|Sentencing Update: Lin Marie's Bond Revoked - VFA Demands Accountability from Humane Officers|
Tiger Ranch Owner Pleads Guilty
Local “Humane Officers,” How Do YOU Plead?
Maximum Penalties For ALL Those Involved!
Sentencing for Lin Marie, former operator of Tiger Ranch cat “sanctuary” was set to occur on the morning of October 5th. However, due to Lin Marie's failure to complete a required psychiatric evaluation prior to her sentencing, Judge Rangos ordered the sentencing to be postponed to December 4th.
Defense testimonies from two humane law officers were heard in court that day, and VFA was right outside the courthouse to address their lackluster statements made from inside the building. Humane Agent Ron Smith, stated he was present and cleared an inspection on the property on October 20th, 2007, yet this undercover video was shot three days prior.
He also stated he received information for his 2006 report from Lin Marie herself, and that he “Never saw” at least three 30'x12'x12' “graves,” better described as massive burial pits on the acreage of Tiger Ranch, visible even from Google Earth. Humane officer Kathy Hecker's statement was no more impressive, including statements that while she kept a professional relationship with Lin Marie, that she could tour the property at any time, was at Tiger Ranch up to three times every year, never once issuing a citation, despite complaints received regarding the establishment. Furthermore, she admitted in court that Lin Marie was forewarned about the 2006 inspection that multiple local humane officers were present for, reflecting the fact that this could not have possibly been a legitimate inspection. Both officers stated numbers of cats at Tiger Ranch were a “concern,” but no action was ever taken.
VFA volunteers were present outside the courthouse that day for this very reason: With Lin Marie's guilty plea (as part of a plea deal), including 14 total counts of animal cruelty and tampering with public documentation versus the previous 600 charges, one must question the integrity of the humane law officers continuously clearing Tiger Ranch for inspection despite documented evidence taken alongside these so-called inspections revealing the apparently abhorrent conditions.
After their testimonies, it was brought to Judge Rangos' attention that Lin Marie was potentially violating her bail in agreement not to be in the presence of animals. Provided to the Judge were recent evidence of cat litter and cat food purchases made by Lin Marie, as well as photographic evidence of used litter in her garbage. The Judge ordered if any further evidence of Lin Marie violating her bail was provided, her bail would be revoked and she would return to prison. Police were ordered to inspect Tiger Ranch for any evidence of animals on the property.
Dedicated Tiger Ranch Rescue supporters and members of VFA were present at Tiger Ranch immediately following court, documenting Tiger Ranch supporters shooing cats into the woods surrounding Tiger Ranch, as well as a bonfire with questionable items aflame and potential tampering with evidence, as the burned items included bags of cat food and litter. A detective returned to Judge Rangos with the evidence documented at Tiger Ranch that same day, and Lin Marie's bail was revoked. She has returned to prison where she will finally receive the ordered psychiatric evaluation and await sentencing on December 4th, 2009. Supporters of Lin Marie present at Tiger Ranch after court could potentially face charges for tampering with evidence.
As media coverage altered from the humane law officers' statements and Lin's failure to be administered a psychiatric evaluation to new stories about the violation of bail and arrest, we fear our message regarding the accountability of the humane officers will be lost. Therefore, we need your help to keep this message in the news. Please include your comments wherever possible on the following provided media links and continue to demand holding humane law officers responsible for disregarding the real conditions and appropriate follow-through at Tiger Ranch prior to what should have been an unnecessary investigation by private concerned citizens. (While further commentary on this particular article is disabled, see this link for the story.)
Also, please write letters to the editors of the local papers, Post-Gazette and Tribune Review, both of which ran stories about the sentencing, alerting the public about the humane officers’ responsibility in allowing this to happen:
Tribune Review Story
Letters to the P-G need to be no more than 250 words and can be sent to:
Letters to the Editor
34 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Letters to Tribune Review need to be no more than 200 words and can be sent to:
Letters to the Editor
D.L. Clark Bldg.
503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
For a full list of media articles, see this link.
Finally, please don't forget that the wonderful survivors of Tiger Ranch are available for adoption at the Clarion shelter, 9562 Route 322 Shippenville, PA 16254. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm.