Monday, December 30, 2013

Portland Or Continues To Allow Seizure of Animals Belonging to Homeless

To: Kim Peoples
     Marisa Madrigal, County Chair
     The Multnomah County Commission
     Portland City Council
CC: Michael Oswald
CC:  Robert Babcock
Regarding NOI 85103 to David Jacobs, homeless, failure to comply Level 2 for his Belgian Shepherd, Striker:
"Upon a guilty or default conviction the director shall suspend ownership of the dog Striker
Michael Oswald will not permit information about available pro bono legal help and other resources to be conveyed  by county employees to homeless parties. With no fixed address permitting correspondence and often no telephone, contact becomes extraordinarily difficult. Yet they are the citizens in greatest need. Previous directors did provide that information. Mr. Oswald's recent alleged interest in our pro bono legal services came as a surprise as our services are widely known especially at MCAS. It is why we get public records. Attorney Robert. Babcock represents citizens at MCAS hearings pro bono.  We have been providing  pro bono services from legal to training help to dog owners since 1995. Robert Babcock was recognized by the Oregon bar a few years ago for his pro bono work. Does that affirmation help?
The agency's alleged rationalization  for not providing the contact information for our services is that then MCAS would have to provide the names of  all trainers and attorneys throughout the local area. There is no possible thoughtful response to that false allegation.
David Jacobs who is homeless and notes sometimes he has mental health difficulties (making it hard for him) has called me on a cell phone belonging to another homeless person, a person who unfortunately conveys messages erratically. He asked for legal help dealing with his dog's impoundment, his frustrations with MCAS non-responsiveness and their unilateral seizure of Striker. The county has one position: theirs. 
They do not help. He said he was not out of compliance with MCAS requirements when his dog was seized and that MCAS just took his dog and won't give him back; that he has no ticket but paid the requested $125 and no one will tell him when a hearing is going to be. He has gone outto MCAS multiple times. All he is told is wait for a court date but none is provided ( Most of the legal/enforcement staff is on vacation this month according to agency voice mail/e-mails)
If Mr Jacobs hasn't paid the $125, I will pay it out of pocket. And then we will discuss MCAS refusal to excuse/void unaffordable impoundment and hearing fees for the homeless as well as others with limited restricted incomes. As a unilateral competitive tactic MCAS effectively denies the homeless due process rights that should be afforded to all Multnomah County citizens. The right to a hearing should not be limited by economics/income. It is shameful that this county purposely denies due process rights to tactical immoral advantage. That must change.
Robert Babcock will help Mr. Jacobs (He will represent him; Mr. Jacobs asked for help) if the concerns about Striker cannot be resolved before the undated hearing. I will find a way to reach him and confirm that the requested help is granted.
MCAS long extensive documented history of bullying, threats, fines, abuse of authority and power, and extorted surrender must stop I have the documents and cases.  Communities, far less progressive then the metro area, engage in education, prevention, owner diversion classes and mediation. This county abuses the poor, minorities and the homeless and the mentally ill. That is the crime. There are other problem solving avenues beyond seizing and killing companion animals of the vulnerable, and taking advantage of their powerlessness..
It is time to change now.
Gail O'Connell-Babcock, PhD
Watchdog/Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation
16004 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road # 508
Sherwood OR, 97140
Telephone: 503.625.4563. 

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