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Author Topic: County seeks protection from humane society suits  (Read 994 times)

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County seeks protection from humane society suits
« on: January 19, 2008, 09:43:00 PM »
County seeks protection from humane society suits
Oakland Tribune,  Jun 27, 2007  by Will OremusSTAFF

A tangle of lawsuits related to the tactics of a Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA investigator has prompted San Mateo County to include a new clause in its new animal control contract with local cities.

The "hold harmless" clause would protect the county from being named as a defendant in future lawsuits arising from the actions of animal control officers within cities' borders.

But at least one city isn't eager to grant the county that protection without receiving in turn a promise from the humane society that it will assume full responsibility for such suits.

 In the past year, three plaintiffs who were the subjects of animal-cruelty investigations by PHS Officer Debi DeNardi have filed civil suits accusing her of harassment and abuse of power. Two of the suits, one filed by Janet Wherry of Half Moon Bay and one by Tamara Doukas of Redwood City, name not only DeNardi and the humane society, but also San Mateo County as defendants.

Wherry, who faces trial on criminal charges of neglecting livestock on her ranch, accuses DeNardi of wrongfully seizing the animals from her. Doukas, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, alleges that DeNardi played a role in wrongfully euthanizing her sick dog.

DeNardi and the humane society face a third suit from San Mateo pet store owner Mohammad Olfat, but it's not clear whether the county is named as a defendant in that case.


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