Saturday, March 6, 2010

The claim on court papers she is a 501c3




GARO ALEXANIAN, in his individual capacity and in his official

Capacity as Executive Director of the Companion Animal Network, an unincorporated association,















- against -

JOEY DUREL, individually and in his official capacity as President of Lafayette Parish,





Petitioners, in their pro se capacity, respectfully allege as follows:

At all times mentioned herein, Petitioners FREE, ROUSSEL, McGEE, ENGEL, J ROBICHAUX, BROUSSARD, RIESS, HALLIGAN, CLAVERIE, PENROD, AYERS, BORGES, S ROBICHAUX, were and are still citizens and residents of the state of Louisiana.

2) Petitioner GARO ALEXANIAN (‘ALEXANIAN’) is a citizen of the State of New York and is the founder and Executive Director of COMPANION ANIMAL NETWORK (‘CAN’), a not-for-profit association, incorporation pending, having its principal place of business at Queens, New York.

3) Petitioner DAWN BECHTOLD TAYLOR (‘TAYLOR’) was and still is a citizen and resident of the State of Georgia, and the founder and President of UNITED STATES ANIMAL PROTECTION, a federally recognized tax-exempt charity incorporated under IRS Rule 501 ( c ) 3, having its principal offices in Atlanta, Georgia.

MADE DEFENDANTS HEREIN, JOEY DUREL, individually and in his official capacity as President of Lafayette Parish,


4) Upon information and belief Respondent JOEY DUREL (‘DUREL’) was and still is President of Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana. At all times mentioned herein DUREL is responsible for the decisions made by Lafayette City-Parish.

5)Upon information and belief Respondent Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government (‘LCG’) is a local governmental subdivision of the State of Louisiana which operates under a home rule charter and, subject to said charter, operates under the authority of Article VI, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974.

6) Upon information and belief Respondent City of Lafayette (‘LAFAYETTE’) is a City located in the State of Louisiana with its boundaries as specified in the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government’s Charter § 2-1.


7) On December 17, 2006 Petitioners made a Public Records request under Louisiana R.S. 44.1 et seq. to DUREL, LCG, and LAFAYETTE seeking copies of such documents as stated in their letter dated on such date, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit A.

8) On December 18, 2006 Respondents DUREL, LCG, and LAFAYETTE replied, through their City-Parish Attorney Patrick S. Ottinger, that it would "take some time to locate, identify, and assemble the requested information," a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit B.

9) Four months later on April 11, 2007 Respondents DUREL, LCG, and LAFAYETTE responded, through their City-Parish Attorney Patrick S. Ottinger, that they were invoking La. R.S. 44:32A and requiring and limiting Petitioners to the "examination of records in other than regular office or working hours," a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit C. Respondents alleged that they did not know which documents Petitioners sought to inspect nor copy, despite the fact that Petitioners had clearly identified the sought documents using the terminology and indexing method provided by Respondents, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit D.

10) Petitioners responded to Respondents’ denial of their Records Access request with a letter dated April 11, 2007 asking for a page count of 27 of 28 items sought by whatever indexing manner available so the appropriate sums of monies could be paid for the copying, and agreed to eliminate the one possibly "voluminous" item sought, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit E.

11) By latter dated April 16, 2006 Respondents DUREL, LCG, and LAFAYETTE replied, through their City-Parish Attorney Patrick S. Ottinger, that their position was that they are not

"required to conduct research. . . . to determine how many pages such listing of records entail. . . . . . To collate and assemble for your review the documents responsive to your request will take a significant amount of time (perhaps hundreds of hours), and then a like amount of time to re-file the documents,"

a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit F.

Respondents clearly stated that they refuse to

"review [the documents]in order to identify relevant documents,"

thus refusing to make any good faith effort whatsoever to fulfill Petitioners’ request, and instead demanding Petitioners to personally travel to Lafayette and to pay for the salaries of Respondents’ employees under the guise of

"interfering with the orderly conduct of business."

12) By letter dated April 17, 2007 Petitioners replied to Respondents’ denial reiterating that Respondents’ blanket refusal to make any effort or attempt to locate and segregate any of the 28 items sought, and instead demand that Petitioners travel to Lafayette in order to personally examine

"200 boxes. . . . as many as 20,000 pieces of paper,"

all at an hourly expense to Petitioners to pay for Respondents’ employees’ salaries after normal business hours in addition to the copying charges, was an arbitrary and capricious determination since the law of averages would mandate that some of the 28 items sought would be able to be located and segregated and page counted, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit G.

