Spindletop Lawyer Issues Statement That Would Make Oscar Mayer Proud

Categories: Spaced City

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It would be nice if Anderson just told people if dogs they left in Spindletop's care are dead or alive. Or is that too much to ask?
Zandra Anderson, attorney for the woman whose dog refuge was raided and shut down after nearly 300 dogs were found to be neglected, has issued a statement defending her client (and friend) and accusing the Houston Press and others of error-plagued reporting.

Published on the No Kill Houston Facebook page, the 3,000-word screed is an exercise in deflection, obfuscation, finger-pointing, undocumented claims and baloney.

Most tellingly, Anderson ignored the fact that both she and her client, Leah Purcell, have refused to disclose the identities of dogs who died in an improperly cooled building over the summer, or to divulge the whereabouts of many dogs who are still unaccounted for.

At this point, we can't help but wonder if Anderson is causing Purcell more harm than good. Anderson claims to represent Purcell pro bono, and it appears Purcell is getting her money's worth. For one thing, Anderson has not presented any evidence other than her own unsubstantiated opinion to refute statements by authorities and the Humane Society of the United States about conditions at the Spindletop facility. And the most Anderson could say of the Press' investigation was "this article contains numerous inaccuracies and there are plans to address them later."

Anderson's missive trots out the broken-record biographical bits -- including the chestnut about Purcell how "served as an expert witness and consultant in legal cases across the nation," without citing even one case. Anderson also recycles the claim that Purcell was a "certified expert...for the Michael Vick case," when a review of federal court records indicates that the extent of Purcell's involvement was an amicus curiae filing.

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Your reporting has proven to be the most important tool for me in trying to find out what happened to the dog - Jenn - I sent to Spindletop in 2009.  I am among the NOT KNOWING what happened.

I met Jenn just once - a sturdy, lively young pit bull. I was in Newark, NJ to bring her kennel mate home and couldn't take both girls, two lively pitbulls. But Jenn still trusted me with her care when she got into the crate and boarded a plane from Newark, NJ to Houston, TX. We were strangers who made a deal.

I made another deal with Leah Purcell. believed in Leah Purcell and Spindletop's reputation. Like a desparate patient in search of a cure, I didn't pause to question Leah. On the basis of a couple of side jobs - her expert testimony re Michael Vick and consulting with Best Friends - I took her at her word.  I had been in and around animal rescues for many years and thought I knew better.

 I was, in short, an ideal disciple - just pompous enough to think I knew better. Easier yet to engage in the fable of Spindletop. I believed Spindletop was worthy of a donor's contribution to pay for Jenn's training and rehoming. Jenn had overcome adversity and endured - she was cheerful, loving and energetic. She'd never had a real home - not even a permanent sanctuary. She went from from Brooklyn, NY to Sparta, NY to Newark, NJ and across the country to Texas.

I need to report to the donor - I called Spindletop to follow-up and my calls weren't returned. Was it the weather? Was I calling at a busy time? When I finally got through, Leah reassured me that Jenn had been adopted that very day - ye, that very day. A family that met Jenn earlier came back to bring her home. I saw the Waltons in my mind and rejoiced! I believed this improbable scenario because I'd bought into the Spindletop folklore by then.

Until this past July and the horrors unfolded - the tragic end for so many pit bulls, the uncertain future for others. Was Jenn among the 38 dogs who were buried there - would I ever know?

So many rescuers were villified more than the perpetrator by those who seized the opportunity to worsen the plight of pit bulls and accuse rescuers of foolishly seeking miracles.

 If we had sought miracles through snake oil salesmen to cure childhood cancer, we'd all be heroes.

But we were shouting - mostly in unison - on behalf of pitbulls.

I need to know there is justice for Jenn. I did not surrender Jenn to Spindletop. I transferred her with the understanding she would receive services paid for by a donor - and a "discharge" to a new home that apparently didn't happen. Or did it? The NOT KNOWING is the toughest.

Thanks to your reporting and the photos of the dogs who went to the Montogomery Animal Shelter, I may have my answer in dog #196027. Without your fierce dedication to the truth, I'd have no chance of learning where Jenn went.

Her photos weren't matched when I sent them in July - I had a family crisis and couldn't get to Texas myself. I was ready to give up. I have never lost a dog - to lose one to a state thousands of miles away felt irresponsible. Unthinkable. I had taken a chance on her life and given her a life alright - a life in hell. I couldn't stop thinking about her.

But then I opened your colulmns this morning and saw she had made it to the Montgomery Animal Shelter. Her face leapt off the pages into my heart - that's the only thing I can attribute to the moment of recognition - the certainty it is her photo! Am I too late? On this day, I've written and called and texted and sent her photo to anyone who might recognize her. I hope to help her find the real home she deserves if she hasn't been placed with people who love her already. If she's gone from this earth, I need to know that, too. I need to know.

How long do you need to know someone to put them in peril. Inadvertently or not, that's what I did. It's the risk of rescue when there's blind faith in the destination. I didn't know Jenn for more than an hour - just long enough to build the trust to get into a crate and kiss me through the grate. We made a deal that day.

 Thank you for identifying the contacts, the dogs, their whereabouts and the spurious arguments launched by the lawyer for Leah, arguments that have nothing to do with her egregious acts against the dogs entrusted in her care. The dogs who trusted her.

The hell with the rest of us - the dogs trusted Leah and believed in Spindletop, the promisee of belly rubs, good food and fresh water. They suffered. Enough.

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