|After pointing their fingers at me for over 4 years and spending over $80,000 to prosecute me for a lousy $100 fine, the ultimate victory was mine!!! NOT GUILTY!!! All it cost me was some gas to and from and a few McDonald's for lunch while out and about. Best of all, after it ended between us and they had made such fools out of themselves, there was a grand jury investigation against the county board of supervisors and animal control who had all made questionable comments while harassing me in the media, and they were found to be guilty of 28 felony criminal charges! See 3 of the 17 FRONT PAGE articles about this by clicking here.|
See the short film by George Lucas films for the abbreviated version of this 4 yr fiasco: ''TROUBLE SPOTS" here.
Randy Warner says he does not have the nearly $10,000+ needed to satisfy Riverside County Authorities regarding the proper kennel licensing for his dogs and plans to fight. Authorities are taking him to court for the 43rd time.
A SPOT OF TROUBLE
Dogged by the Law: Dalmatian Rescuer Awaits Day in Court.
By David Reyes Times Staff Reporter
High up along the Ortega Highway, amid towering oaks and pine, dog activist Randy Warner has established his latest – and, authorities hope, last headquarters for Dalmatian ResQ. Jailed four times already, Warner faces trial on July 27 for failing to have a kennel license while harboring, by his own count, 17 Dalmatians.
Among them are Maddy, a docile sweetie pie, now 16 years old, Megan, whose skull was caved in by a previous owner wielding a metal pipe, and Rockyretard, an adorable pooch who’s always first in line to eat or go for a ride and to get the first pat on the head. None seem to know the terms “lacking” when it comes to love or attention.
Riverside County Animal Control officials cited Warner, 43 for keeping too many dogs. He faces fines totaling $130. The fine is only an infraction, equaling a parking ticket. The required license costs $260 in full and he must spend another $3,500 to install kennels on his property that he rents. But, first he must pay the county $6,000 for a temporary land use permit, totaling over $10,000.
In October 1996, he was cited again by Riverside
County and was recognized by Commissioner Loree, presiding, who
said, "Oh, you’re the Dalmatian man. You’re doing a good thing
here." He said that he and his wife had been following his
trials in the papers over the years and felt he should be made a
hero, not a criminal and would then refuse to even hear the
current case against him - dismissing the charges. Loree is now
the second judge/commissioner to call the county on the carpet
over all this
Residents in Three Counties Speak Out in Support
Judge/Commissioner Loree Supports Warner in Court
Thursday, May 15, 1997
Judge seeing Spots is off case
By Sandy Stokes
Staff Writer Press-Enterprise
Taking care of those dogs may make Warner a law-breaker, but at least one commissioner was moved by his efforts.
Lake Elsinore, CA. Bringing the likes of Randy Warner to justice takes a judge with no soft spots for spotted dogs, a Lake Elsinore court commissioner decided Wednesday.
It seems the case against Warner should have been a slam dunk. Warner, who rescues Dalmatians, from dog pounds, admits he broke the law, but says he can’t afford the fee. He had nine dogs at his house when Riverside County Animal Control officer Brian Bealer wrote him a $130 citation in February for keeping more than four dogs.
Bealer came to court with new evidence, a Press-Enterprise story and picture reporting that Warner had 14 dogs in his house last week, In part because of the aftermath of a short lived affection for the dogs by those who saw the movie, “101 Dalmatians'.
"I read the story about you
recently and my husband and I wanted to send money” Loree told
Warner as she is presiding at the bench. “So, the case has to go to
another judge, because I cannot be impartial”, she said.
“Personally, having the job I have, I think you should be made a
hero, not a criminal.”
By Sandy Stokes, Staff Reporter
Good Deeds Lead To Spot Of Trouble
If it has a wet nose and lots of spots, Randy Warner can’t turn it away. That’s where the trouble starts. In the last two years, the Menifee man’s affinity for Dalmatian dogs has put him before the judge more times than he would like to admit to. Today, Warner is expected to answer his 43rd and most recent county citation for failure to get a kennel license. At the time it was issued, Warner was keeping 32 Dalmatians in his house. Under Riverside County rules, anyone with more than four dogs must get a kennel license. Anyone with 10 or more must build a kennel that has a food preparation area, separate septic system, individual dog runs and handicapped facilities as the county would then view him as commercial. (handicapped parking and bathroom would be required in his small rental home)
Warner has beaten all but one of his previous county citations. He has had some help from various judges who have followed his efforts in newspapers and magazines over recent years and both refused to hear the case against Warner and simply dismissed the charges stating that Warner should be made a hero and not a criminal. But county animal control threatens to seek an injunction against him if he does not comply. Warner could face contempt of court charges according to the country animal control officer. Warner assures them that while he’s winning approval from the courts, there will be no contempt charges levied against him.
Others who rescue animals from dog pounds don’t argue with Warner’s view that Dalmatians are known to be high energy dogs and tend to become aggressive if kept contained or not allowed to run and socialize. But they say they comply with the kennel laws – either by limiting their dogs to the legal number or by building kennels even though their dogs don’t stay in them either.
Ian Dalgetty, manager of the Riverside County Animal Control agency, said most people, once they learn of the rules, do the same and end up complying. "We go out and tell them and they say, "Oh, I didn’t know" and they go and get a kennel license." He said.
"All the people we give kennel licenses to, we go by and make sure the dogs are being fed and watered and make sure they are able to take care of them" Dalgetty said. Many animal cruelty cases stem from people with good intentions trying to rescue more animals than they are able to care for, Dalgetty said. Then went on to say that this is not, nor ever has been any evidence that Warner neglects or is unable to care for his dogs. Quite the contrary, but they worry that he may be approaching a time when his dog population outstrips his ability to feed and care for them."
