Botched Raid on WY Shelter

Marci Biesheuvel is trying to rebuild her WY shelter, and her reputation, after authorities dropped cruelty charges against her.

Laramie County authorities raided the shelter in February with a warrant alleging filthy conditions. More than 100 dogs, cats and rabbits were seized, and Biesheuvel was accused of resisting arrest.

The county decided last month not to pursue cruelty charges, saying there was insufficient evidence.

So what happened to the 100 seized pets?  I hope they weren’t killed, especially given that they were seized by people who appear to lack the ability to follow basic instructions – aka the law:

Laramie County dropped misdemeanor charges against Biesheuvel earlier this summer. Wyoming law required a veterinarian to determine if animals are cruelty victims, and when Biesheuvel’s shelter was raided, animal control officers wrote the citations without that determination.

Wyoming has no regulations for animal shelters and rescues.

So… although there are no state regulations covering this woman’s shelter, we got ourselves a warrant that says “filthy conditions”.  So let’s bust on in there and just start writing cruelty citations ourselves, even though the law says only a vet can make that determination.  Then we’ll take every last pet away from her.

Gah.  No wonder she resisted arrest.

7 thoughts on “Botched Raid on WY Shelter

  1. Okay, I see this one differently.

    I’m pissed off at the authorities for botching the raid.

    Sorry, too many experiences with inept, sloppy law enforcement screwing things up when they finally go after an egregious abuser. And neglect IS abuse, often the worst abuse.

    Just because someone says they are a “sanctuary” does not automatically mean they are caring for the animals appropriately. It doesn’t even mean that they mean well or are doing the best they can.

    In the Middle Ages, the most heinous felon could flee from the authorities, make it to the church, touch the altar and holler sanctuary!

    Seems like we’ve got a reprise of that magical home base nowadays, in a twisted way.

    Was I there? I was not. Am I the sort of person who generally believes anything the fuzz says? I am not. Do I have experience with large-scale cruelty busts in big square states that have crappy animal welfare laws? In fact I do. Authorities generally have to be cattle-prodded into doing something, often taking years to finally take some action. It’s their job to know their own laws and follow them. When they don’t, they are justifiably the target of public outrage, not because they overzealously harassed an innocent citizen who just wuvs the critters, but for the same reason we can be outraged at the LAPD for f-ing up the OJ investigation.

  2. Just curious…how would “we” (collectively) have liked to have seen this story play out? Would we be happy if a licensed vet was part of the raid? (What if we get that gal that “helped” the Vet Rescuer? You know, the one that refused to allow her to place 25 cats “because”…she only got to save 12 cats because she wasn’t the vet in charge!)
    Would we like Animal Control to have MORE authority?
    Do we want tougher laws and higher fees so that people can’t afford to rescue animals?
    What is it we really want? (Other than to complain and grouse…)
    I appreciate being informed. I’m confused about how to proceed.

    1. Good questions Lynn!

      For myself, I would really like to see authorities get their ducks in a row before raiding someone’s property and seizing their animals. Many raids where animals have been seized have resulted in no charges and a pile of dead pets. The reason always seems to be that authorities didn’t have their act together.

      For example, it’s happened more than once that someone we’re told is a well known dogfighting kingpin has their property raided and dogs seized. If someone has been fighting dogs and breeding/selling dogs for fighting for decades, as we are told, I am 100% in favor of charging them and rescuing their dogs. But if all that is true, why can’t authorities manage to make a case that sticks against these supposed “kingpins”? Innocent until proven guilty is the standard so they know they need to cross their t’s and dot their i’s on the search warrant, collect evidence legally, etc. And yet – they screw it up. And the dogs – who they either didn’t have rescue lined up for or just didn’t care about – get killed before the legal wrangling is even through.

      I want people who are guilty of neglect/cruelty to be punished in accordance with the law and I want their animals SAVED. And, unless special circumstances dictate it, I would like authorities to monitor people convicted of cruelty to make sure they aren’t back at it. I know we can barely keep track of murderous pedophiles so what chance is there of an ACO driving out to Sally Mae’s house to make sure she doesn’t have 150 cats again? But that’s what I would like.

  3. I would want the same standard of outrage to be directed at rescuers, hoarders, massbreeders, puppymills and shelters. If the conditions are bad, they should be equally condemned. No one should get a “pass” merely for proclaiming how much they love the animals or for slapping a “no kill” label on their stationery.

  4. I don’t think it matters much. I think this raid is a vehicle to put in a draconian law which mill make life harder for all pets and pet owners.

    I’m not a gambler ordinarily, but in this case .. well, it’s something I’d be willing to make book on.

    So – if that’s where you live, start watching your County Commissioners and town Council members. Attend the meetings. When the law(s) are proposed, READ EVERY LINE. The entire text. Very carefully. If anything doesn’t seem clear, get it explained. If you know an attorney or two, get him or her to go over the thing with you.

    And remember – beware the result of unintended consequences!

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