(US - MT) UPDATE on the Montana Collies ("Camp Collie")

Snugglezzz at aol.com Snugglezzz at aol.com
Mon Jun 9 08:25:09 EDT 2003

UPDATE 6/6/03 on the Montana Collies

Statement by AWCA President Jean Levitt in Anaconda, MT

*Permission to crosspost*




Judge Pete Howard strongly chastised Athena Lethcoe-Harman and Jon Harman for thirty minutes before pronouncing sentence on the couple.  "Shame on you!" he thundered.  Judge Howard took apart every portion of their case, from the Harmans blaming the authorities for all of their problems, to the early morning visitations to "your children" permitted with compassion.  "You used the visitations to criticize their care, instead of using the time to spend with your 'children'," he told the Harmans.  "Never once did you take the time to say 'Thank you' to the volunteers who maintained the animals."  The judge examined the trailer and said, "I wouldn't drive my animals across town in it!"


The vast majority of the animals are to be altered and adopted out to carefully screened homes.  The animals continue to be in the care and custody of the Toole County Sheriff's Office.  They continue to be housed at Camp Collie - Great Falls under the supervision of Linda Hughes, Director of the Humane Society of Cascade County.  Sheriff Donna Mattoon will have the final say on dispersal of the animals.


In exchange for waiving the right to an appeal in District Court, which would have been heard before a 12-person jury, the Harmans made the following deal:


Dog # 9, "Panache," Mrs. Harman's "service dog," will be turned over to Mrs. Harman permanently following spay surgery.  (Immediately after sentencing, a deputy from the Toole County Sheriff's Office drove to Great Falls, took "Panache" into custody, and drove her to a veterinarian to be spayed.)


Dog #10, "Kryptonite," the fox terrier who had already been neutered by the person who stole him out of the Search and Rescue building in Shelby, is to be given to Jon Harman.  One male Siamese cat will be neutered and given to the Harmans.


Approximately 6 other dogs, including 2 stabyhouns, are owned by "innocent parties" according to Deputy Mike Lamey.  These owners will have until July 31 to prove ownership, claim them, arrange and pay for transport.


In exchange for waiving a $30,000 lien on the dogs to pay for the second trial, Nancy Lethcoe, Mrs. Harman's mother, was given custody of Dog #45, "Mystique," a tri smooth Sultan daughter whelped 7/29/94.  (She is the bitch with an abnormal discharge for which I called in the veterinarian late one night during the initial grooming in December, to determine if it was safe for her to be bathed.  Dr. Hardee Clark, DVM, examined her and said to "watch her closely for 24 hours.  She may be in whelp."  The AWCA Veterinary Technician, Sharon Mullaney, and the captain of the AWCA professional grooming team, Rev Oakes, slept beside her crate on the floor in the Search and Rescue building, bundled in sleeping bags that night to watch over her.)  Disturbingly, to further satisfy her $30,000 lien on the animals, Mrs. Lethcoe also gets custody of an "intact" puppy of her choice.  Mrs. Lethcoe wasn't the only person to lend money to the Harmans.


There are quality, normal-eyed, non-carrier, champion collies at stud in the U.S. belonging to reputable breeders.  Therefore the most disturbing portion of this bargain has to do with the following, which will further place animals in jeopardy.  Twenty collies that Mrs. Harman claims are her "best genetic stock" with regard to Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), will not be altered.  Instead, they may be shipped to various breeding kennels to be used for breeding.  Mrs. Harman has recommended several breeders.  This will be done only at the discretion of Sheriff Donna Mattoon.  Breeders who have an interest in breeding these animals have until June 30 to apply for stock.  Any breeder who acquires such stock must agree never to relinquish the animals to the Harmans.  All applicants will be investigated to determine if there have been any complaints against them by humane societies, local rescues, and authorities governing such matters.


Animals born after the rescue, i.e., the 7 puppies from Panache's litter born at the Marias Fairground and the 6 kittens born at Dr. Hardee Clark's clinic, are forfeited to the State of Montana, and will be adopted out at the discretion of Sheriff Mattoon, according to Chief Investigator Deputy Mike Lamey.


The Harmans are prohibited from owning any animals other than the three already described, and from breeding any animals, for a period of 10 years.  "If at any time the Harmans acquire and/or attempt to breed any animals during that time anywhere in the U.S., Montana will extradite them and prosecute."


There will be no fine imposed in this case, nor will the Harmans spend any time in jail.  They are not required to reimburse for the care of the animals.


No animals can go anywhere until they have a clean stool sample, and right now all random samples indicate continued contamination with a variety of parasites, i.e., giardia, coccidia, chryptosporidium, and hookworm.  Sanitation is impeccable in the new pens, positioned on a sealed cement floor.  AWCA is continuing to pay for the cleaning of pens to assist the volunteers.


Presently AWCA is continuing to pay the medical bills, and bills related directly to the care of the animals.  Potentially there are 27 unaltered animals being distributed.  AWCA Collie Rescue financially supports and assists with distribution of altered animals.  We have agreed to assist with adoption of spayed and neutered animals when our help is required by the authorities.


Deputy Lamey (owner of a menagerie including George, a mixed-breed dog; Sadie, a Jack Russell terrier; Weeza, a spoiled cat; and Chleo, his children's ferret) thanked AWCA:  "AWCA has really been a life-saver in this rescue.  You guys have been a TREMENDOUS help.  We can't say enough how much we appreciate your help."


It is flagrantly unconscionable that any reputable breeder would breed animals from ANY rescue, let alone dogs coming from this "cesspit" as described by Prosecutor Joe Coble.  Their health has been compromised by the ammonia on the truck, by severe prolonged dehydration and starvation, by tremendous parasitic infestation, emotional distress and social deprivation, not to mention previous heavy breeding under deplorable conditions.  Animals coming through rescue deserve individual loving homes.  They don't deserve to be bred and treated like "stock."


Thus far, AWCA has paid every medical bill for every animal that has come through this rescue, in addition to funding large quantities of supplies and equipment.  We have also paid for labor, and provided hundreds of hours of skilled volunteers and professional services.  AWCA has paid tens of thousands of dollars to support these animals.  However, AWCA has NEVER enabled breeders to breed rescue animals.  Why would any breeder want to breed unregisterable collies?  We will not betray our own integrity or the trust of the animal lovers everywhere who have so generously assisted us to support this rescue.  From this point on AWCA will not pay medical bills on animals that are designated not to be altered.  We would expect the new owners to pay all outstanding bills on these animals before they are relinquished to them.



Jean Levitt, President AWCA

Lisa King, AWCA Director AWCA Rescue

Officers and Members of AWCA


If you would like to assist AWCA with this rescue effort, you may send a check to:


                                                Bethany Burke

                                                AWCA Treasurer

                                                2807 Lee Trevino Court

                                                Shalimar, FL 32579


Make the check out to AWCA and in the memo area note:  collie rescue-medical, collie rescue-stainless steel, or collie rescue-general.

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