Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Los Angeles California Wildlife Rehabilitation Real Estate

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day from Animal Advocates in Los Angeles, California - Mary Cummins

Happy Earth Day from Animal Advocates in Los Angeles, California, Mary Cummins

Today April 22 is Earth Day.  20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970 to increase public awareness abut the damage humans were doing to the environment. The purpose of Earth Day is to educate people about the relationship we have with our natural resources. California was one of the first states to enact statutes to protect our flora and fauna. Today Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people in 192 nations.

You don’t have to be a professional wildlife conservationist to protect our wildlife, ecosystems and earth. Here are a few things you can do to help save our environment.


  • Pick up litter. Wildlife sometimes mistake it for food, eat it and end up dying. Birds can also become entangled in fishing line and die.
  • Don’t use rat poison. Let rodent’s natural predators, i.e. coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raptors and snakes, control their populations. 
  • Replace your lawn with native drought tolerant plans to conserve water and native pollinators.
  • Conserve water. This is especially important here in California. Use as little water as possible to prevent shortages and assure sufficient amounts of water for crops and the ecosystem. 
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most cities by now have recycling programs. 
  • Use your car less often. Walk, bike, carpool, use public transportation or use a hybrid vehicle.
  • Never dump anything into a storm drain or gutter as they lead to the ocean.
  • Educate your children about local plants and animals so they will grow up with a positive conservation attitude. 
  • Volunteer at nature centers, wildlife preserves or wildlife rehabilitation facilities.
  • Keep your dog on a leash in wild places. Don’t let your dog chase birds. Birds need undisturbed time to nest, forage, rest and clean themselves.
  • Keep cats indoors. Cats kill millions of birds and small animals every year. Many of the animals we receive were cat or dog caught. 
  • Go solar. Most utilities now offer rebates.
  • Conserve electricity and gas. The less you use, the less pollution. Plate trees to offer shade. Line dry clothing. 


There are many Earth Day events planned throughout California. Here are a few from the California Department of Fish & Game.

Earth Day Festival at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, April 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach (92647). The free event will include educational activity booths and guided tours of the reserve. Exhibitors include CDFW, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Wetland and Wildlife Care Center, Native People of SoCal, Orange County Coastkeeper, Shipley Nature Center, Air Quality Management District, Wyland Foundation, Shed Your Skin, and co-host Amigos de Bolsa Chica. Enjoy the Windows to Our Wetlands bus, interactive booths, native plant stations, a craft booth, food for sale, and more. The event is handicap accessible, held in the north parking lot. For more information, call (714) 846-1114.

CDFW will be at the U.S. Forest Service’s Kern River Valley Bioregions Festival at Circle Park in Kernville April 22, to explain the Kern River Hatchery renovation project and the new Kern River Rainbow program with the Friends of the Kern River Hatchery. The CDFW Natural Resource Volunteer Program will provide a booth with information on volunteer opportunities.
CDFW will host booths at three Sacramento area events: the Roseville Celebrate the Earth Festival and Sacramento Zoo Earth Day on April 22, and the ECOS Sacramento Earth Day on April 23. Ask staff about California wildlife, Watchable Wildlife locations in the greater Sacramento area and Nimbus Fish Hatchery, which is open to visitors year-round. Enjoy a variety of hands-on activities, including the Salmon Survival Wheel, where players learn about the obstacles that salmon must overcome in order to spawn.

Volunteer Work Day at Friant Interactive Nature Site, April 21 and 22, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 17443 N. Friant Rd, Friant (93626). Spend a fun day outdoors, doing trail maintenance (pulling weeds, raking, pruning) in a lovely setting for outdoors education. For more information, please call (559) 696-8092.

Gray Lodge Clean-up and Field Day and Public Meeting, April 22, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). The event is in partnership with California Waterfowl Association (CWA), and will include habitat and maintenance projects, followed by a lunch sponsored by CWA. The day will be informative and will help improve the quality of wildlife habitat. At 1:30 p.m., CDFW will hold an annual public outreach meeting regarding the Gray Lodge and Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Areas at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area’s main office building. For more information, please call (530) 846-7500 or email GLWLA@wildlife.ca.gov.
Los Banos Wildlife Area will have a hands-on activity booth at the Modesto Earth Day Festival in Graceda Park.

Animal Advocates
http://www.AnimalAdvocates.us/
http://www.facebook.com/AnimalAdvocatesUSA


Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Los Angeles is not the #1 city for dog attacks on USPS delivery people - Mary Cummins

USPS came out with the annual dog attack city rankings April 6, 2017. If you look at the list, it's very misleading. Of course larger cities with more people will have more dog attacks. If you look at the attacks per capita, the list changes. Below is the USPS ranked list. I only looked at the USPS 1-10 list. It's possible the cities in the 11-30 list had higher attacks per capita than the below. I used populations for 2013 because that was the only year where all the cities had a noted population statistic.

City / Population / Dog Attacks / Attacks Per Capita

1. LA City 3.884M        80 = .0000205 per capita
2. Houston 2.196M        62 = .0000282
3. Cleveland 390,113     60 = .0001530
4. San Diego 1.356M     57 = .0000420
5. Louisville 253,128     51 = .0002010
6. Detroit 688,701          48 = .0000696
7. Denver 649,495         47 = .0000723
8. Chicago 2.719M        46 = .0000169
9. Indianapolis 852,866  44 = .0000515
10 Minneapolis 400,070 43 = .0001070

If we go by capita, per person, the rank changes to the below. Los Angeles went from number one to number nine on the list.

1. Louisville .0002010
2. Cleveland .0001530
3. Minneapolis .0001070
4. Denver .0000723
5. Detroit .0000696
6. Indianpolis .0000515
7. San Diego .0000420
8. Houston .0000282
9. Los Angeles .0000205
10. Chicago .0000169

As the USPS article stated, one reason why the total number of dog attacks on USPS delivery people has increased is people are shopping online more and having items delivered. More deliveries means more exposure to dogs. Of course there will be a higher number of attacks. That said we still must do all we can to prevent dog attacks.

https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_016.htm

I emailed USPS politely asking them if they could include per capita numbers or at least clarify the numbers. This is the reply from USPS. They don't care that their numbers are misleading. They're also making some cities with lower dog attack rates look bad.

From: Saunders, Mark R - Washington, DC <mark.r.saunders@usps.gov>

"Hi,

Thanks for your interest. The attack numbers were compiled from accident reports from letter carriers serving specific street addresses. The focus of this community outreach program is to raise awareness of this nationwide issue and protect our employees, children and the public at large and not a per capita interpretation. "

I decided to take a look at the entire list. Some cities ranked at the bottom should actually be at the top. I have this in Excel but I'm trying to figure out how to rank not just the numbers but the corresponding cities. I'll figure it out by tomorrow. I don't want to do it by hand. Just figured it out. Of these 42 cities LA is has one of the lowest dog attack rates per capita. Brooklyn and Chicago are number one and two for fewest number of attacks. This is ranked highest to lowest.

Here is the Excel file. Here is a pdf of it. The top att/cap numbers are direct. The ones below them are to a decimal point of 5, i.e. E 05. Move the decimal point over five places.

The table below falls apart. Here's an image.

