Animal Advocate taken to hospital after being arrested at San Bernadino shelter

Animal advocate confronted by police

Animal advocate, Maria Sanchez, confronted by police.

This is the biggest story happening right now in the world of animal advocates. While this trouble escalated over a dog, it could just as easily have been over a cat.

I’m listing the articles I’ve covered on this case at the end of this article (Michael added a link to them). If you have time, please read them in order. Maria Sanchez is an animal advocate in California. She takes her video equipment into the San Bernadino Animal Shelter, where she videos the dogs and posts the video to YouTube with the hope someone will adopt the dog. There are plenty of cat advocates in the U.S. who perform a similar service.

The San Bernadino Animal Shelter has a lot of bad publicity, most of it concerning Debi Shuker. She made the news awhile back for kicking a different animal photographer out in much the same way. Maria was stepping up for a dog named Sue, who she discovered very sick on Saturday, March 29. After speaking with Debi, as well as others, she was assured Sue would be given antibiotics.

Maria was sitting outside in the sun with Sue a few days ago after learning Sue had not been given any treatment whatsoever for what has now probably turned into pneumonia. Police were called when Maria offered to take Sue to a vet. Maria was removed from the San Bernadino Animal Shelter property by police.

Now for the real excitement. Word came in Thursday night that the shelter had retaliated by euthanizing 11 dogs when they still had room to board them at the shelter. Maria was back at the shelter on Friday. Here’s a video of what happened to her.

Maria was taken away by ambulance after being handled rather roughly by San Bernadino police officers. The argument now being debated is whether Maria could be considered as resisting arrest. She had supposedly been placed under a 72 hour trespass notice, meaning she wasn’t allowed on shelter property for 72 hours after being removed. Maria says she never got any kind of official document stating this. I don’t know about California, but in South Carolina a resident must sign a trespassing order when it’s issued to show they understand what it means.

Maria has some bruises, and feels as though she was hit by a truck. She has thousands of animal advocates backing her. A petition calling for the immediate firing of Debi Shuler has also been started.

Marie is most likely in a bit of trouble over this, because police can easily say she resisted arrest, which can carry felony charges if it can be proved she kicked out at officers in any manner. For the record, Maria has stated she was having a panic attack, and neither police nor EMS would allow her to get to her medication, which was in her purse.

I wanted to share this with readers for several reasons. For one, it shows how far many animal advocates will go to save the life of a shelter pet. Unfortunately, it also shows how far shelter staff, as well as local police, will go to prevent lives from being saved. The same type of treatment can be expected by anti-declawing advocates who have a peaceful protest. In many areas, the police are not our friends anymore, and don’t even try to hide that fact.

Sue is supposedly still alive at a local vet, but a few rumors are going around that she passed away. I’d love to hear what the readers have to say about any of this. Was it fair to have dragged Maria off the property, since she was never given official notice she was banned? Does she have a civil case, in your opinion, or does she need to worry about charges of resisting arrest. Please leave a comment.

Maria, whatever happens, you’re a heroine in the cat world, as well as a compassionate dog advocate. I will continue to follow this case and help in any way possible.

Elisa

Link to source articles.

Facebook Discussion

Comments

Animal Advocate taken to hospital after being arrested at San Bernadino shelter — 45 Comments

  1. From what I’ve read Maria was charged with trespassing and assault on an officer and has a hearing on August 5 in San Bernardino, California.

    • I don’t know the facts in close detail but judging by what I have seen the charges are trumped up to a certain extent at least and the police and the prosecuting authorities could deal with this in an entirely different way; in a noncriminal way in fact. To criminalise this person is a crime in itself and the authorities should be ashamed of themselves. It is another example, as far as I’m concerned, of individuals being crushed by the state and the state being less than democratic. It annoys me.

  2. Excellent story. For me the this is really about a confrontation between the establishment/authority and freethinking animal loving individuals who dislike the establishment and authority. I am one of those people.

    If I am right, this story encapsulates so much about modern society and the feelings of the average person. It encapsulates what is wrong with the relationship between the establishment and the people. By establishment I mean governments, local governments, the police, big business and the authorities generally.

    Personally, I admire Maria tremendously. It must have been a very frightening experience to be confronted by 2 large, tall policeman; one of them with a horrible expression on his face (see the picture heading this page) and then be arrested.

    Based upon what I can see of this story, Maria is doing a fantastic job. She appears to be exposing mismanagement in a shelter and in doing so the shelter has struck back which has resulted in an overreaction. To get the police involved seems to be massive overkill and completely incorrect.

    What will happen is that there will be a backlash against the shelter and shelter management and also the police because the average person in America identifies with Maria. There will be many people who do not identify with her and they will be part of the establishment but the masses, the broad mass of the people like me admire her.

    • There’s a law known as Hayden’s law that says a shelter must treat sick animals. Maria was challenging shelter on that law. From what I’m reading the police department is in charge of the shelter. That explains a lot. Maria was likely taking video of severe neglect and the shelter didn’t approve.

      • I am surprised to hear that the police department is in charge of the shelter. That sounds very abnormal to me. Perhaps the shelter is a pound in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Back in the old days animal pounds were places where animals were shunted and then put to death.

    • Earlier I posted a screenshot taken from the video of when police grabbed her arm. The officer was really digging in. There are thousands of comments on several Facebook posts but you can clearly see how they’re hurting her.

