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Yet another wrinkle in society suit onslaught

By rgordon
Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 5:21 pm in Uncategorized.

Much has been said in the Insider about the civil suits filed by now three private citizens against Debi DeNardi, the captain of field services for the Peninsula Humane Society, the society itself and San Mateo County. Under a contract since 1971, the society provides animal control and shelter services for the county. See our previous post here for the claims levied by Janet Wherry and Tammy Doukas, and here for when pet store owner Mohammad “Moe” Olfat joined in the fray.

It’s worth noting that, earlier this week, Mark Webb, the San Francisco attorney representing the three, expanded their array of claims (from intentional infliction of emotional distress to abuse of process) to include a charge of “violation of statute” that the contracting relationship the county has with the society to prevent animal cruelty is illegal in the first place.

The amended claims point to an obscure California law that limits humane societies from taking more than $500 a month from counties or cities for enforcing laws that prevent animal cruelty. The county, however, is expected to pay the society more than $4.8 million this year for their services. The civil suits now adds this charge for the improper use of the plaintiffs’ tax dollars to subsidize millions in payments to the society allegedly not allowed by law.

The county, of course, questions whether the law applies to their relationship, as animal cruelty enforcement is, according to the county’s Chief Deputy County Counsel Michael Murphy, only a small part of what DeNardi and her staff do. Indeed, the county denotes in its budget and other official documentation that its agreement is for “animal control and shelter services.” However, the society’s Web site defines its animal control arm as existing to “investigate reports of cruelty and neglect, provide animal rescue, pick-up stray, injured and deceased animals and enforce laws that protect animals and people.”

Last summer, the society stopped paying the salary of DeNardi and the society’s other investigators with money from the county. As a nonprofit, the rest of the society’s activities are funded through private donations and fees and focus on education and adoption.

The suits are scheduled for case management conferences at the end of June.

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6 Responses to “Yet another wrinkle in society suit onslaught”

  1. lisa resovich Says:

    So with all this civil garbage going on…. What happened to the prosecution of this woman for animal cruelty???? Or do the animals once again get lost in the fight over money… She baught her way out last time….. obviously didn’t learn her lesson….

    Janet Wherry is a menace, and has a litigation history longer than I am tall….. When is enough, enough

  2. amy s. Says:

    Oh brother, Lisa, you don’t know Janet at all.
    ((In fact, I’d GUESS that “lisa” is really Debi Denardi (nee Aragon) posting under an alias. Because her “style” of post is much like her internal office memo’s. So, we know it’s you Debi, darling.))
    Janet Wherry is not a menace, and she doesn’t have a “litigation history longer than you are tall” (Unless you are a mighty small elfish being).
    When is enough enough? I was going to ask YOU that.
    Look, Janet is just a person. She has good intentions and a good heart. She’s been cursed with a piece of property that seems to be a magnet for crazy, lazy people (boarders) and people who just take advantage of her. Then there are those who just want to spill vile and hate and rage upon her for no apparent reason, although there COULD BE a hidden agenda, now couldn’t there.
    Janet is not deserving of this…..and you know it.
    In fact, Debi, er Lisa, maybe you should get your own ducks in a row.
    (FYI: Debi does not have a stellar performance record when it comes to dealing fairly with her own family, her son, or even her co-workers. When it comes to lawsuits, there are some dooozies on the books! Wow. Real crazy stuff!)
    Stop the vile, honey. I’ll pray for you.

  3. The Insider Says:

    Lisa asks a worthy question about the status of Janet Wherry’s case.

    A pre-trial conference is set for Wherry on Aug. 6. However, on July 23, her defense is set to file a motion to dismiss “for denial of a speedy trial,” according to Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, as Wherry’s case has dragged on for quite some time.

    Wherry was initially charged in the animal cruelty case almost a year ago. However, according to Wagstaffe, much of the delay has been due to Wherry’s own firing of a string of both public and private defenders. Her latest attorney is Mark Webb, who is also representing Wherry and two other plaintiffs in civil suits against the Peninsula Humane Society and San Mateo County.

    Wherry was recently offered a deal to plead gulity to the charges, but rejected it, Wagstaffe said.

    He said the postponement gives Webb adequate time to prepare. Webb’s client faces one misdemeanor count of animal abuse and up to a year in jail.

  4. Lisa Resovich Says:

    Finally convicted!! one for the animals at last.

  5. The Insider Says:

    To follow up on Lisa’s comment, Janet Wherry pleaded no contest Wednesday to two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse. You can read the full story here.

  6. John Says:

    Well, Janet owes me money from some work I did for her on her commercial building in San Mateo (which she probably doesn’t have anymore). So, I took a number to stand in line to take her to court to get the money. That was in 2005.

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