USPS dog attacks per city per capita Los Angeles California usps.gov 


CITY
ATKS
Pop.
Att/Cap
Flushing NY
22
72,008
0.000305522
Shawnee Mi, KS
18
64,323
0.000279838
Louisville, KY
51
253,128
0.000201479
Cleveland, OH
60
390,113
0.000153802
Buffalo, NY
28
258,959
0.000108125
Minneapolis, MN
43
400,070
0.000107481
Akron, OH
21
198,100
0.000106007
St Louis, MO
31
318,416
9.73569E-05
Richmond, VA
20
214,114
9.34082E-05
St Paul, MN
26
294,873
8.81736E-05
Cincinnati, OH
24
297,517
8.06677E-05
Denver, CO
47
649,495
7.23639E-05
Detroit, MI
48
688,701
6.96964E-05
New Orleans, LA
25
378,715
6.60127E-05
Kansas City, MO
30
467,007
6.42389E-05
Sacramento, CA
30
479,686
6.25409E-05
Wichita, KS
23
386,552
5.95004E-05
Baltimore, MD
36
622,104
5.78681E-05
Oakland, CA
23
406,253
5.6615E-05
Indianapolis, IN
44
852,866
5.15908E-05
Memphis, TN
33
653,450
5.05012E-05
Seattle, WA
31
652,405
4.75165E-05
Columbus, OH
39
822,553
4.74134E-05
Long Beach, CA
22
469,428
4.68655E-05
San Diego, CA
57
1,356,000
4.20354E-05
Fort Worth, TX
33
792,727
4.16285E-05
Charlotte, NC
33
792,862
4.16214E-05
Fresno, CA
19
509,924
3.72605E-05
Las Vegas, NV
21
603,488
3.47977E-05
OklahomaC, OK
20
610,613
3.2754E-05
Portland, OR
41
1,258,000
3.25914E-05
Dallas,TX
41
1,258,000
3.25914E-05
San Antonio, TX
42
1,409,000
2.98084E-05
Washington, DC
19
658,893
2.88362E-05
Houston, TX
62
2,196,000
2.82332E-05
Philadelphia, PA
40
1,553,000
2.57566E-05
Phoenix, AZ
35
1,513,000
2.31328E-05
San Jose, CA
21
998,537
2.10308E-05
Los Angeles, CA
80
3,884,000
2.05973E-05
Chicago, IL
46
2,719,000
1.6918E-05
Brooklyn, NY
27
2,592,000
1.04167E-05

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


Google+ Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, wildlife, wild, animal, rescue, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife rehabilitator, fish, game, los angeles, california, united states, squirrel, raccoon, fox, skunk, opossum, coyote, bobcat, manual, instructor, speaker, humane, nuisance, control, pest, trap, exclude, deter, green, non-profit, nonprofit, non, profit, ill, injured, orphaned, exhibit, exhibitor, usda, united states department of agriculture, hsus, humane society, peta, ndart, humane academy, humane officer, animal legal defense fund, animal cruelty, investigation, peace officer, animal, cruelty, abuse, neglect #marycummins #animaladvocates #losangeles #california #wildlife #wildliferehabilitation #wildliferehabilitator #realestate #realestateappraiser #realestateappraisal #lawsuit

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Therapy dog Star detects lead in water at San Diego Unified School District, California - Mary Cummins

therapy dog, star, Lindsay Curtius, san diego unified school district, san diego cooperative charter school 2 mountain view campus lead water test california, Mary Cummins
LA Times released a story about a school therapy dog who detected lead in San Diego school drinking water. The therapy dog "Star" pictured above with his handler Lindsay Curtius refused to drink water from the school's water supply on January 26, 2017. That's when his handler noticed a sheen on the water. Lindsay Curtius of San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2 Mountain View Campus reported the incident and the water was tested. The water test showed that the water contained more than maximum allowable amounts. All children at the school are drinking bottled water until the testing is finished in June 2017.

Star is a Labrador. Generally Labradors will drink and eat almost anything. They're one of the most common dogs to be accidentally poisoned for this reason. That would lead one to believe this was a smell issue. We have drug and disease sniffing dogs. Time for lead sniffing dogs.

Star was trained at NEADS, National Education for Assistance Dog Services, dogs for deaf and disabled Americans as a therapy dog. This is her profile.

"Hello, my name is Star! I am the Service Dog for the Classroom at SDCCS2.  I am originally from New York state. I was trained by NEADS,National Education for Assistance Dog Services, in Massachusetts for 20 months before I met my handler Lindsay Curtius. We trained together in Massachusetts before traveling on an airplane back to my new home of sunny San Diego!

