Wayne County, OH Humane Society, return all seized animals to Bright Futures Rescue NOW

  • by: Helen Witschi
  • recipient: Wayne County,OH Humane Society Director, Stuart Mykrantz and County Commissioners exec@wchs.org; wccommissioners@wayneohio.org; aobrecht@wayneohio.org

UPDATE:

Regarding the below case, in addition to signing my petition, please also call Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Lutz (330-262-3030) and Judge Timothy VanSickle (330-287-5664) and ask to leave the following message for them:

”I am ____ from ____ . Please dismiss all charges against Jane Smith and return all animals to her, immediately. Thank you.”

It is important that you be polite.

This particular travesty of justice is aimed at Jane Smith/Bright Futures Rescue, but if the powers that be get away with doing this to Jane, what is to stop them from going after anyone who has companion animals and/or who runs a rescue group? All it would take is one undeserved complaint from someone with a grudge or with corrupt political purposes to go after any of us. We need your help to not only protect Jane and her animals, but to protect all of us who love animals, from such abuses of power.

Thank you.

*****

I am Helen Witschi, a friend of Jane Smith, the founder of Bright Futures Rescue in Creston, OH. I am a fellow animal rescuer. I have been in rescue for over 30 years, have witnessed personally most of the cruelty that is so prominent in the news today, and have had “puppy mill” dogs who were so traumatized that it took years to rehabilitate them, if ever. I served on the board of a Humane Society for 4-1/2 years and I know the power struggles that ensue. Jane Smith is a wonderful rescue, does everything right, loves the animals and is now being persecuted for that.

Jane lives on a 44 acre farm with plenty of room for animals to run and play. The dogs reside in her spacious home, and she has outdoor kennels for fresh air, a pond for swimming, walking paths and even an agility course for those dogs who never run out of energy. She rescues dogs who are facing imminent death, from local and out-of-state shelters.

She spays/neuters and totally vets all of the animals and makes sure that they have a clean bill of health and are groomed before they are put up for adoption. Jane really gets to know the personality of each dog and finds a home in which they will thrive. Potential adopters fill out applications, with reference checks completed and home inspections a prerequisite. If for some reason the adoption does not work out or the circumstances of the family changes so they cannot keep their dog, Jane will take the dog back so they are never homeless or end up in the shelter system again.

Jane has a primary vet, an emergency hospital vet, an avian vet, a groomer, neighbors, and many others who have witnessed her care and compassion for all animals.

The Wayne County Humane Society, with no justification, seized all of her healthy, well-cared-for animals, during May, 2014, ransacking her home, in the process. She has not seen her animals, since. Please sign this petition to demand that the Wayne County Humane Society IMMEDIATELY return all of Jane’s/Bright Future Rescue’s animals. Her animals have already suffered from this horrific ordeal for almost 3 months.

Background: Based upon a report from a retired law officer who illegally broke into her home, looking for his missing dog, the Wayne County Humane Society, during May 2014, obtained a search warrant and ransacked her house and yard, and seized her Bright Futures Rescue animals and her own animals. The frightened animals were transported in an unsafe manner and Jane is terrified that they are not receiving proper care, especially the older and special needs animals.

During the seizure, Jane was repeatedly threatened with arrest, when she attempted to comfort her animals and photograph the seizure. Stuart Mykrantz, Executive Director of the Wayne County Humane Society, and the accompanying dog warden were disinterested when Jane tried to give them the background and special instructions for the animals. They gave no reassurance or comfort to the terrified animals whom they were ripping from their home. They refused to let Jane clean the cage of one of her dogs who defecated in his cage. The animals sat, in cages, for 5 hours in the sun, without food or water or a chance to relieve themselves, before they were transported in an unsafe manner, on a highway.

Jane has not been allowed to see her animals, since the seizure, almost 3 months ago. 47 dogs, 2 cats, 7 birds, a rabbit, and a gecko (all of the animals whom Jane had up for adoption, plus, almost all of her own animals) were taken. Four of the dogs were to be adopted to new homes, later that week, but they were taken away, with the others. Bright Futures’ original paperwork for the animals, for which Jane did not have copies (veterinary records and adoption contracts) were taken and Jane was not allowed to inventory what records were seized.

Jane told me that all she could think, as the trucks left with her animals, was, “Oh, please God, watch over them. This is evil. These are bad people. This can’t be America.” In addition to losing her precious animals and having had her house ransacked, she faces losing her job and her home.

Jane has not seen her animals since May 19th. We have heard that they are kept in a garage and some are kept outside, at WCHS. We are afraid they will be exposed to disease and that the older and special needs animals will not survive. We learned that even their own volunteers were not allowed to see Jane’s animals and that two of the tenured workers just quit. WCHS does not want people to see that they seized healthy, well-loved animals.