13) On May 1, 2007, after not receiving a reply to our April 17th letter, Petitioners made an Appeal to City-Parish President DUREL to exhaust all administrative remedies which may be available, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit H.

14) On May 3, 2007 Respondents replied that at this time, five months and numerous communications after the commencement of the records request, Defendents’ new interpretation of Petitioners’ Records Request was to be one requesting them to make up a "list," and that they have no obligation to make up a "list," if it "does not (already) exist," a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit I. Respondents are clearly stating that they consider any letter from Respondents to Petitioners which would state the numbers of pages contained in each of the 28 sought items as a "list which does not exist," and are cloaking themselves under the well-settled issue that Respondents are not obligated to make up a "list." Petitioners cannot overemphasize the egregiousness of such an attempt by Respondents to completely subvert the Records Access Law. Indeed, if such were the case, every Records Request response giving details of the sought documents in terms of pages, numbers of tapes, or any letter which mentioned any quantification information of the documents would be considered a "list," which has never been the ruling of any court.

15) Respondents, in their Appeal denial letter of May 3, 2007, (Exhibit I) claimed at this time for the first time, after five months and numerous communications after the commencement of the records request, and five months after having promised to "locate, identify, and assemble the requested information" in their initial response of December 18, 2006 (Exhibit B), that they were now determining the Petitioners’ records request to be "unreasonably burdensome or expensive," under R.S. 44:32A(2), without providing any reasons or justification since no effort had yet been made to "locate" or "identify" nor "assemble" any of the sought documents.

16)Moreover, Respondents also claimed, again for the first time, that they interpret the Louisiana Public Records Law to only provide for a "mail option" of only the initial request, not for the mailing back of the copies requested to the requestor and that the copies requested must be picked up in person by the requestor (Exhibit I, page 3).

17) On May 7, 2007 Petitioners wrote their final reply to Respondents, alleging that Respondents’ numerous changing of positions, premature, arbitrary and capricious interpretations and invocations of law, refusals to locate, or segregate or identify whatsoever any documents, refusal to make or mail copies of the sought documents, were all arbitrary and capricious determinations done to either totally or partially prevent or make as difficult and expensive as possible for Petitioners to obtain the documents sought, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit J. Respondents have refused to reply whatsoever.

18) Respondents’ determination of the records request being too "burdensome or expensive" without stating which sought documents are causing the "burden" or "expense," and especially five months after promising to "locate, identify, and assemble" the documents is arbitrary and capricious.

19) Respondents should be precluded from invoking a determination of "burdensome and expensive" due to the enormous amount of time and communication which had transpired from the initial request until such claim was made..

20) Moreover, Respondents should be precluded from invoking a determination of "burdensome and expensive" due to their having promised and pretended to "locate, identify, and assemble" the sought documents for five months.

21) Respondents should also be precluded from invoking a determination of claim of "burdensome and expensive" because in their letter of April 16th, they stated that "LCG, in certain (but not all) instances, it might be necessary to review documents in other than regular or normal business hours." Yet, LCG refuses to still state, in their May 3rd letter of denial of the Appeal, five months after the request, in WHICH instances (items sought) this "might" be necessary, thus delaying our request for months, and now contradicting their own words of a few weeks ago when they claimed that they did not assert that all documents must be reviewed after hours. Yet now, weeks after their letter of April 16th, they are specifically refusing to give us information on which items after-hours viewing would be necessary, which puts Petitioners in a position of having to personally review all of Respondents’ documents, in the hundreds of thousands, and subrogate Petitioners’ rights to obtain copies by mail.

22) The determinations of Respondents to:

1) refuse to provide any information as to the number of documents Petitioners’ request entailed to allow Petitioners to pay for and order copies,

2) refuse to make any effort whatsoever to "locate, identify, assemble" or segregate any of the requested documents despite having promised in writing (Exhibit B) to be actively doing so for five months,

3) refuse to make photocopies of the requested documents and instead require Petitioners to physically travel half way across the country to personally "locate, identify, assemble" and segregate the sought documents from "as many as 20,000 pages" and "200 boxes" totaling in the hundreds of thousands of pages, thus assuring that Respondents are able to hide the sought documents as "needles in a haystack," if at all made available inside the haystack,

4) invoke R.S. 44:33 A(2) under a claim that every single one of the 28 items sought in Petitioners’ request is too "burdensome" and "expensive" to "locate, identify, assemble" or segregate after having promised in writing to be actively doing so for five months,

5) invoke R.S. 44:32 (A) under a claim that every single one of the 28 items sought in Petitioners’ request would "interfere with the orderly conduct of business" to "locate, identify, assemble" or segregate after having promised in writing to be actively doing so for five months

6) refuse to mail copies of the sought documents to Petitioners

were contrary to and were errors of law, arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion in that R.S. 44:1 et seq. provides for the full disclosure of all public records unless the records are specifically exempt from disclosure under state or federal statute. The public records and documents sought by Petitioners are not so specifically exempted.

23) Respondents’ defenses for refusing to supply the sought documents go to the very core of the Public Records Law, which is well-settled that any controversy and interpretation of the law must be interpreted on the side of maximum disclosure.

24) Respondents have decided to define the terms " mail-in" "burdensome" "expensive," "interfere with the ordinary conduct of business," which have not been defined in the law, in the most constricting way imaginable, contravening numerous well-settled court rulings.

25) Petitioners’ request is sufficiently specific in time and the nature of documents sought, and have been requested and identified by Petitioners using the indexing method provided by Respondents, a copy of which is annexed as Exhibit D. Therefore, Respondents’ claim of the sought documents allegedly being excessively "burdensome" to locate is self-evident to be a fabrication for the purpose of obfuscating and impeding Petitioners’ request.

26) These decisions of Respondents have denied Petitioners their rights to obtain copies of the sought documents in the manner proscribed by law. Petitioners’ willingness to arrive at reasonable accommodations has been restated numerous times yet Respondents’ have not been amenable to any accommodation whatsoever. Respondents’ actions are a classic case of abuse of discretion and an arbitrary and capricious effort at impeding Petitioners’ request by making it excessively costly and time consuming.

WHEREFORE, Petitioners seek a Writ of Mandamus annulling the determinations of Respondents denying Petitioners copies of the public records and documents enumerated in Petitioners’ request, and compelling Respondents to supply Petitioners with copies of those public records and documents upon payment by Petitioner of the proper fee to be charged per page.

WHEREFORE, Petitioners demand actual damages, the costs of the suit incurred herein, civil penalties of $100 per day calculated from three days after receipt of the original records request date of December 16, 2006, attorneys’ fees as may be allowed by law, and such other relief as the Court may deem appropriate.



2 Bay Club Dr., #18G

Bayside, NY 11360


State of Louisiana }

} ss.:

County of Queens }

I, GARO ALEXANIAN, being duly sworn, depose and say:

That I am a petitioner in the above entitled action; that I have read the foregoing Petition abd know the content thereof; and as to those matters which concern me, that the same is true to my knowledge except as to matters therein stated to be alleged upon information and belief, and that as to those matters I believe them to be true.


Sworn to before me on September, 2007




Please serve Summons and Petition upon:

JOEY DUREL, individually and in his official capacity as President of Lafayette Parish,at 705 West University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70502

LAFAYETTE CITY-PARISH CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT at 705 West University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70502

CITY OF LAFAYETTE at 705 West University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70502


  1. this is a post she made, seems after years of people, myself included have told her she was not a 501c3 Fed exempt non proffit she now admits this, she has known this and also known what a 501c3 was for years. It seems that her
    V.P. has finily taken notice that she is not a 501c3 explained what it means to be 501c3 the V>P> is not the first one to explain this to her.

    so here is her post where she tries to explain herself.

    USAP is a non profit incorporated organization that works on a national level.

    We have estimated we have brought in over the last ten years about 5400.00 dollars

    My boarding bills at AA kennels were 27,000 just in one year. We boarded animals there for years as well as Trickum, TCV, and many other vets throughout the country including Christen Green's facility were we spent an estimated 30,000 over the course of time. I also paid for all vacccinations there for all animals at a time.
    My vet bills have been in the tens of thousands over the years.
    My donations to other dog/cat/horse/primate rescues and sanctuaries are countless / from my own pocket
    Boarding bills in the tens of thousands over the course of many years.

    The minimal donations do not even cover the food I have bought through the years for animals.

    My organization is incorporated. My VP explained this evening the 501c3 status is on a federal level. We will file this this year but, it is money we need right now for other expenses. I thought when you filed through the state it covered the 501c3 but I was mistaken. Hillarie will help me get our 501c3 in line this year. Although when you never have taken in donations it would not seem to matter anyway. We will get this filed because we certainly are going to need them now.

    We work nationally we have no donations in our coffer but work hard regardless.

    Donations have never been asked for until the last few months. We always paid everything on our own. The donations requested were for our office we run from a residence. We have always run USAP from this location. This location has housed scores of animals and is always open to all animals and rescuers. This location can be used by all rescuers as a stay over for any animal coming out of any shelter. We are alaways here for the rescuers and the animals. We will house and feed any rescuer in transit and any animals needing a safe place.

    God bless all of you that rescue. Do not let mean people that infiltrate themselves into rescue ever stop you from your life's work.

    Dawn Taylor Bechtold
    U.S. Animal PRotection

  2. Thought you might like to see this one she is stateing that she is a 501c3.

    --- On Thu, 7/9/09, wrote:

    Subject: [AnimalShelterReform] In Regards to Slanderous Emails Distributed Regarding USAP
    Date: Thursday, July 9, 2009, 6:57 PM

    To the group regarding "warning rescuers beware" email. Just to set the records straight.

    I was asked to be part of the LSART team by Bob Odam himself, he called my office to invite me on the team. He was the head of the Louisiana Dept of Agriculture at the time. The Chief of Dept of Homeland Security also ask me to assist in the event of another disaster on the gulf coast and of course I am a rescuer. I have never presented myself as law enforcement and never would.
    I also am a 501c3. This can easily be found with the GA. Secretary of state, online.

    Dawn Taylor Bechtold
    President and Founder
    770-296-0022 - 770-726-9622
    United States Animal Protection

  3. 1. USAP is not licensed with the GA Dept of Ag and never would be licensed with a government office that allows cruelty to continue in GA shelters.

    2. USAP licensed under the GA Secretary of State.

    3. Mutt Shack and USAP do not work together but did after the storms. USAP took an estimated 210 animals from MSRF and turned Remodel America into a triage unit. USAP founder worked to rescue animals from the storm and made sure necessary supplies like gas and water made it to the rescue unit.
    MSRF sent animals out of Louisiana without health certificates. MSRF was sighted for bringing animals into GA without health certificates by the GA DOA after they promised USAP they were traveling with health certificates and a veterinarian. This was false.
    Animals were put at risk by MSRF after a cease and desist from moving animals was given by the GA DOA. Sick animals were brought into GA by MSRF to USAP.

    4. USAP housed the hurricane animals for weeks after a cease and desist was ordered by the GA DOA after MSRF brought in sick animals with no health certificates and lost an estimated 100,000 dollars in production from the construction company Remodel America.
    MSRF did not release records of animals or where they were sent and did not give rescuers any information that rescued animals were sent to a safe place. MSRF is only allowed to transport from one rescue to the next. MSRF is not allowed to do rescue again in Louisiana.

    5. USAP has never asked for donations until this year and founder spent own money to rescue animals during Katrina/Rita and after they came into GA. USAP was asked by DHS disaster recovery and the LA State Dept of Ag to come back and rescue animals in the event of another disaster.

    6. USAP never needed a 501c3 status because it has always been privately funded. USAP now needs donations and is working on this status. USAP is a non profit organization in GA.
    USAP founder has spent thousands upon thousands on USAP rescues and sponsored many other rescue groups through the years. Animals that have been sponsored include dogs, cats, horses, primates and many other species.

    7. USAP Founder ran a very successful GA and TN based company Remodel America. Problems never occurred at this company until the owners left GA Founder came in from Katrina to help a rescue group that was being shut down by the GA DOA.(This rescue was cleared by three veterinarians paid for by USAP but the GA DOA shut them down anyway.)
    USAP founder was harassed by the person the GA DOA was signing animals over to that had been arrested for animal cruelty GA Dept of Ag. knowing of the animal cruelty charges turned animals from this rescue group over to this person. This person prompted two others to harass founder of USAP until both owners left GA. The company went down a company that support thousands of animal rescues.
    Animals have been missing for years.(These were happy animals that should not have been moved)

    8. Leo Lowery and Nancy Green are focused on destroying a great organization and all the rescuers and animal activist involved without any thought to the lives of animals that will be lost. Lowery tried to extort money from USAP founder and has harassed the founder and organizations members for four years since she was turned down on her request for money. Lowery prompted Green to continue harassment after founder would not attack another rescuer. An investigation is pending regarding ongoing harassment of USAP and its directors.

    9. USAP is an animal protection organization that has worked for many years to rescue and protect animals from harm with a goal to end all inhumane killings and work to save the lives of animal left in cruelty situations and animal shelters.

    10. USAP has many dedicated rescuers and members that continue to work daily to save and protect animals.
    USAP is a wonderful organization and group of people that are truly dedicated to the continued growth of USAP and will continue to save and protect lives for years to come.