Sacramento, CA — Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution when they drove over 500 miles to seize a goat named Cedar and deliver him to slaughter, according to a lawsuit filed today in the Eastern District of the United States District Court by Advancing Law for Animals.
The filing states that the young girl who owned Cedar exercised her legal right to withdraw Cedar from a youth livestock auction hosted by the Shasta County Fair. These auctions can be traumatic for children who have bonded with their animals as pets. Although the young girl and her mother claimed to retain ownership over Cedar and offered to compensate the Shasta County Fair for any loss in this purely civil dispute, the Shasta County Fair threatened the minor’s mom with a felony charge of grand theft.
The minor, together with her mother and legal guardian, allege that, at the behest of the Shasta County Fair, two Defendant Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies unreasonably searched for and unreasonably seized Cedar, without a warrant, despite notice of Plaintiffs’ civil contract dispute and continued assertions of ownership of Cedar. Although Defendants were required by law to retain Cedar, they instead turned him over to unknown third parties for slaughter. The lawsuit alleges Defendants improperly determined ownership of Cedar without judicial authorization and without affording Plaintiffs any notice and opportunity for hearing, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and California state law.
“The police aren’t judges. They don’t get to decide when a young, powerless child no longer owns her animal. The Constitution says she gets a hearing,” stated Ryan Gordon, attorney for Plaintiffs and co-director of Advancing Law for Animals.
Plaintiffs are represented by Advancing Law for Animals and the Law Offices of Daniel J. Kolde. Advancing Law for Animals is a California-based, nonprofit law firm that specializes in complex and novel issues of animal law.