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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

6th Circuit Bites Ohio Animal Rights Activist

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A federal appeals court says the founder and former director of the Save the Animals Foundation, a non-profit oganization based in Ohio, has engaged in ''frivolous" litigation against the charity and imposed a $500 penalty. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also instructed a lower court to determine how much money the charity founder should pay Save the Animal's for legal expenses defending itself.

Here is some information about the charity in Cincinnati. There are similar groups throughout the nation, but it is not clear how they are connected, or if they are connected at all. There are logo items offered for sale online.

The foundation operates one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in Ohio. It has had as many as 520 cats and up to 40 dogs, and Save the Animals has cared for, rehabilitated and found homes for abandoned and abused pets. The organization operates with unpaid volunteers and is financed through donations and fundraisers.

Circuit Judge Cornelia Kennedy wrote the unanimous opinion for the three-judge panel that levied the $500 penalty. She said the charity's founder claims the current board and Save the Animals have committed ''a myriad of improprieties related to the management of the foundation" and has sought judicial redress.

"She has instituted state and federal court litigation, in addition to attempting vaarious administrative remedies, essentially alleging the same improprieties against the same defendants, all to no avail," Kennedy said.

She added that the monetary sanction is to deter ''further costly and umeritorious litigation." And: 'Additionally, we remand the case to the district court with instructions to award monetary sanctions to the defendants attorneys' fees incurred in trial court following the filing of the motion to dismiss. Because we trust that issuing monetary sanctions in the form of attorneys' fees would sufficiently deter from filing additional frivolous actions, we find it unnecessary to enjoin plaintiff from instituting future litigation against the defendants without a magistrate's approval." (6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, No. 05-4342.)

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