We wonder whether animals in residence at the WCHS were killed/are continuing to be killed to make room for Jane’s animals.

After the court hearing, Robert Gibson admitted to trespassing and breaking and entering. Stuart Mykrantz admitted to seeking a warrant even before Gibson made a statement.

WCHS has threatened to kill a minimum of three of Jane’s dogs because they have tested positive for heartworm, though now that the public pressure against them, and in support of Jane, has started, they claim that they have no intention of killing any of the animals. We wish we could trust them. Heartworm is very treatable and Jane has always had the dogs treated successfully by her vet. One of the dogs was treated in April, but probably hasn't expelled all the worms yet. WCHS will not disclose which dogs have heartworm. Jane agreed to pay for the heartworm treatment above and beyond the monthly bond fee of $17,400, and three rescues have agreed to take in these dogs, but WCHS refused. This threatened lethal action goes against WCHS’s own stated policy.

WCHS hired a vet who solely travels to local pounds. He does not work for, or have a practice of his own. Part of his job is to go from pound to pound to kill animals. This is the man whom WCHS hired to decide whether the animals are suffering. County employees cannot go against the Humane Society if they want to keep their jobs.

The animals at WCHS, considered property, not beloved companion animals, do not receive the love and care that Jane Smith provides.

Jane has not been proven guilty in a court of law. When she is proven innocent it may be too late to get her animals back because WCHS may already have killed them. We need your help to prevent this injustice.

All of Jane’s animals were healthy and have veterinary records. WCHS informed Jane that she must pay $17,400 per month for their care. She paid the fee by the deadline, for three months. WCHS also posted on their facebook page a request for donations for those same animals (indicating that the donations were for care for animals from a hoarding case). Jane has paid the WCHS $52,200 so far.

Jane has nothing to hide, but the WCHS does. They are operating in a deficit. They are facing the loss of about $260,000 per year from Wayne County for the dog warden position that may revert back to the Sheriff’s Office.

We urge tthe Wayne County Humane Society immediately return all seized animals to Jane Smith, owner of Bright Futures Rescue, in Creston, Ohio . In addition, all bond money ($52,200 as of 7/30/14) collected from Ms. Smith must be returned, and any veterinary costs associated with the seizure, along with Ms. Smith’s legal fees, must be the responsibility of the Wayne County Humane Society. All original copies of veterinary records and adoption contracts, seized from Ms. Smith must be returned. Physical damages to Ms. Smith’s home and property must be repaired.

The return of Ms. Smith’s animals, however, is the paramount concern and must be accomplished without delay. We ask your help to save Jane’s animals and to bring them home.

Please sign this petition, demanding the immediate return of all of Jane’s animals.

Please visit the facebook page set up by friends of Jane to help supporters follow this story at:: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-the-Animals-of-Bright-Futures-Rescue/701791769869104?ref_type=bookmark

Thank you.

Helen Witschi

We are writing to urge that the Wayne County Humane Society immediately return all seized animals to Jane Smith, owner of Bright Futures Rescue, in Creston, Ohio .


 


In addition, all bond money ($52,200 as of 7/30/14) collected from Ms. Smith must be returned, and any veterinary costs associated with the seizure, along with Ms. Smith’s legal fees, must be the responsibility of the Wayne County Humane Society. All original copies of veterinary records and adoption contracts, seized from Ms. Smith must be returned. Physical damages to Ms. Smith’s home and property must be repaired.


 


The return of Ms. Smith’s animals, however, is the paramount concern and must be accomplished without delay.


 


Bright Futures Rescue provided exemplary care to the animals in its care. The seized animals were all healthy at the time of seizure.


 


In court, retired officer Robert Gibson (who had illegally broken into Jane Smith’s house, looking for his missing dog, who was not found), upon whose uninformed complaint the seizure of Ms. Smith’s animals was initiated, admitted to trespassing and breaking and entering. Executive Director of the Wayne County Humane Society, Stuart Mykrantz, admitted to preparing a warrant even before Mr. Gibson made a statement.


 


During the seizure, Ms. Smith’s terrified animals were left in the sun for 5 hours, caged with no food or water or chance to relieve themselves (having to sit in their own waste), and no reassurance or comfort was given to them. Ms. Smith was threatened with arrest, repeatedly, when trying to comfort them and while documenting the seizure with her camera. Her house and yard were ransacked.


 


This attack on Jane Smith’s home and rescue, and the seizure of her animals, were executed without justification. Therefore, we urge the return of Ms. Smith’s animals and records, immediately, and the return of all bond money, court costs, and the payment of any related veterinary costs and legal fees.


 


Thank you,


 


Sincerely,

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