In the AR-HR.com article published on June 11, 2009, “Why is Indiana Attorney General Zoeller Ignoring Citizen Inquiries into Handling of Tax Evasion Case“, a number of questions were posed regarding the conduct of the AG’s office were raised:

  • Why has property seized by the state of Indiana been handed over to an organization predominantly involved in political lobbying such as the HSUS ?
  • Does the state of Indiana or the Indiana Attorney General’s office have a formal arrangement with the HSUS allowing its people to act as law enforcement officers in the State of Indiana?  If so, why is an organization predominantly involved in political lobbying being permitted to act in law enforcement capacity?  If not, why was the HSUS involved in this proceeding with the tacit approval of Indiana Attorney General Zoeller, who has not disavowed the HSUS involvement? 
  • Why has property seized by the state of Indiana been been given away, preventing the state selling the seized property to offset the outstanding tax debt and prior to the laying of criminal charges or any legal conviction?
  • Why was member of the Indiana House of Representatives Linda Lawson permitted to participate in the seizure of property on behalf of the HSUS in a law enforcement operation? Rep. Lawson can be seen in the images below in HSUS t-shirt participating in the raid.

Upon obtaining a copy of the search warrant indicating the terms of the property seizure, the questions of the terms of the sale or gifting of the dogs seized by the Indiana AG’s office to any organization becomes especially troubling.  According to the terms of the search warrant, issued to the “Officers of the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Attorney General and his Agents, and any Law Enforcement Officer of the State of Indiana”, the items that authorities were allowed to seize related to the jeopardy tax assessment included:

h)  Any and all cash, canines, or other inventory or business proceeds found.

The troubling part is the section directly after this portion of the warrant, which reads as follows word for word:  YOU ARE FURTHER ORDERED to seize such property, or any part thereof, found during such search and hold said property pending further order of this Court. 

The warrant gave the authorities the authority to SEIZE the dogs but not to DISPERSE the dogs.  The court order set down immediately after the raid barred the Garwoods’ from giving permission to disperse the dogs.

So if the authorities had no legal authority to disperse the dogs and the Garwoods’ were legally barred from consenting to the dispersal of the dogs, why was Indiana Attorney issuing press releases (see here and here) related to the dispersal of the dogs to rescues around the state of Indiana (and beyond Indiana borders) for adoption?

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved

15 Responses to “Did The Indiana AG Office Violate Garwood Search Warrant Terms?”

  1. YesBiscuit! says:

    I guess they figured no one would complain. Oops.

  2. John Galt says:

    Why? Because Rep Lawson and HSUS assume that they have tactic approval to violate any and all laws that protect property and due process when the issue is dogs. Dispersing of dogs is a way of “getting rid of any evidence” that their allegations are false, and that their seizure was conducted improperly.

  3. Ann says:

    I am so glad someone is watching and asking these questions. The sooner the public realizes that the HSUS is a fund raising entity that does little to help animals and has the end goal of ending pet ownership the better. Why is the AG of a state like Indiana allowing HSUS to take this action?

  4. LSC says:

    Because they believe they are above the law. I would like to think the judge that signed the search warrant is aware of the dispersal of the property which goes directly against their orders.

  5. kt says:

    I am just wonering if the attorney general were called to investigate HSUS on say, tax evasion on a tax exempt lobbying agency, would he?
    When the Attorney General aligns himself with and animal rights activist organization, what says the other 90 percent of the population of the USA who are not animal rightist but animal welfarest? Animal rights – people believe that animals have the same rights as humans, event to sue in court, there is no difference in animals and people regarding differences in rights and are against animal ownership no matter the animal, it is all animals, especially those used for food.

    Animal welfarest beleive that animals should be treated humanely and believe that animals do not have the same rights as humans.

    I am concerned if this attorney general knows the difference between animal rights or animal welfare. He may as well help PETA as HSUS because both have the same agenda – no more animals used for entertainment, food, clothing, or pleasure – that means little Rover -too – no more dogs – Period!

