Acting on a tip, Harris County Deputy Constable Christine Kendrick went to a garage in Crosby in 2008 to check on a chimpanzee housed there.
She heard the chimp screaming and found:
a chimpanzee in a metal enclosure inside a garage. No water was available. The enclosure was extremely dirty with the floor covered with feces, vomit and trash. The chimpanzee is extremely ill, with lesions in the mouth, vomiting continuously is thin and appears to be in respiratory distress.
Untrained in handling primates in such conditions, she called for assistance and prepared a form for a search warrant. She made a mistake on it, though, and threw it away only to realize it was her last one.
So she borrowed one from an HSPCA volunteer accompanying her, filled it out and got it signed by a magistrate.
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It wasn't until much later that authorities discovered the form was a Montgomery County form, not a Harris County form, and this gave chimp abuser Wolfgang Fisher a degree of hope.
After entering a guilty plea, he challenged the validity of the search warrant to the appeals court, since obviously a probable-cause form that was meant for Montgomery County shouldn't count in Harris County.
Kendrick testified that she had not read the form closely, just filled in the blanks as usual, believing it was a Harris County form.
Alas, Wolfgang's bid to escape an animal-cruelty conviction was for naught. The 1st Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Kendrik's mistake had been made in good faith and didn't invalidate the warrant.