My name is Kimberly Stokes and I have been desperately fighting a battle for my dog Armani’s life. Armani was originally picked up by animal control for running at large after a neighbor claimed Armani attacked him and his small dog. In subsequent hearings and testimony, the neighbor admitted that neither he nor his dog were attacked and sustained no injury (two small Band-Aids due to a scrape). The neighbor additionally stated that he did not want Armani “put down” over the incident. Yet, after this incident Visalia Animal Services and their hearing officer deemed Armani vicious and ordered he be killed.
I immediately took responsibility for him running at large and the incident and took corrective measures such as a stronger fence and a secondary, strong metal kennel on my property so this would never happen again and took my other dog to training and completed everything the City asked of me.
I had two independent, objective professionals assess Armani at the Visalia Animal Services facility and he was found not to be vicious, aggressive or dangerous, in fact quite the opposite. This new evidence was submitted to Visalia Animal Services and the City of Visalia, along with my statements regarding my willingness to do whatever was necessary, including rehoming Armani to ensure he be allowed to live. This new and further evidence was submitted to the SAME hearing officer. The new evidence and my willingness for stipulations was ignored and once again the hearing officer ordered that Armani be killed.
I will not stop fighting for the life of my dog when he has done nothing wrong and certainly does not deserve to die. Since the incident, I have done everything right and yet they still want to kill my dog, a young, healthy, friendly dog!
Armani has been held at the Visalia Animal Services facility for over 6 months now, kenneled with no human interaction whatsoever. They have held (I believe illegally) my dog on flimsy evidence and have twice now ordered him killed.
I am doing everything I can to fight for Armani’s life but I desperately need some help. Even though I am fighting his incarceration and the findings of the hearing officer, Visalia Animal Services is charging me daily for his care even though I purchase and provide all food, toys, etc. for him. The bill is approximately $3,000 now and the City of Visalia and the Superior Court have ordered that I pay all monies or I will not be allowed to have my next court hearing on September 28, 2017 in front of a Superior Court Judge. This is so important that the matter be heard by a judge and not a biased hearing officer with no particular training or knowledge of dog behavior or animals in general.
This could happen to anyone in the City of Visalia so I hope my efforts and fight will change the future for so many animals and their families in the City.
I have hired an attorney and have been fighting with the City for the entire 6 months that Armani has been held. I have tried to finance this effort on my own but it is increasingly difficult for me and I now only have until August 31, 2017 to raise the funds necessary to allow the next hearing and hopefully bring Armani home.
Please help me in my fight for Armani and all the future pets that will suffer if this issue is not brought to the forefront, the City held accountable and change brought about.
If you would like to help Armani and so many dogs like him, please donate through my Gofundme.com thank you all for your help, your support, your prayers and good wishes. Both Armani and I need them especially at this time.
- Sue Anton
- Greg DelVecchio
- Lynn Lindsey
- Diana Diehl
- Vicky Rivas
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