I was matched specifically with SDCCS to assist students off all ages both in and outside the classroom environment. Dogs at schools assist in the social development of children by teaching responsibility, compassion, self esteem, and empathy. It has also been found that they decrease unexpected behaviors and promote positive behavior in students.

In my position at SDCCS, I work hard to perform all my tricks that I was taught to help children with all different kinds of needs. I enjoy being read to, talked to, and I love playing ball!

When I'm not working at SDCCS I enjoy camping, hiking, and running on the beach!
If you see me around campus, please say hello!"

About the handler Lindsay Curtius.

"My name is Lindsay Curtius. I am an Education Specialist at San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2. In July 2016, I had the opportunity to fly from California to the NEADS campus in Massachusetts to meet and train with Star, SDCCS’ Classroom Therapy Dog.

SDCCS is a progressive, developmentally-based, child-centered program. We focus on developing empathy and social emotional skills through healthy attachment, pro-social communication, and relationships. We are designated as an Ashoka Changemaker school through the Start Empathy Initiative and we are dedicated to the development of each individual child as a whole person.

Since this summer, Star has become a welcomed addition to our school family and has adjusted well to the California lifestyle! Star spends her days helping students with developmental, sensory, and behavioral needs, who are fully included across ten multi-age classrooms. She assists in the social development of children by teaching responsibility, compassion, self esteem, and empathy. It has also been found that dogs in classrooms decrease unexpected behaviors and promote positive behavior in students.  Star’s favorite day of the week is Friday where the entire school comes together in the auditorium to sing!

I look forward to continuing to work with the NEADS family as Star grows and becomes a member of our school family."

http://www.sdccs2.org/staff.html

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


Google+ Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, wildlife, wild, animal, rescue, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife rehabilitator, fish, game, los angeles, california, united states, squirrel, raccoon, fox, skunk, opossum, coyote, bobcat, manual, instructor, speaker, humane, nuisance, control, pest, trap, exclude, deter, green, non-profit, nonprofit, non, profit, ill, injured, orphaned, exhibit, exhibitor, usda, united states department of agriculture, hsus, humane society, peta, ndart, humane academy, humane officer, animal legal defense fund, animal cruelty, investigation, peace officer, animal, cruelty, abuse, neglect #marycummins #animaladvocates #losangeles #california #wildlife #wildliferehabilitation #wildliferehabilitator #realestate #realestateappraiser #realestateappraisal #lawsuit

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deadly Fungus Invades Texas and is Found on a New Bat Species - BCI - Mary Cummins, Animal Advocates

