A court in Houston, Texas recently found the Gracias to be guilty of Animal Cruelty. This case became very controversial and much outrage was expressed not only because of the lack of care provided to these birds and animals, but because of those speaking out in their defense and going to great lengths to justify the pictures which you are about to see as acceptable and humane. You can find pictures of some of the seizures on Facebook by going to the Harris County Attorneys Office site:
An attorney, Genny Wall, had posted the following public statement because of the outrage expressed over the internet regarding this case:
I have been reading posts on many lists about the Houston, TX bird seizure case (Gracia').
I am saddened, but more, I am angry, to see that SOME of the members of our society have regressed to the point where SOME of ...you think that "VIGILANTE JUSTICE" is preferable to the DUE PROCESS which is supposed to be GUARANTEED TO ALL OF US under the U.S. CONSTITUTION.
Maybe you haven't regressed. Maybe you were never educated about DUE PROCESS in the first place. Perhaps you fell asleep in civics class and never read that document. Or maybe you just don't care, because you are perfect and YOU KNOW that YOU will never be subjected to an illegal search or seizure, and that YOU will never have your civil rights violated by any quasi or real agents of our government.
Regardless of your excuse, your online comments show that you have no concept of what DUE PROCESS is, or of how it is supposed to protect all of us against the evils of an overbearing government and its agents.
TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ACCEPT VIGILANTE JUSTICE - YOU ARE TODAY'S KU KLUX KLAN.
"We know they're guilty, we've seen the photos posted online - why bother with things like the Constitution, warrants, courts, sworn testimony, trials, or appeals? JUST HANG THEM NOW, AND GET IT OVER WITH ..."
This is my personal comment to each and every one of you who has convicted the Gracias in an "internet trial" simply because you have viewed some photos posted online - SHAME ON YOU.
To those of you who believe in VIGILANTE JUSTICE and "internet trials" - good luck finding an attorney willing to defend you pro bono when it's your turn to be the accused.
Genny Wall, JD
Attorney at Law
Sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution
Yes, vigilante justice is a very real thing. When people witness events or horrors that are outside the scope of what is considered socially acceptable, they want heads to roll. Some examples: the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf, Michael Vick and other dog fighting incidents, repeat drunken driving offenders who end up killing an entire family in a car crash with a blood alcohol level of .21, pedophiles released from prison to destroy another child's life.
If a mother leaves her three year old daughter alone in her house for three days so she could spend some time alone with her boyfriend at his place, the public will become outraged at the selfish behavior of the mother. The daughter is still alive because she was eating some of the dog food left in the bowl to sustain her. The daughter is found roaming in front of the house in a three day old soiled diaper, the dog is alive because he has taken to eating his own feces from the carpet in the living room. But the defense can argue that no harm was done because they are both alive. But is this acceptable? Should the mother be allowed to keep custody of this child or the dog for that matter?
Now look back at the pictures. People defended the condition of these animals as directed by the defense. " No harm done." The diseased bird with the overgrown beak was shrugged off as being acceptable. Those in defense of this cruel and neglectful act threw up their arms and cried "What's wrong with that beak? There's nothing wrong with it. It's NOT animal cruelty." It was ok that this bird existed like this with no way out, no visit to the vet for medical treatment, no hope for anything different because it knew no other existence other than this. This was life and these animals accepted it because they had been bred into it. If you know nothing else, you expect nothing else. So no harm done.
Yes, Genny Wall, there is vigilante justice. There always will be as long as outrageous, inhumane, and socially unacceptable "crimes" continue without courtroom justice. New laws are created to set standards for what is socially acceptable and humane. There is a saying..."A picture is worth a thousand words." For those whose voices went unheard in the Gracias' home, the pictures spoke volumes on their behalf.Irena Schulz
Founder and President
Bird Lovers Only Rescue