  6. Sarah Deen says:

    Maybe everyone should receive a copy of what the law states under jeopardy tax assessment before you stand up for people who abuse animals and try to evade the State of Indiana tax requirements.

  7. Dixie Bitch says:

    Sarah, maybe you better research the law on warrants and due process before you defend the law breakers yourself. And maybe you should take off your animal rights rose colored glasses before you look at animals that were not abused. No way that “abused and neglected, inbred animals with medical problems” could have been adopted out in less than two weeks unless you have a miracle worker that can fix genetic faults overnight. The warrant was specific in what it said, the judge was specific. The dogs where sold for good money to get rid of evidence that should have been used at the trial unless there was NO EVIDENCE OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT. But, how will we ever know since that EVIDENCE HAS NOW BEEN DESTROYED. And by the way since when has the H$U$ EVER helped on a tax evasion case? Only when they want to pass a law to get rid of hobby breeders.

  8. Nancy says:

    Maybe everyone should read a copy of the US Constitution before violating peoples’ rights…such as the right to be innocent until PROVEN guilty in a court of law. We have only the word of HSUS and the Indiana AG, both whose conduct in this are in question by many following the story, that there was abuse of any animals. Of course the state has the right to impound property in a case of alleged tax evasion, but I didn’t see anywhere that anyone has the right to dispose of evidence before anything is proven. If the warrant states that the property is to be seized and not even the property owner has the right to grant permission to sell it, why are the AG, HSUS, and shelters doing that very thing? If the intent in seizing property for tax evasion is to sell it towards the goal of collecting those taxes, will all those shelters being turning over any income from those animals to that purpose IF or WHEN they are proven guilty? If they are proven not guilty or aquitted due to wrongful tactics, will the income from those animals be returned to the owners? The handling of this entire situation has been highly questionable from the beginning.

  9. I do not support animal abuse OR tax evasion.
    However, I do support due process for all. No one should be above the law or the orders of the courts, not even legal professionals

  10. Sarah Deen says:

    you still have not read the full jeopardy assessment. please it and you will see why the sale was permitted.

  11. Tracy says:

    Have the accused been heard from? I’d imagine that they were talked into an owner surrender, under color of law. “You’re going to jail, so sign here so that we can take care of your animals”.

    People need to be aware of their rights, and not sign over their property. It’s the only plausbile explanation for the seizure and immediate adoption of the animals.

    By no means am I suggesting this is *right*, just that it may be what happened. Would love to know!

  12. rmemazz says:

    In the instance of ‘jeopardy tax assessment’, where the taxes due are considered to be in jeopardy, the DA may confiscate the subject’s assets to be sold to PAY THE TAXES DUE~!

    In the case above it is dubious what happened to the money from the sales of those animals.

    Often the police ‘strong-arm’ the subjects with ‘threats’ so that the subject will sign over/reliquish the animals to be taken by the AC to be disbursed how ever……If the people would tell the ‘raid’ officers that they want to call their lawyer at the instant of contact, they would be better off having their lawyer at their side during the service of the warrent & confiscation. Perhaps the raid could have been negotiated.

    Everyone needs to keep their lawyer on speed dial~!

  13. Laura says:

    When the news broke on this Indiana raid, I phoned various offices in Indiana and no one could answer as to WHY those dogs were going to shelters and then to adoption. This is a case of authorities taking property and dispersing property…while the property was supposedly taken because of back taxes owed to the state. If that were the case, WHY would those dogs be given away instead of being sold? Would that not prevent the animals owners from being able to use the sale of those dogs to cover their tax bill? I asked in my questions…what if this was an auto sales business…would they have given away the confiscated autos? Or sold them to pay the tax bill? I think the answer is obvious. The question remains…WHY are animals taken and then given away when those animals are just as much property as an auto in an auto dealership! Wouldn’t this be called illegal behavior on the part of authorities?


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