BCI, Bat Conservation International, WNS, White Nose Syndrome,  Pseudogymnoascus destructans, Animal Advocates, Mary Cummins, Los Angeles, California
Deadly Fungus Invades Texas and is Found on a New Bat Species
The fungus known to cause White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that has decimated hibernating bat populations in the United States and Canada, has been discovered for the first time in Texas.
The fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) was detected on three species of hibernating bats in northern Texas: the cave myotis (pictured), Townsend’s big-eared bat, and the tri-colored bat. This is the first discovery of Pd on the cave myotis and the first detection of the fungus on western populations of Townsend's big-eared bats - two bat species with distributions extending further into the west.
"This is devastating news for Texas, and a serious blow for our western bat species," says Mike Daulton, Executive Director for Bat Conservation International (BCI).
Katie Gillies, Director of Imperiled Species for BCI added, "We have been surveying hibernating bats and monitoring for the arrival of Pd for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) since 2011. At this early stage of detection, we have not observed any visible signs of the disease on any bats in the state, such as white fungal growth on the nose and wings. Detecting the fungus when it first arrives gives us a chance to take action and try to minimize the impacts from White-nose Syndrome on our Texas bats."
The fungus was detected in six Texas counties from samples collected in January and February by BCI and Texas A&M University (TAMU) biologists as part of a larger national surveillance study led by University of California, Santa Cruz. The cave and bat samples were collected in Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King, and Scurry counties.
"The arrival of the fungus in Texas is not surprising. I’ve been looking for it for years, hoping I would never find it. And now that it’s here, I’m devastated because I know what WNS does to bats. After years of surveys, I feel a special responsibility to these bats. I know them – I see them every winter. And now, I fear that I might not see them for much longer. We must act now," explains Gillies.
"We need to expand our targeted surveillance to get a better understanding of the distribution of the fungus. We will also be reaching out to landowners and the community to help protect bat roosts and emphasize decontamination to reduce the likelihood of an accidental spread of the fungus to a new location."
White-nose Syndrome has been rapidly expanding westward since its discovery in New York in 2007. Millions of bats have been killed by the disease, with population declines greater than 90% in some states. 
Texas, with 32 bat species, has the greatest diversity of bat fauna in the country. The state is also home to the famous roosts of Mexican free-tailed bats at the Ann. W. Richards Congress Ave Bridge in Austin and Bracken Cave, one of the largest bat colonies in the world, near San Antonio. However, Mexican free-tailed bats do not hibernate all winter and may not be highly susceptible to the disease.
"While we are cautiously optimistic that Mexican free-tailed bats will not be heavily impacted by the disease, we do have serious concerns for hibernating species, such as the cave myotis, that often share their roosts," says Winifred Frick, BCI Senior Director of Conservation Science. 
Texas is the most eastern edge of the distribution for the cave myotis, with the species being found throughout southwestern USA and into Mexico. The discovery of the fungus in Texas is significant on a national scale as biologists are concerned that the spread of Pd into western states will be exacerbated as this and other western species are exposed.
"The detection of Pd in Texas comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of White-nose Syndrome being confirmed in Nebraska. This emphasizes the need for us to not only increase our surveillance but also our research efforts to identify and develop tools to improve survival for bats exposed to the fungus. Although there is no known treatment for White-nose Syndrome, we are actively working on research that may prove effective," Frick explained.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


Google+ Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, wildlife, wild, animal, rescue, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife rehabilitator, fish, game, los angeles, california, united states, squirrel, raccoon, fox, skunk, opossum, coyote, bobcat, manual, instructor, speaker, humane, nuisance, control, pest, trap, exclude, deter, green, non-profit, nonprofit, non, profit, ill, injured, orphaned, exhibit, exhibitor, usda, united states department of agriculture, hsus, humane society, peta, ndart, humane academy, humane officer, animal legal defense fund, animal cruelty, investigation, peace officer, animal, cruelty, abuse, neglect #marycummins #animaladvocates #losangeles #california #wildlife #wildliferehabilitation #wildliferehabilitator #realestate #realestateappraiser #realestateappraisal #lawsuit

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lawsuit behind the USDA deleting inspection and permit reports - Contender Farms, Show inc, Lee McGartland, horse soring

USDA, HSUS, Contender Farms, Lee McGartland, Mike McGartland, Show Inc, united states department of agriculture

UPDATE: I just found the documents which the McGartlands wanted removed from the USDA website. They publicly filed them in their public lawsuit against the USDA. Therefore the documents are privileged and can be publicly shared. The documents attached to their February 2016 lawsuit against the USDA include Tab, Exhibit 8 which are official warning letters and form 7060. They involve four horses who showed evidence of soring at two events on three different days. The documents in order are as follows,

August 23, 2012 form 7060 violations of federal law, unlawful acts, case TN130373-AC, violator Mike McGartland, 15 U.S.C. Sec 1824(7) showing of horse with substance used to sore a horse, ( C.F.R. Sec 11.2(c) prohibited substance, horse tested positive for sulfur, horse "Low on Gin," 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, TN.

Same violation against Lee McGartland.

Same violation against Chris Alexander.

August 30, 2012 form 7060, case TN130155-AC, against Mike McGartland, 15 U.S.C. Sec 124(2), horse is sore. 9 C.F.R. Sec 11.3 scar rule, horse is sore, horse "He's Shady in Black," in the 74th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse Naional Celebration in Shelbyville, TN.

