JUSTICE FOR JOJO
JoJo was a good family dog - living with small children and playing with other neighborhood children until he was taunted and teased. In addition to hurling pieces of concrete at him and spraying him with a hose, they would coax him into coming in contact with his electric fence. They would laugh at him when he cried out in pain. Two of his tormentors were eventually bitten,due to these antics and Los Angeles County Animal Services was called out. They presided as judge, jury and executioner in what can only be described as a biased hearing. JoJo doesn't deserve to die. JoJo has a family with children who love him and tried to fight for him, but, all of their evidence of the torment was ignored. Kind attorneys are helping the family pro bono to fight for their rights. Despite their generosity, expenses for JoJo's case are climbing. Los Angeles County demanded a bond of over $5,000. There are a multitude of court filing costs and expenses. Rock and Rescue and S.T.A.R.T. are assisting with those costs but need assistance from donors to keep up this fight.
Please also sign this petition demanding JUSTICE FOR JOJO and seeking the exercise of discretion under the law to place JoJo with any appropriate restrictions, rather than kill him for defending himself.
Posted by Rene Ruston
Here is an update from the professional staff at Best Friends. His caregivers call him a "role model". :)
"JoJo has settled in nicely. His caregivers love him. He is now living with another dog and has been doing well meeting new staff. I have attached a couple of pictures and here is an update for you from one of JoJo's caregivers:
JoJo is doing great! He has quickly become a staff favorite. He is social and comfortable with everyone he meets and is very smart. JoJo is now living with a shy female dog named Amina. Amina has bonded with JoJo and he is helping her to build confidence and be more trusting of people.
When Amina first meets new people she is fearful and will shut down but when she watches JoJo interact with them she becomes more comfortable because she sees that he enjoys their attention and is not afraid. Amina will approach people and accept treats from them when JoJo is by her side. JoJo has done a lot for Amina and I plan on him helping me to socialize many other shy dogs in the future. He is such a wonderful role model!
JoJo is one of the most outgoing dogs that I care for. He loves going to the dog park and exploring the two acres of fenced in land. He will wander off, with Amina following close behind him but he will always check in with his caregivers after a few moments of being out of sight. He also loves riding on the golf cart. JoJo was a little nervous of the golf cart at first but now it is one of his favorite activities. We are all very fond of him.
Thanks for checking in on this special guy. "
Posted by Rene Ruston
Talitha Davies Wegner Law
Denise Travis and Myself and our whole family and friends want to thank your team for making JO JO's escape possible, we couldn't do it without you and others that helped us. When I said I would appeal his case, I was driving home, Denise crying and me thinking how will I be able to do this I can't let the kids and the dog down.
The Private Investigator, Victoria, called me asked how hearing went, I told her, she said "call Dolores, she had trained JO JO". I did and told her they wanted to put him to sleep but I appealed it. I couldn't believe she wrote back, saying" did you know how many interested in this dog?"
I said back to Dolores, " if so many interested, could you ask if they would pitch in up to five dollars 25 cent 1.00" all I asked. She wrote back and said we had help for JO JO. It was a miracle, no one ever has been on our side like that, we were so amazed, that our prayers were answered. I thought if I could gather some money, then maybe I could do this but, to file and the court. I could not of done any of it alone. You Talitha and your team are ANGELS, and all the ones who followed the case and protested with us.
We may not have a lot but we do have LOVE and when it comes to the last of all evil we as a family stick together, for what we LOVED.
I hope he will be happy finally. We feel bad of losing him, but since he was rescued, we feel he will be a pup again. He had such love and play We pray he gets it back
Again Thanks so much for everything you all have done for the dog and us, We do appreciate everything from the bottom of our hearts, we can't possibly thank you enough.
In a few weeks we are going to visit your office to say thank you in person, we want to show our appreciation, I hope it will be alright, we have been planning, but now, when Denise is better.We will keep in touch.
do have a good day.
Bosquez, and Wheeler family
From Team JoJo: we would like to thank our supporters. The county of Los Angeles has been put on notice. We will not tolerate injustice. $20,000 in court costs and fees and $500,000 in attorneys hours (thank you Davies Wegner Law for your pro bono assistance!) We fight on. This is not the end. We will continue to fight for this family's right to own a dog and also for the faceless JoJo's who die at the hands of Marcia Mayeda every day. Please continue to spread the word and help us put an end to her abuse of power over those that cannot defend themselves.
Posted by Rene Ruston
In a spectacular display of government waste and after 2 1/2 months of fierce battle with Marsha Mayeda and her county counsel Diane Reagan, Team JoJo breathes a sigh of relief as he was finally released to Best Friends Animal Society's sanctuary. The lovely girls who came down to get him whisked him off as quickly as possible to remove him from the boney clutches of those that fought so viciously to kill him.
We want to thank Best Friends Animal Society for generously answering our call for assistance. Unlike Ms. Mayeda, they looked at ALL the evidence surrounding JoJo's case. They did not hesitate to accept JoJo. He was a very happy boy and seemed to know he was safe. I don't mind telling you that joyful tears were flowing. :)
MAKE NO MISTAKE: the ONLY thing keeping JoJo alive was the hard fought court of appeals stay of execution: The stay of the TRO. There was a small window of time between the judge's ruling to lift the TRO and our ability to appeal the decision for which Marcia Mayeda immediately instructed Lancaster shelter to put JoJo first on the list to die. Only the humiliating slap from the court of appeal wiped the smile off their faces (yes they were laughing as they waddled out of the court room when they thought Judge Lavin had given them the silver bullet to kill JoJo). Less than 24 hrs later the Appeals court reinstated the TRO and the DACC knew they would be in contempt of court if they killed him. Wiped the smile right off their faces. Team JoJo's legal team is a FORMIDABLE force. So grateful for their dogged determination to right this wrong.
Knowing their first choice to kill him was off the table and facing a year or more of litigation, Marcia Mayeda and her county council Diane Reagan recognized defeat. They attempted to eek out a few bones for themselves by inserting punitive demands on the conditions for which Best Friends could keep JoJo. This took some time for JoJos legal team to remove.
Ms. Mayeda basically wanted him treated like "Hannibal Lecter". Best Friends"‹'"‹ "‹facility is set up for animals with their care and comfort in mind. The provision of maximum love, kindness and attention to every animal's needs. Best Friends couldn't accommodate Hannibal Lecter treatment so Mayeda was forced to capitulate.
If it wasn't so serious, it would be amusing. When we pointed out that Best Friends was entrusted by a Federal judge to care for the Michael Vick dogs, the county counsel had the audacity to intimate that JoJo was far worse than the Vick dogs. The absurdity of such a claim is laughable. They don't bother to bust the fighting rings right under their noses in Los Angeles and yet they are personally acquainted with Vick's dogs??
"‹"‹ They have no first hand knowledge of the Vick dogs, so their claim speaks volumes on how they come up with their "shotgun" opinions. It's how JoJo ended up this way in the first place. They do "NO" investigation and run purely on assumptions and here-say when deciding a dogs fate.
Ms. Mayeda was free to ask Best Friends 3 months ago to take JoJo, but, made no attempt to find him any sanctuary and refused all the offers we provided. Her first choice was and always is: to kill. Marcia seems to relish racking up the bills for both you, the taxpayers and Team JoJo. In order to release JoJo they county requested our promise not to sue them. They knew they were caught and faced not only continued public humiliation, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees should we pursue action. We did not want JoJo to face another year in jail while we wait for trial, so we agreed. His safety comes first. That said, court costs have risen to nearly $20,000 and donations are much appreciated to mitigate that cost. We thank you for your generosity. We could not have waged this fight without support.
Meanwhile, Ms. Mayeda received yet another raise to her already bloated salary of well over 6 figures. The County CEO gave himself a raise while he was at it.
Your tax dollars at "work". Or, lack thereof.
We, also, ask for you write to your County Supervisors and voice your opinions about Mayeda"‹'s failure to lead and utilize resources where they would make a difference: enforcement of spay / neuter laws, animal licensing "‹, investigation of "‹dog fighting rings, "‹follow up on leads regarding "‹back yard breeding "‹ and"‹ puppy mills, illegal sale of animals on the street, hoarding, animal neglect and abuse"‹. As tax payers, is it too much to ex"‹"‹pect that animal control spend some time and money on these activities?"‹ If the County Supervisors will not hold Mayeda accountable and instead reward her with a raise - then we shall hold the Supervisor accountable. It is clear we have a political problem on our hands and it is time to organize and be heard and let the Supervisors know that they can no longer put their heads in the sand. There is nowhere else to look and no one else to blame. Accountability is catching up to them all. "‹ Let's hope their books are in order."‹
Posted by Rene Ruston
Los Angeles County finally bowed to the loud and clear voice of the people and were forced to accept Best Friends' offer in principle, but have delayed the poor dog's release by loading unconscionable restrictions on JoJo and Best Friends that would have left those caring for JoJo vulnerable to "cruelty to animals' charges. Additionally Los Angeles County is demanding that JoJo's owners and SPARC waive their rights to litigate whether JoJo's seizure was legally justifiable.
