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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Letter Written Re: Animal Control 2/11/08

This letter was delivered to Riverside County Animal Control (Rob Miller), Director of the Riverside County Public Health Agency (Dr. Frykman), Gov. Schwarzenegger, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco, Riverside County Supt. Jeff Stone, & Senator Hollingsworth (who explained to me it was a "legal issue")

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing you under great distress, I am in fear for my own personal safety as well as the safety and well-being of my animals. After a Real Estate transaction went awry we were forced to move from our farm with inadequate notice, leaving our animals in the care of the new owners of the property. During that time our goats and our pigs were taken by private citizens who state animal control instructed them to do so. I have recovered my goats however, my two pot bellied pigs Wally and Suzie-Q are still missing. Since Animal Control has stated they are not involved, I reported the missing animals to the Sheriff’s Department to help me recover my animals. The gentleman that has the pigs’ refuses to give them back stating he had permission to remove the animals by an Animal Control Officer that he is in contact with. I have been in constant contact with different levels of Animal Control and getting the “run-around”. After attempting to file an excessive force complaint against a couple deputies that escorted us off of our previous property we now are having further trouble with Animal Control at our new property. It seems the Sergeant took the time to look us up using means that I am still unsure of because my home phone number is unlisted and called Animal Control for abandonment and neglect. She was even so kind as to call us at work and inform us of her actions. I have done everything I can to comply with Animal Control but their position and allowances continue to change. One officer told me the amount of dogs we had was fine because they were licensed, now that I have made an issue and accused an officer of stealing my animals it is not ok. When the Animal Control officers were at my house at 8:00am on a Saturday morning they informed me that they would continue to harass me as long as I am in their county. One of the officers was in my face telling me she was going to call the Sheriff and have me removed from the property. The deputy I have been working with to get my pigs back was contacted by an Animal Control officer and told to send all correspondences to her because if I wanted my pigs back it will take a court order. To me this does not sound like an agency that has nothing to do with the disappearance of my animals. I have tried on numerous occasions to explain this issue to upper management of Animal Control, I have even had two meeting, yet this behavior has been allowed to continue, in fact it has gotten worse. My horses and other animals are in constant danger of being seized for the lack of knowledge by Animal Control. They sent out officers who have little to no knowledge of Horses or Livestock and they are making false claims and accusations and then telling me they can come and take my animals. The officers told us that 23 of our 27 horses were in severe need of a farriers attention, when we called our farrier out, he was only able to do 5 because no one else needed to be done. They are also requiring us to keep a weeks supply of feed on our property at all times. With the rainy weather our property has flooded and we have no place to keep our hay supply safe from the elements. The Animal Control officers suggestion “you look like a genius, I’m sure you can figure it out”. There is a lack of control and professionalism as well as a lack of knowledge floating around Animal Control. They are the ones responsible for setting the standard of care everyone should provide their animals, yet they set the bar higher for people outside of their agency. I am urging you to please not allow the actions of this agency to continue. I am sure I am not the only person experiencing this behavior, I am just one of the first to come forward and seek guidance from those that govern such agencies.

I have provided all information regarding this matter in the packet attached.
- Conversation Log from 1/12/08 to 2/11/08
- Notice From Animal Control Dated 1/15/08
- Request For Records Submitted 1/22/08 By Sarah Mason
(Records still have not been received 2/11/08)
- Copy Of Pig Licenses
- Letter From Jack Bishop Re: Missing Pigs With Photo
- Notice From Animal Control Dated 1/24/08 (this was a first notice not second)
- Notice From Animal Control Dated 1/25/08
- Notice Of Violation From Animal Control Dated 1/26/08
- Copy of Farrier Bill with a note about the condition of horses
- Feed Bill for 1 weeks worth of hay
- Photos Of Horses/Animals In Question
- Letter from my Assistant Trainer Robin Benefiel
- Letter from Mathew Rodolf
- Arabian facts and photos of horses to show size & weight
- Thoroughbred photos to show size & weight
- Draft Horse information and photos to show size & weight
- Quarter Horse information and photos to show size & weight

Please consider all facts provided in this package as this matter is quickly becoming out of control. I have done everything I can to comply but I am still under constant harassment and I do not feel this matter can be resolved without your urgent attention. Because of this issue Code Compliance has now contacted me at work, (I did not know calling you at work without leaving a notice on your door was a common practice) and our landlord who we have just signed a 1 year lease with has asked us to move because he does not want any trouble with Animal Control or Code Compliance. As you can see, we are in desperate need of help.

At this point I am seeking to file a formal complaint against all officers involved in my case(s). When I called the shelter on 1/28/08 they did not have a record of the second officer coming to my home at 8:00am on Saturday morning. I have since discovered her name is East Field Officer Betsy Richie; she would not give me her card when I asked and I was told she was a Captain.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sarah Mason


  1. WOW Sarah,
    I just re read this letter!!!!!
    A.C. also told people they could sell our horses. Someone did sell our horse, Black Beauty, to a local scumbag in Anza. Since it is WELL KNOWN that we live in San Diego, Animal Control agent Lesley heunnekens had a field day conspiring with a local drunk tweaker who was a friend of one of the 3 people whom we paid to care for our horses and dogs until we found a better place to move them. It was also well known that we were moving the horses to 400 acres the very same day they were siezed. the drunk, another friend of agent heunnekens, Joice Dietlin, was also stealing our hay, grain, dog food, tools, etc. she even stole the handicap parking hanger that was left in our Avion Trailer. Dietlin is heunnekens and animal control's contact. she moved into the ranch where our horses were kept the very same day her buddy heunnekens siezed our horses without any notice to us. We have had the same phone number and address for 6 years!!!!this was a true retaliatory and malicious act as it was VERY WELL KNOWN by Dietlin that we were moving the horses down the street to 400 acres in Anza the same afternoon which heunnekens and her buddies hurriedly siezed them in the morning. Animal Control KILLED our oldest Horse, WALKINTHEPARK. They also transported our broodmare, Molly, upsidedown in the trailer. The 2 acre pasture where our horses had been for 2 months had lots of expensive mixed Orchard/Alfalfa hay on the ground. We provided at least 2 bales of hay for each day our 6 horses were there. The 3 100 gal water troughs were sparkling clean and 3/4 full. The pasture buckets were half full of free feed minerals and there were several salt blocks in the pasture. We took photos when we got to the ranch. The owner of the 400 acres down the road got a call from a friend who witnessed the illegal reckless seizure and called us to tell us what had happenned. Since we were NEVER notified of any problems by Animal Control, except in June when the horses were in a different location. Heunnekens left her doorhanger ordering a vet check. Franklin had a Thoroughbred Race Track Vet at the Del Mar Race Meet call heunnekens to try to inform her of how to care for horses that have been starved (by Jason Lopez for 4 months from Nov. 07 to March 08) Heunnekens HUNG UP ON THE VET!!!!!!Heunnekens even admitted in court that she hung up on the Vet!!!!! Animal control wants to get you to jump through their hoops, but they can't handle it when you actually do!!!! They are incompetant jerks on a powertrip. I sure hope lots of animal lovers are reading this blog!!!

  2. Can I post my complaint against Riverside Animal Control? I'm at war with them over them breaking into my backyard over My turtle running around in my backyard. They use the city tree trimmers to photograph your property and pets and use that to file a complaint. As it is unlawful for them to just walk into your back yard.