Same violation against Lee McGartland.

Same violation against Chris Alexander.

February 17, 2016 official warning letter from the USDA, case TN150128-AC. Letter states USDA could impose civil penalties up to $2,200 or other sanctions for each violation. USDA decided not to pursue penalties as long as they don't violate the regulations again. They offered them the opportunity for a hearing.

August 26, 2014, Lee McGartland, TN150128-AC, 15 U.S.C. sec 1824(2)(A), horse is sore, horse "She's A Shady Sister" (class no. 120, entry no. 1001) at the 76th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Same warning letter as February 17, 2016 but to Michael McGartland.

Same for 7060 as above August 26, 2014 but to Michael McGartland, case TN150127-AC. This time the horse is "Blue's Master" (class no. 139B, entry no. 982), same show.

Below is the link to the documents.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4dUhGeFJwRFp3YjQ/view?usp=sharing

It's really shocking that the McGartlands would demand that the USDA remove all inspection, permit, violation reports because of a few warning forms and letters. In their lawsuit they said they were denied a hearing. In the letter the USDA offered them a hearing if they wanted to contest the warnings. The USDA could have cited them, fined them but they didn't.

From personal experience I can tell you that USDA is not very strict on enforcing regulations. You have to do something really bad to even get a warning. Even after warning letters they don't start any action unless the person refuses to correct their behavior and defies the USDA like the Wildlife Waystation and Tiger Rescue did numerous times. I personally feel that the Texas attorneys who owned the horse just wanted to bully the USDA into silence. They almost succeeded. Hopefully the USDA will be able to stop them. We need those records to be public for this reason.

February 3, 2017 USDA removed permit and inspection reports along with the search engine stating it was in part due to litigation. February 7, 2017 they updated their reason, see below.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/enforcementactions

"Last Modified: Feb 3, 2017  Print
Courts are continuously issuing decisions that provide agencies with guidance on interpreting and applying laws applicable to the release of information to the public by the Federal government, including the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice maintains comprehensive guidance involving the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other laws, and updates such guidance based on legal developments. APHIS, with the support from the Office of the General Counsel, continuously monitors these sources of information and makes refinements to APHIS’ practices, as needed.

Based on our commitment to being transparent, remaining responsive to our stakeholders’ informational needs, and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals, APHIS is implementing actions to remove documents it posts on APHIS’ website involving the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that contain personal information. These documents include inspection reports, research facility annual reports, regulatory correspondence (such as official warnings), lists of regulated entities, and enforcement records (such as pre-litigation settlement agreements and administrative complaints) that have not received final adjudication. In addition, APHIS will review and redact, as necessary, the lists of licensees and registrants under the AWA, as well as lists of designated qualified persons (DQPs) licensed by USDA-certified horse industry organizations to ensure personal information is not released to the general public.

Those seeking information from APHIS regarding inspection reports, research facility annual reports, regulatory correspondence, and enforcement records should submit Freedom of Information Act requests for that information. Records will be released when authorized and in a manner consistent with the FOIA and Privacy Act. If the same records are frequently requested via the Freedom of Information Act process, APHIS may post the appropriately redacted versions to its website. In addition, some enforcement records (such as initial decision and orders, default decisions, and consent decisions) are available on the USDA’s Office of Administrative Law Judge’s website (https://www.oaljdecisions.dm.usda.gov). For more information on preparing and submitting Freedom of Information Act requests, please visit https://efoia-pal.usda.gov/palMain.aspx."

USDA stated they removed the documents because of litigation. I went and found a couple of the cases related to the take down of this public information. One of the cases is CONTENDER FARMS, LLP, LEE MCGARTLAND, MIKE MCGARTLAND and SHOW, INC., Plaintiffs vs.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Case No. 4:16-cv-163-Y, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, FORT WORTH DIVISION.

