory ownership of the animals,” Mitchell said.
One of Mitchell’s complaints was that the county interfered with his ability to receive contributions to continue his operations, an argument Wanker dismissed.
“I don’t understand what actions the county took to interfere with the economic advantage and what economic advantage was supposedly disrupted and what actual harm was suffered,” Wanker said.
The case continues on…Good for him…Of course he’ll win and knowing Karl Mitchell, you bet he has a back up plan to keep his animals. PETA will follow him, of course they will-the criminal stalkers that they are!!!
This is far from over and can go on for many years to come-GOOD, he’ll be allowed to remain until this is resolved!!! I hope he proves his case and I hope he proves himself as a proper caregiver to his new group of big cats as he seems to have already done.
All court cases can seemingly be over when they aren’t-Including civil suits about PROTECTED civil liberty abuse with a constitutional question-When the judgment is short without addressing all of the issues, it’s a bad judgment especially when a jury trial of the defendants is in question and no reason to grant summary judgment has been offered, all abuse of the law is not addressed or there is question left of genuine issue of matter facts of law exist and remain unresolved. This would be considered a violation of a judges discretion to serve all people…Happens all the time when judges do not follow thru with an obligation and because the Plaintiffs are correct say that a void judgment should be nullified. It is not moot and remains a serious violation when a lower court judge heard a civil case out of the courts jurisdiction (Texas Government Code 26.258*) violating the Texas constitution and ALL people who reside in Texas, not just us -Maybe the state of Texas should then be held responsible for the abuse of several PROTECTED civil liberties done by and would include the very same defendants should another case be required to be filed-Just how stupid do these people think of us are after reading the court documents…maybe the haven’t as their attorneys fill their pockets-This is FAR from over-Fat lady didn’t sing, lol
The assistant Attorney General of the state of Texas is well aware of this case and would seem to me that Texas Attorney General Governor-elect Abbott should also be aware of the entire case considering state people of state agencies of Texas are involved and instead of brushing this off, should go in and do the right thing-If this is an example of what to expect of the new governor, once in office, watch out Texas!!!
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned -B
This Plaintiff will no longer remain quiet-The truth of our case will be exposed-No matter who doesn’t like it as it’s public record and documented.
*Texas Government Code 26.258 concerns the County Court of Marion County, Texas, Judge Phil Parker is not allowed to hear civil suits-PERIOD!!! Not now and not in 2010!!!
The County Court of Marion County has the general jurisdiction of a probate court, general criminal jurisdiction, and juvenile jurisdiction as provided by Section 26.042(b) but has no other civil jurisdiction.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 480, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 187, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Judge Phil Parker is an elected official and should no longer be on the bench-This is not a moot judgment-He can be held responsible in his personal capacity as his actions constitute he violated his oath of office!!! And Texas Attorney General Governor-elect Greg Abbott has done NOTHING about it!!! The FBI has done NOTHING about it and worse of all TWO federal courts have ignored it!!!ALL have full knowledge of the PROTECTED constitutional rights!!!
Furthermore a Justice of the Peace judge in Texas can not hear a case involving a class ‘A’ misdemeanor-Judge Lex Jones should loose his bench for hearing a case that is documented as a criminal case, with court appointed attorneys, with an animal cruelty being a class “A’ misdemeanor-This is out of his jurisdiction and should loose his bench. His judgment is void and should be nullified although appealed de novo. He can be held responsible in his personal capacity as his actions constitute he violated his oath of office!!! And Texas Attorney General Governor-elect Greg Abbott has done NOTHING about it!!! The FBI has done NOTHING about it and worse of all TWO federal courts have ignored it!!! ALL have full knowledge of the PROTECTED constitutional rights!!!
This is FAR from the only abuse suffered by the Plaintiffs who filed a federal civil suit. All can and will be held liable. The state of Texas can also become defendants of a federal civil suit when the laws of the state are knowingly ignored and the governing power of the state constitution.
This constitutes abuse of PROTECTED Constitutional Rights have been violated-PERIOD!!!
I have much to be thankful for this holiday season as we’re one step closer to our win; it’s just a matter of time. While it’s recognized that these people did stupid things-they should have settled before and didn’t-It now gets bigger and will all blow up in their faces!!! Including for Texas Attorney General Governor elect Greg Abbott for the PROTECTED civil liberty abuse done by employees of the state, including law enforcement and the Judges in Marion County, Texas and others named in the case, members of law enforcement, employees of the state of Texas, Humane Society of Marion County now doing business as Dixie Humane Society, Carolyn Wedding and Dr. Carol Hedges dvm of the now defunct Jefferson Animal Clinic.
Can’t help thinking that Governor Rick Perry needs to be informed about the case as it appears that Governor Perry respects PROTECTED constitutional rights-and likely kept in the dark about this case…All the above including denying a deaf man an interpreter all the way through a court hearing, denial of phone calls on arrest, denial of proper courts as mentioned, abuse of authority of a state prosecutor, impersonation of an animal control officer, and much much more.
If they can do this to us then they can do it to anyone and likely already have!!!
~ by topcatsroar on November 29, 2014.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: abuse of authority, animal sanctuary, Big Cat Encounters, civil suit, Class A misdemeanor, conditional use permit, Corruption of the court, County Commission, court document, court jurisdiction, Deputy District Attorney Marla Zlotek, Federal civil suit, giving thanks, Governor Rick Perry, grandfathered in, Jonathon Nelson, Judge Kimberly Wanker, Judge Lex Jones, Judge Phil Parker, Karl Mitchell, Kayla Mitchell, Marion County, Marion County Court, Nevada, nullified judgment, Nye County, Pahrump Nevada, Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, PETA, property rights, Protected Constitutional Rights, Ray “The Flagman” Mielzynski, Robert Mielzynski, summary judgment, Texas, Texas Attorney General Governor-elect Abbott, Texas Government Code 26.258, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Thanksgiving, void judgment, zoning