The DACC has also published their one-sided and misleading recitation of their case, which they call the "Truth About JoJo" Conspicuously absent in their creative writing exercise is any mention of the facts surrounding JoJo's provocation.
Despite their wishes, the County cannot bury the truth. For the record:
Â· The county never bothered to question the juvenile delinquents who were bitten, or their parents as to provocation. (The father of one of these thugs was himself observed abusing JoJo for six months prior to the incidents)
Â· The DACC failed to consider or allow any questioning by JoJo's owners as to provocation, and failed to allow them to cross-examine the alleged victims or their families
Â· The DACC failed to note the character of the alleged victims - one of the kids was caught on video stealing and driving his parents' car. Yet the county in their "administrative hearing" (a synonym for "Kangaroo court") failed to produce the family and allow them to be questioned concerning their parental supervision abilities. The family fled town when they realized they were going to be cross-examined and exposed in court. Was it merely coincidence that they disappeared or perhaps were they influenced by someone drawing a county paycheck? We can't definitively answer the question, but certainly inquiring minds want to know.
Â· The father of the delinquent who opened JoJo's gate was so concerned about the scope of his son's injuries that he asked for $5 in compensation for his kid being bit and received $7.00 from JoJo's owner.
Why has the County fought so hard to kill JoJo and force the taxpayers and JoJo's defense to waste so much time, money and resources? The County of Los Angeles refused multiple offers of sanctuary before Best Friends offer, but failed to accept them. Only when they lost a motion in Appellate Court and realized they might lose the case in its entirety did the County decide to even begin to negotiate. But the County did not want to go down without inflicting maximum damage - and that included forcing Team JoJo to incur over $15,000 (and climbing) in costs above and beyond the over $500,000 worth of legal fees that have been graciously performed on a pro bono basis by the law firm of Davies Wegner.
There is a principle in law which awards attorney fees to a party in a legal case when there was a reasonable offer of settlement on the table and the other party refused to accept them and insisted on litigation.
Such is the case with JoJo. The County continues to hold JoJo in an undisclosed location (and are billing team JoJo $1,000 for the privilege) because they are busy trying to cover up their malfeasance by forcing Team JoJo to sign a series of waivers and releases which would get them off the hook for the fees which we have already incurred. The DACC is quaking in its boots should they lose on this issue.
To compound the case further, the DACC and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department embarked on a pattern of harassment of JoJo's owners, ultimately driving Denise Wheeler, one of JoJo's owners, and the mother of a six month old daughter, to attempt suicide. It is not just us who rejoice that Denise was saved - the County also took a deep sigh of relief when they realized they had averted a wrongful death lawsuit where the damages would have been in the millions.
County counsel thinks she is the smartest person in the room. She may be the smuggest person in the room - but her actions are right in line with Mayeda
- all ego and no common sense. If there was an ounce of common sense between them, JoJo would have been handed over to a sanctuary two months ago - and all of this trauma, time and money could have been avoided.
Thank you for being there to fight for what is right. Someone has to and as we know from David and Goliath - that sometimes - against all odds - you win!
NOTE: On Tuesday, the Union representing the kennel workers at the six Los Angeles County Shelters are planning a protest rally, to complain about poor pay, deplorable workplace conditions, arbitrary and illogical discipline meted out (often as a punishment in retaliation for disagreeing with her capricious and spiteful treatment of the public and animals). Mayeda employs the age old tactics of autocrats and dictators - silence dissenters at all costs. One must wonder how will she dole out "freeway therapy" to ALL the employees who dare to speak out against her on Tuesday!
I hope that people realize that Jojo was defending himself. The neigbourhood children obviously have had no training in how to approach dogs.
I sure hope this family has been able to move away from these disturbed and abusive neighbors. Of course the children harrassed and tortured JoJo - they were following in Dad's footsteps. Children learn this sort of behavior and go onto torture more defenseless animals and graduate to abusing other people.
Restrictions should be place on the kids, not the dogs and the parents should be drug into court and held responsible for these court costs. I hope the attorneys are filing a civil suit against the parents, also; I would.
Friggin little bratty kids should be the ones locked up!