Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Plausible Deniability

So, re: The Debe Bell Debacle:

I contacted Colorado Crime Stoppers, complaining about the way the Debe Bell case was handled. This is the response I got:

To jansgiants@hotmail.com
Good Morning. Not sure why you sent this to Colorado State Crime Stoppers? We do not pay rewards or reveive tips. What Crime Stopper program are you talking about? Please advise.

From: jansgiants@hotmail.com
To: board@coloradostatecrimestoppers.com
Subject: rabbit seizure in Colorado
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:03:22 -0400


I'm emailing you to voice my concern about how your program was used to falsely accused a successful and highly respected breeder of show rabbits in Jefferson County, Colorado.

First allow me to introduce myself. My name is Janet Gruber, and I am President of the United Angora Rabbit Club. I am also a Director of the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club. I am also someone who has in the past been falsely accused of animal abuse myself. Fortunately for me, my local sheriffs are farmers and know proper animal care when they see it. Nothing ever came of it for me.

Unfortunately that was not the case for Debe Bell. When the House Rabbit Society (which is not an animal welfare organization, it is an animal rights organization, entirely different goals altogether) showed up at her property and were allowed entry by a roommate, the first thing they did was to turn off the air conditioning to her barn. Then they started removing perfectly healthy rabbits, in fact the 'technicians" involved even remarked about how healthy they seemed. A neighbor called Debe at work when she saw what was going on, and Debe rushed home. Upon arrival, she was threatened and intimidated into signing the rabbits over to HRS. After a couple of hours of no air conditioning, they then took the temperature with a faulty thermometer that Debe had lying around, and it showed 84 degrees. Not only is this not too hot for the rabbits, but witnesses say that it was actually not that warm at all.

The long-haired rabbits have since been shaved down to the skin, supposedly because HRS says they were matted and dirty, witnesses say they were not, At any rate, the evidence has been tampered with and now Debe can't prove they weren't. They are now in totally inappropriate conditions, double up in dog crates, sitting in shavings and their own excrement instead of on wire floors like they should be. They are also being fed an entirely inappropriate diet, which will sicken and possibly kill them, and the HRS will use that as proof that they were sick to begin with. The media took the HRS' word for the "deplorable" conditions, which did not in fact exist. Debe's rabbits were housed in spacious cages with wire floors, all their droppings fell into pans under the cages, they were not present int he cages themselves, contrary to the news report. Those of us familiar with the situation are pretty sure she was 'turned in" by a jealous fellow rabbit breeder, we know who it was but we just can't prove it. This person has been trying to make trouble for Debe for years now.

In short, no crime was committed until Crime Stoppers created one. An innocent person's right to unreasonable search and seizure was violated, she was blackmailed, her rabbits stolen from her, and her good name maligned. She now has to screen her phone calls and is being harassed.

I understand that you were warned this would happen. Well, shame on you! I wonder, how much did you pay this anonymous tipster? Now that this has happened, what are you going to do to prevent it from happening again? And why on Earth did you get the House Rabbit Society involved?

Needless to say, I think you should be sued. I hope Debe pursues this, and I wish her luck. There is talk about creating a legal fund for her. She is not in this alone.


Janet Gruber

I responded that this was given to me as the address responsible for the program, and got no further response.

Today, I contacted the Colorado Attorney General because clearly, Debe's Constitutional rights had been violated. Here is the result, I have yet to hear back from my response:

The local DA is ignoring the violations and is pressing charges based on illegally obtained evidence. Who, then can she turn to if not the CO Attorney general? Are you essentially saying that there is no oversight of local law enforcement?

Funny, CO CrimeStoppers also denies any responsibility, even though it was an anonymous CrimeStoppers tip that started all of this. Funny how no one wants to help the little guy here.

Janet Gruber

From: Attorney.General@state.co.us
To: jansgiants@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Violation of Debe Bell's Constitutional Rights
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 22:21:06 +0000

The Office of the Attorney General has no authority over local law enforcement or Colorado’s locally elected sheriffs. You need to contact your local district attorney’s office.

From: Janet Gruber [mailto:jansgiants@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 4:09 PM
To: Attorney General
Subject: Violation of Debe Bell's Constitutional Rights

Debe Bell, a long-time and well-respected rabbit breeder in Colorado, had her climate-controlled barn raided because of an 'anonymous tip'. It seems her barn was '4 degrees above the ideal' and she had some butchered rabbits in the freezer. OH MY!

Sheriffs entered her property illegally, she was not there to give them access, and proceeded to trample all over her rights. Yes, 4 cages out of 184 were dirty, but she and her 4-H kids were going to address those cages that weekend, I believe this, because if she wasn't keeping up with things, there would have been a lot more than 4 dirty cages. The House Rabbit Society, a notorious ANIMAL RIGHTS organization, led the raid. The HRS is allied with PETA, a group that has been placed on the terrorism watch list by the USDA.

This has gotten national attention, and needs to be investigated. The sheriffs involved need to be disciplined. Animal Rights organizations cannot be allowed to dictate what proper livestock care is.

Janet Gruber

I also emailed (via a website contact program) the governor's hotline and the local Jefferson County Internal Investigations. I have heard nothing back from either.

It seems that nobody wants to take responsibility for the violation of Debe's Constitutional rights. I guess Debe, an ordinary citizen simply living her life and wishing everyone else would do the same, is somehow unworthy of protection? If so, how would the rest of us fare? This makes me very sad, and very fearful for our country.


phylliso said...

This is just so unfair.I would help if I knew what to do.Apparently no one seems to want to own up to taking these rabbits.They were not sitting in their own feces.I am just so heartbroken for them as I know how much they miss their animals & are pretty stunned & in shock over it all.phyllis

Anonymous said...

Great letters, Janet. The "squeal" money that was paid was $2000. And from the response on your blog... have those people been living under a rock ?

Keep up the FANTASTIC WORK. There is also a fund set up to donate to with Joyce Holliday. If you need the information it should be on my Save the Six Bell Rabbits Facebook page. Holler if you can't find it and I'll get Joyce to post it again. I've donated to it and I hope we can get MORE generous donations.

Thanks again, Janet