Each time he has been cited by the county, Warner has had more dogs. His first citation in February 1997 was for keeping 12 dogs. When he was cited in May 1998, he had 17. His third and fourth citations were for having 21 and 33 respectively. But Warner is quick to note that none of them are the same dogs as he had then, as he is constantly placing the dogs he obtained a couple months prior. So far only his first citation to which he pleads guilty, has resulted in a penalty of $45. But the judge quickly waived the fine stating he felt it could be better spent on dog food.
Dalgetty said animal control is not on a mission to shut down Warner. "We just want him to comply with the laws" He said he hopes Warner can find sponsors to help him establish a kennel so that he can continue rescuing the Dalmatians. When questioned about the additional fees which seem to stand in Warner’s way, Dalgetty said he wasn’t aware of them till now. After speaking with Warner’s landlord, it was made very clear that he will not allow the construction of dog kennels and runs as he does not want his property to be viewed as a dog pound.
Others who save the spotted dogs admire Warner’s work, but worry he may be risking too much by flouting the law. "I think people would take him more seriously if he became a corporation and had a tax exempt status… It would be a real tragedy for the Dalmatians if he was not permitted to do rescue anymore," said Terri Haase, president of Save the Dalmatians of California, a non profit organization that keeps track of Dalmatians in 38 shelters in Riverside, San Bernadino, Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. Warner contends that the county should not force those who are helping in such a way, to pay such outrageous land use permits and additional fees. The license is only $260 per year, but the remaining $10,000 is various county fees and costs.
He and a dozen supporters unsuccessfully lobbied the county Board of Supervisors for an exemption from the kennel requirements. Supervisors told Warner that he must comply with the law. Warner is convinced that the supervisors are simply not aware of the additional Ten grand required – they only know of the $260 license and didn’t understand his question. He is also aware that the overwhelming publicity he has been receiving over the past 2 years has been completely one sided in his favor, making the board of supervisors quite uneasy.
On the same day he addressed the supervisors, Warner received his most recent citation along side the freeway on his way home. The administering officer explained that he was instructed to give Warner a citation and have it on the supervisor’s desk by 2pm when he had to leave.
"I’ve never seen a case where they cite one person for the same violation over and over," said attorney Robert Newman, who is representing Warner for free. "With all these failed prosecutions and the courts actually deciding in Warner’s favor so far, it would seem at some point, it’s simply vindictive prosecution," he said. "Here’s a man saving animals who would otherwise be mistreated or euthanized, taking these animals in, not costing taxpayers to feed them, house them or euthanize them and this is who they target," said Newman.
The 45-year-old Warner grew up in a farming community in Ohio and says he rescued his first Dalmatian, AJA, more than 20 years ago. Aja was about to be put to death because she didn’t have the trademark polka dots preferred by breeders. "She was so beautiful and so angelic, though" Warner said. Unbeknownst to him, she was also pregnant. The dog gave birth to 17 puppies 2 days after moving into his first Hollywood apartment. Warner kept one and eventually placed the rest. It was after that when people began contacting him to find homes for their unwanted Dalmatians and he began to notice a pattern of ignorance in those who had gotten Dalmatians.
Now Warner has dozens of exuberant, dust and mud covered spotted dogs running in and out of his house and digging holes in his yard. Occasionally a tiff between two dogs will break out, but Warner jumps in and stops it, earning his respect from the dogs one more time. He says his dogs are convinced that he is the top dog. If they disagree, Warner, a dog trainer who specializes in curing dogs of aggressive behavior, pounces on them and bites them on the snout if necessary.
He said he lives like a Spartan on donations and money he earns from training dogs at $500 to 1,000 per dog. His $1,200 a month dog food bill is mostly covered by donations from a corporate sponsor and food manufacturer, Nutro Pet Foods. Also he keeps three dogs whose owners didn’t want them anymore and were simply non adoptable, but, pay Warner $150 a month to keep them.
Warner says dogs come in faster than he can find homes for them. Three years ago, Dalmatians’ popularity soared with the release of Disney’s "101 Dalmatians". With demand on the decline, Warner and others say the dogs are harder to place now because they’ve simply gone out of style now. Only a fraction of those who find themselves in the pound, are fortunate enough to ever be rescued.
Haase estimates that more than 10,000 Dalmatians go through area animal shelters annually. Nearly 8,000 of them don’t make it out alive. That is why she doesn’t want Warner’s operation to shut down.
Attorney Pam Anderson of the Riverside County counsel’s office said ordinarily the worst penalty Warner could get if convicted is a $100 fine. It’s just an infraction. But, because this is a continuing course of conduct, an injunction may be in order" Anderson said. With a court order to quit breaking the law. Warner could face more serious contempt charges if he doesn’t build a kennel or get rid of his dogs. She agreed that with court proceedings favoring Warner in all cases so far, that is not likely for the near future.
To date, the County Of Riverside has spent over $40,000 in futile attempts to obtain a conviction against Warner to pay the $100 fine.
Gladys Cox, a Dalmatian rescuer in the San Francisco Bay area, said Warner is a unique individual and really knows Dalmatians. He is very gifted in dealing with them and I truly admire him for that. Most other rescuers have families, jobs and neighbors and can’t live with 35 Dalmatians. Especially if they were allowed to roam freely around the premises. But, it certainly does work for Randy. If people don’t understand just what all he does for and with the animals, then they really don’t know Randy.
|Download and read a 3 page overview timeline accounting of Warner's story here|