This is the second lawsuit the McGartlands who are both lawyers, attorneys filed against the USDA over their alleged violations and public reports. From the Washington Post,

Lee Wall McGartland, Michael "Mike" McGartland, Texas, lawyers, personal injury, tennessee walking horses, usda, lawsuit


"Three summers ago, Lee Wall McGartland and Mike McGartland entered a horse named The Royal Dollar in the 74th annual Red Carpet Show of the South. A veterinary medical officer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was there, too.

The animal placed third in its class in the competition for Tennessee walking horses, which have a high-stepping gait that enthusiasts say comes from breeding and training. But it can also come from the application of caustic chemicals to a horse’s legs and other painful practices called “soring.” These are outlawed under the federal Horse Protection Act, and the Agriculture department is responsible for horse owners’ compliance. During a post-show inspection, the veterinary officer determined that The Royal Dollar was sore.

The finding resulted in one of several official warnings between 2013 and 2016 that identified the McGartlands as “violators” — warnings that appeared on a public USDA database and that now underpin a legal battle between the Texas couple and the department. The McGartlands sued, arguing that the enforcement program denies due process to those accused of violations and breaks privacy laws by publishing personal information."

In this case the USDA noted that the Plaintiffs violated the Horse Protection Act. USDA posted in the USDA website their inspection reports, inventory of animals, warning letters and other related USDA documents.

Plaintiffs sued the USDA stating that posting that information is a violation of Plaintiff's privacy. Plaintiffs also state that they feel the reports are false and defamatory. Plaintiffs state they were never allowed a hearing before a court of law before the violations were listed on the USDA website even though they did receive warning letters. From the second amended complaint which is linked below,

"Plaintiffs in this case allege that both USDA’s use of warnings and publication of the Form 7060s and other enforcement-related information are unlawful and not authorized by the HPA. (ECF No. 45, Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 44-51, 58, 64)."

Previously USDA said there could be no settlement of this lawsuit. Now all of a sudden after the documents were purged Plaintiffs said there could be a settlement. HSUS then intervened because they need online access to the documents because they cannot be timely obtained through FOIA requests. Below is the motion and memorandum in support. If you look at the linked USDA documents in the memorandum, they're now missing. You get a 403 page.

Second Amended Complaint by Plaintiffs.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4V3dVY2dxUi1icVU/view?usp=sharing

HSUS Motion to Intervene.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4bkZHMWdsQVdHd3M/view?usp=sharing

HSUS memorandum in support of motion to intervene.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4c21IdWxzcUNFbXc/view?usp=sharing

Here is the docket.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4NmtqQ1dzdHFHTFE/view?usp=sharing

Plaintiffs argue that having the documents online is a violation of the Privacy Act §552a(b).

"The legal wrong about which the McGartlands and Contender Farms complain results from
USDA employees unlawfully deciding the McGartlands violated the HPA and imposing sanctions
on them by assessing penalties that are then published on USDA databases. 5 U.S.C. §551(10)(C)
and (13). SHOW complains that the USDA has wrongfully publicized on these same databases
that SHOW has violated the HPA."

The McGartlands also complain that the USDA has violated their privacy rights by
disclosing and publishing false and misleading personal information about them on USDA
databases in violation of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. §552a(b).

"D. The USDA Unlawfully Disclosed the McGartlands’ Personal Information
Without Their Consent in Violation of Privacy Act §552a(b).
69. On June 8, 2015, the McGartlands saw on the USDA’s website that they were identified as
having violated the HPA on August 23 and 30, 2012. The USDA was immediately contacted and
informed of the McGartlands’ concern that it had been publically disclosed that they had violated
the Act, pointing out that the HPA does not authorize the Agency to release allegations about those
it investigated or believed had violated the Act. The USDA was requested to remove the website
and inform the world that it was a mistake to have said the McGartlands violated the Act.
70. On June 12, 2015, the McGartlands wrote the USDA complaining of the lists the Agency
was publishing that identified them as having violated the Act, pointing out that the USDA was
violating HPA §1825(b) and the Privacy Act. The McGartlands requested the Agency stop making
disclosures about them. The disclosures about the McGartlands on the Searchable Violations List
and Enforcement Actions List were materially false and misleading."

