By Emerson Drake
On Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013, I appeared before the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in the morning and the Modesto City Council at night and each time I talked about the animal abuse happening in Modesto. I recited District Attorney Birgit Fladager’s office number (525-5550 ) and requested for people to call and ask for her to get up off of her chair and do her job. These weren’t the first times nor will they be the last. I’ll keep appearing until she does something towards defending the pets/animals and families in Stanislaus County.
This originated when several women appeared in front of both of the official bodies, City and County , to plead their case and ask for justice. Phillip Sumner and Jeff Reed have been baiting, capturing and disposing of people’s pet cats for years. Sumner actually claims to have been doing this for more than ten years. These women have filed complaints and have a case number, 12-32208, which has been presented to the District Attorney by the Modesto Police Department whose hands are tied until the D.A. decides to prosecute. There is an existing California state law, 597-S which D.A.’s around the state have been using successfully. Our D.A,. Ms. Birgit Fladager, doesn’t feel it’s adequate and says the District Attorney’s office has more important things to do and just doesn’t have the time.
I first wrote about this story in November after being at the City Council meeting on Oct. 23,2012, when several women came and spoke. I still find it hard to believe Ms. Fladager, who claims to be a cat fancier, is ignoring these families’ pain. Luring, trapping, and disposing of a neighbors family pet is despicable. And when you consider it was done by a neighbor to a four-year-old autistic boy’s pet it becomes even worse.
Obviously some Customer Service Skills are Lacking
When I called and requested the D.A. take action I was met with a hostile attitude by the person that answered the phone. The woman seemed more interested in deterring any request for action by asking many questions designed to dishearten callers. She actually suggested people who weren’t principals in the case had no business in calling. I take exception to that. D.A. Birgit Fladager’s representatives had been very explicit in saying “Go away and don’t bother us any more: and it’s time for them to be informed that wasn’t going to happen.
Finally, on Friday afternoon at 4:45 former Modesto Police Captain and now Chief D.A. Investigator Dan Interbitzen called wanting to talk and left a voicemail. I returned his call about twenty minutes later but his weekend had already started. I left a message and will try again on Monday. I’ll be happy to talk with him. I’ll even give him the number of the case file he already has in a file cabinet. We’ll do anything we can to assist D.A. Birgit Fladager and Chief Investigator Dan Interbitzen in acquiring some motivation to proceed with charges in the case.
It’s nice to see Modesto is progressing with an ordinance of its own while at the same time hoping to get all of the cities in Stanislaus County to do the same through the Joint Powers Authority(animal services). Unfortunately the Safety and Communities Committee won’t be able to hear the ordinance until February as Councilman Lopez isn’t fond of committee meetings lasting more than an hour despite the fact that prior to last week they met only two times in the last six months.
Please feel free to call Ms. Fladager’s office at 209-525-5550 and request she get up off of her chair and help stop animal abuse in Stanislaus County. When they ask you can tell them the case, # 12-32208 and you that have a friend who told you about the four-year-old autistic boy and the rest of the families who have lost beloved pets to these men.
And a big heart-felt thank you to those who have already called from all the families involved and a special thank you from the little boy who continues to leave his bedroom window open so his friend can come back to be with him.