A few days ago I heard a rumor that Don Cocek had decided to buck Boks and the ACTF and refused to go forward with misdemeanor 597(b) animal neglect charges. I also heard the Cocek is a good guy who loves animals and this is his foremost concern--we'll see if this is true or not.
In the meantime, although no charges have been filed, Boks and the cops can say the case is still under investigation and they can deny Mason--and us--with knowledge of where Mason's cats are and if any, including Muffin, Johnny or Burt, are still alive.
However, today Mason received an unsigned letter from the City Attorney's Office stating there was a complaint that Mason had too many cats (LA Municipal Code 53.50) as of October 11, and unhealthful conditions and that he was to appear at the City Attorney's Office on January 16 in Van Nuys. The letter said to bring all vet records and other records to the hearing.
Of course Mason doesn't have any records, Boks and the ACTF has them all and they aren't letting Mason or anyone else see them.
Violation of 53.50 is a permit violation, not a misdemeanor or felony. The remedy would be for Mason to apply for a permit, and NOT TO SIGN ALL OF HIS CATS OVER TO LAAS AS BOKS WANTS.
Boks doesn't want to be accountable for the total of 57 cats seized and probably most or all destroyed. He doesn't want it to become public that Animal Services and the ACTF broke almost every rule of arrest procedure in this case, such as not Mirandizing Mason, providing a list and description of his seized animals or their whereabouts, and then denying him a Postseizure Hearing about the cats, the rightfulness of their seizure and how he could get them back, BECAUSE they did not leave a Declaration form that he could request a Postseizure Hearing or tell him this to his face.
I have read section 53 of the municipal code over and over and backwards, as have my legal research associates. So far as we can tell, 53.50 IS NOT ENFORCEABLE! There are no fines attached to a violation of this permit requirement under this code.
AND, ANIMAL SERVICES CANNOT SEIZE ANY ANIMAL, NOT IN IMMANENT DANGER, FOR A SIMPLE CODE VIOLATION. They can issue an Order to Comply, but they do not have the authority to seize animals.
Keeping four or more cats is a permit violation only. The remedy is to apply for a permit to the General Manager. If Ed refuses to issue the permit, he can send ACO to Ron's property and if they find more than three cats they can issue and order to comply. There is then no way to enforce that order concerning number.
So, Boks has the City spend tens of thousands of dollars for a raid with 30-40 people, cops, ACTF, Animal Services, vets, social worker, County health, etc., then maybe hundreds of hours in a protracted investigation apparently still going on, many hours by the DA and the City Attorney for a code violation??
This Mason case will be a test case for everyone in the rescue community that has more than three cats or dogs. It is a big deal.