Veterinarian Loses Lawsuit Against PETA, Activist

In January veterinarian Howard Baker lost his civil lawsuit against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and undercover operative Michelle Rokke stemming from animal cruelty charges that PETA originally aired against Baker.

Baker was convicted of 14 counts of animal cruelty in July 1999. That verdict was later thrown out, however, after an appeals court judge found that Rokke was not a credible witness and that the judge who convicted Baker inappropriately took her testimony at face value.

After his conviction was thrown out, Baker turned around and filed a lawsuit against Rokke and PETA seeking $900,000 in compensatory damages for lost business at his veterinary practice, and $370,000 in legal fees and punitive damages.

But after a six-day trial in federal court in New Jersey, a jury spent less than two hours to reject the lawsuit.

PETA lawyer Jeff Kerr told the Home News Tribune,

It was an utterly baseless charge. The jury was out for all of an hour and a half. This is a victory for the animals.

Baker’s wife Jackie, meanwhile, complained that the judge in the case refused to allow much of the couple’s evidence against PETA and Rokke.

PETA, in turn, has a lawsuit seeking damages against Baker pending in Virginian. That lawsuit claims that Baker attempted to injure the animal rights group.

Sources:

No win in civil lawsuit for vet. Sharon Waters, Home News Tribune, January 31, 2004.

Jury Rules For Peta Investigator In Case Of New Jersey VeterinarianÂ’S Behind-The-Scenes Beatings. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 30, 2004.

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One thought on “Veterinarian Loses Lawsuit Against PETA, Activist”

  1. To whom it may concern:

    On September 14, 2008 the Moreno Valley police was dispatched to my home by ADT my home security system. ADT did make an attempt to notify me via cell phone that my alarm was activated, but I did not have my phone with me. ADT did not attempt to call my wife, who was with me at the time. My wife is the second contact person on my contract.

    Once the officer arrived at my home he walked around the house to the rear gate. The officer could hear my two dogs barking and could possibly see them, before he removed the 3 inch large loop lock from the gate. The officer then entered the back yard and shot one of my dogs twice. The officer walked back to the front yard and was approached by my neighbors. The officer told my neighbor that “my vicious dog attacked him”. My neighbor stated that the dog is not vicious and was behind a locked gate. The officer stated that he was unaware of the dogs in the back yard. At that time my neighbor informed the officer that I have surveillance cameras on my property. The officer seemed paranoid by that information and asked for my neighbors name. The officer proceeded to call Animal Control and for back up. While waiting for the others to arrive the officer went to my next door neighbor and questioned if he was aware that a vicious dog lived next door. Reluctant to answer, questioned the officer as to why is he asking. The officer stated that he was attacked by the dog and he had to shoot him. My neighbor stated that my dog barks when he’s in his back yard. The dog is kept behind a securely locked gate, so the neighbor never felt threatened. The officer took the name of my next door neighbor and his wife, along with their house, work and cell phone numbers. The officer also made a note of their place of their employment.

    Animal control and my dog walked from the rear of my house, even though he had been shot in the chest and in the face. The officer did not leave a card or any notification as to how to reach him. He did not wait for me to arrive or return to my home later to try to explain what happened. My surveillance camera was able to see the officer going to the rear of the house, and the dogs can be heard barking. Their is no mistake about if their were dogs in the back yard. Just as my dog barks at my next door neighbor, he surely barked at the officer.

    The officer viciously and maliciously entered the rear of my home with intent to kill my dog. If that were not his intent, he could have waited for Animal control to arrive and contain my dog. If someone had been in my home they definitely weren’t going to leave out the back door. Although the officer responded to an alarm call just as he should have, he could have handled the situation differently. Just as the officer was doing his job, my dog was doing his. The difference is the officer entered into my dog’s space, that was confined to a very secure area. The fact that he left the scene without any contact information is a sign of irresponsible, disrespectful and lacks compassion. Not only lack of compassion for my dog, but for my family, especially my children. He didn’t care if my children came home to a bloody back yard and the trauma that may have caused them.

    My dog was not killed fortunately, but a surgery to save his life is $4,000.00. The officer shot my dog in the chest and when he tried to shoot him in the head, the bullet shattered his lower jaw. I can’t afford a bill like that, especially for a senseless and inhuman act.

    If my dog had been out of the gate and terrorizing the neighborhood I could understand. But for my dog to be at home in a secure, loving home makes this a calculated crime. I have a tape that will prove that the officer knew their were dogs in the back yard. I also have the 3 inch loop lock that was securing my gate closed.

    My dog has been well cared for and loved by my family, and now the officer has recklessly and without remorse removed a member of our family. I am helpless to my dog because I can’t afford his surgery. I am helpless in this situation because this officer will go on about his daily duties, while my family is left devastated. Now my dog lies helpless at the shelter because she was trying to protect her domain from an intruder. An intruder that entered her space after giving him a barking warning of his presence.

    Thank you for taking the time to hear what happened when a trigger happy officer was turned loose in a residential neighborhood with a gun.

    TERRY L. WRIGHT

    26011 GALT WAY

    MORENO VALLEY CA 92555

    951-544-0929

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