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. One of Anderson's most troubling claims is that Spindletop "was inspected over twenty (20) times by Montgomery County" in "slightly over five years." Anderson does not provide the name of the agency or agencies who allegedly conducted these interviews, nor does she provide any dates other than claiming "the last inspection was on June 28, 2012." She writes: "not one citation was ever received, nor was any warning ever given regarding the operation."
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The trouble with this claim is that, right now, we have no way of verifying it. Tim Holifield, the former Montgomery County constable who oversaw the investigation, never provided any inspection records to the Press; he never responded to our calls and e-mails. We have submitted a public records request for inspection records and hope that Montgomery County will be forthcoming.
During our reporting for our Spindletop feature story, we alerted Anderson to worriesome findings, which she automatically dismissed as unsubstantiated, when in fact they were supported by official records and Purcell's own writing. It's a wonder, then, how Anderson now believes she's able to speak as a Spindletop authority.
We'll be posting updates on the Spindletop situation, and we hope that, at some point, Anderson and Purcell will honestly explain just what the hell happened. Besides knowing the fate of certain dogs, that's all that most people want.