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16 December 2001 Issue
Animal Cruelty Apathy

Follow up to dogfighting case
By Michelle Rivera - MichelleRivera1@aol.com

Back in July, 2001, As many readers will remember, I wrote an article and put out an urgent plea for letters to be sent to the office of the State Attorney, the Director of Animal Control and the Palm Beach County Sheriff asking for aggressive prosecution of more than sixty dog-fighters arrested in Palm Beach County. Of the sixty, two were sheriff's deputies. I would like to follow up at this time and let readers know the outcome of that case.

The sheriff's deputies were fired but were re-hired a week later. They suffered no losses whatsoever, and didn't even have to perform community service. The Police Benevolent Association played a big part in protecting these officers. I spoke to one of the officers, Reginald Mickens, who had absolutely no remorse and actually told me that people "prejudged me because I am black." He was caught at the dogfight so far inside the building that he had to have been there for a very long time.

The dogs who were confiscated, three of whom were in serious condition and had to be put on iv therapy, were stolen right out of the evidence room at the county facility the night after the bust was made. An informant told the arresting officer that it was an "inside job." The dogs were never recovered.

The other defendants accepted a plea agreement for misdemeanor animal abuse and served eight months in the county jail. Most were out in a few months.

The felony charges against Steve Rousseau and Rousselet Alphonse of 4116 Plumosa Street in West Palm Beach were dropped on October 24, 2001 because the office of the state attorney was not aggressive in their prosecution. The case was thrown out because of a technicality that could very easily been defended had the prosecutors chosen to do so. They did not.

Letters are needed to Barry Krischer, the State Attorney for Palm Beach County (StateAttorney@sa15.state.fl.us) expressing your disappointment in his handling of the case and in his attitude toward animal cruelty crimes in general. Please also ask that the ruling be appealed. The arresting officer is trying to get the ruling appealed, but without pressure from the public, it is unlikely that she will be successful.

After I wrote my first article about this case, more than 250 letters were received in the office of the state attorney and this pressure played a huge part in the decision to move forward with the cases. I have inside information that before the letters came in to the office, the cases were going to be "pled out" as simple misdemeanors and not taken at all seriously.

Please help us to see this case through and that justice is served. We cannot let the office of the State Attorney simply go through the motions just to placate the animal rights activists, and hope we will quietly go away. The arresting officer in this case is eight months pregnant and is working over time on this case, our getting behind her and showing some solid support will give her the extra edge she needs at this very critical time.

Go on to Request From EnglandGal
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