Plaintiffs further argue that the documents should not be released in a FOIA request.

"76. The Privacy Act and FOIA Exemption 7(C) protect from disclosure information compiled
for law enforcement purposes where release “could reasonably be expected to constitute an
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(7)(C). There can be little question
that Agency disclosures, that the McGartlands have been targets of USDA law-enforcement
investigations and enforcement actions, can, and have subjected them to embarrassment and
potentially more serious reputational harm."

They request their information be removed.

"118. Plaintiffs seek a declaration holding unlawful and setting aside Defendant’s alternative
enforcement programs to Formal Enforcement Proceedings, under which the USDA decides that
people have violated the HPA, penalizes them for the violation and falsely and misleadingly
publishes their names on database list as having been determined to have violated the Act.

119. Plaintiffs seek an order enjoining the USDA from publishing the Searchable Violations
List, Enforcement Actions List and HIO Penalty Lists, which falsely or misleadingly identify
people as having been determined to have violated the HPA.

120. Under the APA, HPA and Privacy Act, the McGartlands request this Court declare that the
USDA has violated and is violating the Privacy Act by disclosing the McGartlands’ personal
information in violation of 5 U.S.C. §552a(b). The McGartlands request that the Court enjoin such
violations from occurring in the future, and order that all USDA lists identifying the McGartlands
as having been the subjects of investigations into HPA violations or identifying them as having
been penalized with a public reprimand or Form 7060 be removed from the USDA’s website."

Below is HSUS answer to Plaintiff's complaint. They state Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim and lack standing. I believe if Plaintiffs feel they were defamed, they should have sued for defamation. As the reports are now outside of the statute of limitations of one year for defamation in Texas, they cannot bring a suit for defamation.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4WExpMGZFZE1kZU0/view?usp=sharing

Plaintiff previously sued USDA for similar things. They lost in district court under fair Judge Terry means, appealed, it was affirmed in part and reversed in part. Below is the docket of the previous case.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4TTA2aDVSSjJsZ2c/view?usp=sharing

Opinion on the appeal.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxE8KfVPjYF4MUNpMmpCeUtZZkk/view?usp=sharing

http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions%5Cpub%5C13/13-11052-CV0.pdf

Legal summary about the case.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/02/23/5th-circuit-nixes-usda-horse-protection-rule.htm

In summary it appears that Lee and Mike McGartland of Show Inc and Contender Farms show their Tennessee walking horses. They were upset that USDA passed a regulation in 2012 making it mandatory for horse shows to suspend horses which show evidence of soring per USDA inspectors. One of their horses place third then was suspended when a USDA inspector found evidence of soring. The McGartlands sued. They lost in district court, appealed. It was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The McGartlands sued on a technicality stating that the law states there should be a horse inspection but never stated it should be by a USDA inspector.

The McGartlands sued the second time to remove their inspection reports, violation reports and warning letters from the USDA website claiming privacy violations. They also sued because they feel they were noted as having violations without being given a chance to have their case heard before a judge. My opinion is that they could have appealed the USDA's violation report. I did that with the California Dept of Fish & Game. I didn't have a violation report. I appealed an administrative issue and won. The owners of the horse and Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are both personal injury attorneys.

As I see it the Gartlands were found to have sored horses by the USDA. The received violations and their inspection reports were posted online. They felt this hurt their reputation and business. They sued to have evidence of their horse soring removed from the public websites. Sounds to me like someone who committed cruel acts on an animal and they just don't want everyone to know it. These lawsuits bring even more attention to the alleged cruel acts.

Previous article on this USDA issue.

http://animaladvocatesmarycummins.blogspot.com/2017/02/animal-advocates-starts-usdachallenge.html

Here is another one of the lawsuits behind the USDA document dump.

http://marycumminsrealestatemarycummins.blogspot.com/2017/02/usda-removed-documents-because-of-party.html

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


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