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.