Zoo Wars~UPDATE: Stump Hill Fights Back-Files Suit
Stump Hill operator takes legal action over seizure of animals
- Cynthia Huntsman filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court, once again arguing she had proper permits to keep exotic animals at her Perry Township sanctuary.
By Dave Sereno
Repository local news editor
Posted Jun. 2, 2016 at 6:46 PM
CANTON The operator of Stump Hill Farm has gone back to court, asking a local judge to return her tigers and other exotic animals and to rule the state violated her rights by taking them last month.
Cyndi Huntsman filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court, once again arguing that she had the proper permit to keep the animals at her Perry Township sanctuary.
On May 4, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, along with local police and the Ohio Highway Patrol, removed five tigers, two pumas, two baboons and a chimpanzee from Stump Hill, at 6633 Klick St. SW, and took them to a facility in Reynoldsburg. The state had obtained a search warrant signed by Stark County Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione.
He later ordered the return of the animals, saying the state withheld information about a pending hearing over Huntsman’s permits before asking him for the search warrant.
After a series of legal filings by both sides, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with the state, finding the Department of Agriculture, not the local court, had jurisdiction under the Ohio’s dangerous wild animal law. Under that ruling, the animals have remained in state care.
In the latest complaint, Huntsman’s attorney, John Juergensen, contends Stump Hill is exempt from the current law under its prior permit.
“Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues in this case because the state’s exclusive jurisdiction over the seizure of dangerous wild animals is not applicable to Huntsman,” Juergensen wrote.
The lawsuit asks the local court to rule in Huntsman’s favor, return the animals and declare that the state violated Huntsman’s federal and state rights. The complaint does not specify a dollar amounts for alleged damages.
A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday, saying the state was unaware of the lawsuit and had not had a chance to review it.
The latest filing brings “more of a chance of a fair hearing in Stark County, which is all we want,” Juergensen said.
In the complaint, Huntsman contends the seizure involved closing the road with two area SWAT teams and using a helicopter, police officers and armored vehicles, all at taxpayers’ expense.
“The seizure also involved state officials chasing the animals around their cages with tranquilizer guns … literally hauling the chimpanzee (who was at the farm because he had been traumatized by prior owners) away kicking and screaming.”
The complaint also alleges the state failed to notify Huntsman that one of the tigers was pregnant or that two of its cubs later died.
“Huntsman learned of both of these events from a newspaper reporter,” according to the complaint.
This issue is far from over. Meanwhile the animals are trapped in substandard living conditions without proper care at the penitentiary for exotic animals in Reynoldsburg, Ohio-Stressed and hurting; wanting to return to familiar conditions with familiar people providing for them. If you or I held animals in the conditions those animals are subjected to; we’d be in jail with every Fanatical Animal Rights Extremist outraged and screaming about the abused animals. The animals from Stump Hill were never abused and dearly loved by their owner who believed that she was exempt from the new law.
Illegal, unconstitutional law with civil liberty issues…The case should be heard in a constitutional court-Never assume that all courts respect the US constitution and your civil liberties un less you ask for it-[Bloggers note: Of course in my case, on appeal, I was denied a jury so I imagine Judge Phil Parker would have been bold enough to say I didn’t have any constitutional rights or the right for the court to respect civil liberties-After all, Judge Lex Jones held a hearing without an interpreter for a deaf defendant and got away with it…Amazing what you learn even when you’ve done nothing wrong-remember…No criminal trial-the whole thing a shame to take my animals and other property-NO CONVICTION!!! This case as all the cases in Ohio have the same earmarks of civil liberty abuse!!! Think impossible…you’re wrong, doesn’t of victims have heard the same-they were told they have no rights…I have not heard of anyone being denied a juried before when the law even states can go before a jury.]
The real reason you’re not hearing complaints about the ODA holding the animals in Reynoldsburg from Fanatical Animal Rights Extremists is due to the fact that they pushed for this bill -Fanatical Animal Rights Extremists have taken over the Ohio Department of Agriculture-Jack Hanna will never be forgiven for his role in this matter-Governor John Kasich should be impeached for making an illegal and unconstitutional bill law and largely responsible for crimes against citizens of Ohio.
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others…Stay tuned -B