      • I am not a good person to talk about police because, sadly, I detest them based on my personal experience with them as an innocent person I hasten to add. They have a tendency to be stupid, arrogant and overstep the mark by abusing their power. That’s about as far as I can go in commenting on the police force.

        • —statistics indicate that the “police officer” has the lowest IQ of any other profession—how absurd, once again—2 cops to take down a 100lb woman—they are nothing but ganstas’ with a badge—

          • I am pleased that statistics in America have concluded that the policeman has the lowest IQ of any profession. My personal experience in the UK would support that. It does not apply to all policeman, of course. One should not generalise as it is unfair. However, there are, in my opinion, too many policeman who are not smart enough to be able to make good decisions and correct judgements under difficult circumstances. This story is one instance where a bit of wisdom, commonsense and intelligence would have informed the policemen that a different course of action would have been preferable.

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts
    as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site?
    My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from some of
    the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with
    you. Thanks a lot!

    • Sorry, but the answer is no because I checked out your site or at least the site that you link to and it has no relevancy to my site and neither does your site look like it is genuine.

      • I while wholeheartedly attest to the authenticity of Elisa as she was very instrumental in helping save our local animals and also me personally in retrieving a foster of mine that turned up in a shelter 600 miles away. Her article filled my mailbox with over 1000 offers for help up and down the east coast.

        • Todd I’m not sure whether we should thank each other or hit each other over the head in THAT dog case. I think I just know too many people 🙂

          It’s 8am and I’m still awake!

        • Thank you Todd for commenting. I can attest to her authenticity as well. We are similar in that we do not like injustice and injustice makes us angry. We also have a love for animals and an injustice against an animal or abuse or cruelty of any sort is something that drives us and inspires us to fight against it with passion. For me it is a passion to fight for cats both domestic and wild and also including feral and stray cats because they are either potentially or actually vulnerable in this human world, which can be quite hostile for an animal.

  4. From what I have seen over time the American police don’t seem to know how to handle animal issues -they are always shooting dogs that are not in any way aggresive -many times I have seen videos of how they have mishandled situations and animals have been killed unnecessarily and left the owners heart broken -they should take a ccourse in animal management.

  5. Thanks Elisa.
    You’ve gotten my adrenaline pumping.

    This whole situation is a mess.

    I don’t see where Maria committed any crime. She was told not to return to the facility for 72 hours, but that’s not legally binding without a written citation.

    The minute that officer put his hands on her, without provocation, it became assault.

    Any U.S. taxpayor has the right to question, even criticize, the care of animals in a public shelter. Afterall, they are the shelter’s bread and butter.

    A shelter that retaliates by euthanizing 11 dogs needs to be shut down.

    And to read that the Police Department is in charge of the shelter is just crazy. That makes this situation a clear conflict of interest. Not to mention how a police department can, possibly, have the expertise to oversee such a facility.

    My opinion is that Maria should hire a good attorney (I’ll bet supporters would help fund) from OUTSIDE her very hickville county. I think she has a fairly strong civil case.

    • Excellent advice. I think Maria is pretty smart and I hope and believe that she will be able to beat the police and the shelter on this one. She certainly has lots of sympathy. I’m sure that 99% of people who have read her story support her.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if some attorney doesn’t step forward, maybe even pro bono.
        It’s hot!
        False arrest, negigence (not allowing her to get her med), assault, conflict of interest (are the officer protecting the people or the shelter?).

  6. That cop never instructed he was arresting her or said for what….most importantly….he never read her her Miranda Rights….not only should this be thrown out….but she could prob seek restitution from the police dept.

  7. I think that one of the things I hate most is that, on one of the videos, I could hear Maria pleading to get her medication. They ignored her and slammed her against a wall.

    • It’s horrible. And to have 2 large, male policemen intimidating her beforehand and then rough handling her is totally over the top. It is terrible policing. Wouldn’t it have been better if a single policewoman dealt with the matter in a kindly but authoritative manner?

  8. Cops are the biggest violaters of laws. They hide behind their badge and violate peoples rights day in and day out.

    • We think alike, you and I. A policeman needs to act with integrity at all times as that is the only way he has the genuine authority to be a policeman. Without that his authority simply comes from fear.

      • She knew these officers and they kept asking her for her ID over and over. They knew who she was. The video will show she never was read her rights before she was taken into custody.

  9. I tag n share death row dogs.I have seen horrors.This lady makes me feel like there is hope yet.I pray it causes a backlash on san bernidino n some other shelters i know who find it easier to kill than do the paperwork.These shelters all over the us are a nightmare.I am proud of my county shelter who has not put a dog down for needed space since 2011.And also my police chief who has my back.This is sad n i say she go forward with a civil suit n get the word out,shame on this police dept n all involved.Ive seen them leave really sick dogs no vet care n its against law to do that.It is needless suffering.

    • i know who find it easier to kill than do the paperwork

      This is a chilling comment. Is it really true that some shelters think like this? If they have sent they have completely lost their way. A lot of people, like you, support this lady. I think she’s fantastic.

    • Sue looks so much better and looks happy too.
      I’m so happy for her and proud of Maria for bringing her situation to light.

  10. It is a sad story

    I only know one thing as I experience here in Pakistan.

    Whether those are cats or whether those are dogs, police officials are on the same path to poison/kill the dogs/cats.

    I don’t trust them, no body trust them here.

    Michael, it is my request that please give the link (separately to be mention) of youtube clip every time so that I can copy the youtube link and paste in proxy site and watch the video as the youtube is banned here in Pakistan, thanking you in this anticipation <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.