In light of recent documentation obtained regarding the seizing and sale of dogs in Southern Indiana, the question must be raised, “What is Indiana State Rep. Linda Lawson’s involvement in this situation?” Reported in a previous article by AR-HR.com, Rep. Linda Lawson was seen participating in the June 2, 2009 seizure of dogs from the Garwood farm (Breezy Valley Dairy Farm). The raid was conducted in Mauckport while Rep. Linda Lawson represents Indiana District 1, located 305 miles away.
This raises a number of ethical questions regarding Rep. Linda Lawson’s involvement:
- If this was volunteer activity, was Rep. Lawson using state time and resources to coordinate with the Humane Society of the United States regarding participation in the raid?
- How did she manage to clear time during the work week to participate in this raid during the greatest economic crisis since the 1920’s and in the midst of a special legislative session nearly 4 weeks prior to the passage of the Indiana state budget?
- If this was volunteer activity, why was Rep. Lawson standing with Indiana Attorney Greg Zoeller during the subsequent television press conference announcing the raid? If this was not volunteer activity, why was Rep. Lawson acting in District 70 instead of Rep. Paul Robertson? Rep. Robertson, a fellow Democrat to Linda Lawson, has been notably quiet through this matter.
Certainly any political representative is free to volunteer in their spare time as they see fit. However the raid occurred on a Tuesday morning while the Indiana legislature remained in special session, a point when District 1 constituents would reasonably expect their state representative to be dedicating herself to their representation during a budget crisis. Instead, Rep. Lawson was carrying puppies out of a barn a 4 hour drive away from her district and almost 2 hours drive from the state capitol.
Rep. Lawson’s ties to the Humane Society of the United States are well known, as is demonstrated by latest news link on her homepage,””STRONGER ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS, PUPPY MILL REGULATIONS SET TO TAKE EFFECT“, includes the following, “Information that will be of use to municipalities that wish to impose stronger animal cruelty/puppy mill regulations will be distributed by Lawson’s office, the Humane Society of the United States and the Indiana Alliance of Animal Control and Welfare Operators in the upcoming weeks.” She is also prominently displayed in the HSUS video made to proclaim the raid’s occurance. (please note the CLEAN dogs, especially the ones with white fur)
This raid, which has raised serious questions regarding the conduct of the Attorney General’s office, would have required coordination between the Indiana Attorney General’s office, HSUS and its volunteers. Given Rep Linda Lawson’s previous history as a law enforcement officer:
- Did Rep. Lawson have knowledge of the terms of the search warrant?
- If Rep. Lawson had knowledge of the seize and hold clause, why did she not speak out regarding the sale of the seized dogs prior to court
- Considering Rep. Lawson’s efforts to involve the Board of Animal Health in dog related activities, why did she not question their absence from the action? This is especially relevant considering Rep. Lawson’s comments to the media (WAVE 3 TV) on June 2, 2009. “Some of these dogs were covered in feces. So matted and so awful that they could barely walk,” said State Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond), who helped with the rescue of the dogs. If the conditions were so unsanitary, surely this would have been of concern on a dairy farm involved in the food supply? These conditions were certainly not demonstrated in the HSUS video of the event with the exception of a dog that appeared to have mud needing removal from its coat.
As a former police captain, surely Rep. Lawson should have known to avoid even the appearance of conducting personal business on the job and known better than to have supported this activity in light of the issues that have emerged.
Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved