Barnum and Bailey presents: The Stitch Trial

Written by Hollye Dexter

(Cue circus music…) I barely know where to begin, but it will require all my restraint to not fill this blog with expletives. (Let me just get it out real fast…#**%^&*#%^&**^!!!)

We have just returned from yet another shocker of a day in court, fighting for the right to keep our dog.
For anyone who is new to this story, all the details are HERE.
For those who’ve been following all along, you know that In September the plaintiff’s attorney dropped him. He appeared before the judge to be officially “released”, claiming his client wouldn’t return his calls nor pay him.
Our attorney, Jill Ryther, then called and emailed the plaintiff numerous times and got no response. It seemed clear to everyone that since “winning” custody of Stitch five months ago, but “losing” all monetary motions against us, the plaintiff had lost interest.
Monday we were called to court by the judge to state why nothing had been resolved on either side. The plaintiff did not show up, and unfortunately, neither did the judge. We were rescheduled to today. We showed up on time. Our case was the first call at 8:30 am. No plaintiff in sight. And then as our attorney is presenting to the judge, the clerk interrupts, “The plaintiff’s attorney called and is running late. He says he’ll be here at nine.”
“Oh okay,” says the judge, “we’ll reconvene at nine.”
This was wrong on so many levels…First of all, what attorney? And why are attorneys permitted to waste the court’s time by showing up late?

Sure enough at 9 am, the attorney who had asked to be released from the case, (“Fox” is his name, by the way), strolls in half an hour late. For the past two years, he has shown up late to every hearing, been a no-show at three court appointed dates, and most recently dropped his client. And yet, he receives no penalty, not even an admonishment by the court.

The court has ordered the plaintiff to appear in court several times and he has no-showed, and yet, nothing happens. We keep waiting for the judge to say this is ridiculous, and throw the whole thing out. But he doesn’t.

Fox says his client is not able to be there because he is “receiving medical treatment” (I instantly remember why the original owner of the dog wasn’t at trial- he too was “receiving medical treatment” in “rehab”). Thankfully the judge tells Fox he can not represent the client as he was released from the case. He tells him to take a seat. Even still, as our attorney presents our side, Fox jumps up and argues against her, and the judge ALLOWS IT! ( circus music…)
I could go on and on with my frustrations about this case, but I’ll spare you and give you the results from today: Five months ago we lost legal custody of Stitch and immediately filed an appeal. Since then we have been fighting to retain custody of Stitch during the appeals process, which could take another year. Today we were granted temporary custody pending appeal. We have to pay the court $2000 in collateral to assure that we don’t run off with Stitch in the interim. And we have to pay our attorney to write a 20 page appeals brief and filing fees. Then we have to go to appeals court, some time in 2012. The whole crux of our appeal is we are trying to prove the court’s ruling was wrong-  that a family pet is not property. Stitch is a sentient being with needs and rights, and his well-being should be first consideration. A bicycle is property. You can leave a bicycle in a hot car without any repercussions. You can not do that with a dog. See that, courts? NOT THE SAME THING! We will be submitting the Save Stitch petition with our appeals brief, so if you haven’t signed it yet, please do! And spread the word! (it’s at the top right corner of this page, or on our website)
AND- just in time for the Holidays….the Stitch store is re-opening. Wouldn’t you love to buy Holiday gifts from Stitch this year? Every penny you spend goes to Stitch’s legal defense fund! Help us fight this stupid law and make the world a safer place for animals!
Please visit our website where you can sign the petition, shop at our Save Stitch Store, read the whole background story, plus blogs and newspaper articles written about our case. 
Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this whole ordeal. This is a fight we have taken on together. There is no way Troy and I would still be standing strong without all of you behind us. THANK YOU!

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  1. georgie

    Seriously speechless!!!!!! Except to say that you have my heart ♥

  2. Liz Kinnon

    I cannot bear this. Absolutely unbelievable that tax dollars pay for such crap in the court system. What has happened to common sense (oh yeah, he died) and human decency? It's incredible that a judge hasn't just put an end to it and done the right thing.

    I'm so sorry it has not been resolved!

  3. Hollye Dexter

    Thanks Georgie and Liz. We are not giving up. We have learned so much about our "justice" system, and we are profoundly disappointed at the mess, the disorganization, the mockery…
    I hope some people are getting justice. So far, no one I know is.
    But we have so many people praying and pulling for us. I just can't and won't believe that this is all for nothing. Something will come from all this, if we just hang on.

  4. laurenne

    UGhhhhhh!!! I cannot believe this is STILL going on. I mean…. the plaintiff has no longer any connection to Stitch. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier for them to simply buy another dog? Or couldn't you guys find a Boston Terrier that is similar to Stitch and just tell them they can have it? (I mean, not that any dog would compare, but the plaintiff wouldn't know the difference!!).
    So annoyed for you right now. Sorry!

  5. Anonymous

    This is absolutely a horrible miscarriage of justice. Forget justice, (rarely seen these days), it's a crime against common sense and decency. I am so sorry. I'm going to send your story to the Ellen show right now. She is a big dog lover and helps people every day. OK, sounds stupid, but any port in the storm as they say!

  6. Anne Borsa

    Hang in there and keep fighting the good fight. I shared this story (again) on my Facebook. Good Luck!

  7. Anonymous

    I remember at the first trial when the plainiff's star witness showed up with a hospital band on his wrist (can you say REHAB). I find it amazing that the plaintiff continually doesn't show up and that his attorney FOX (ambulance chaser) is back on the case. Hopefully, with the temporary stay this will have the other side withdrawing sooner than later. He can't keep not paying his lawyer and not show up. Meanwhile Stitch is safe with you and family. Hopefully, Jill has already prepared the 20 pages in preparation for today's decision knowing that this will probably go to trial. I am glad Stitch is still with you. It will all work out and when it is settled I will eat crow and take you the promised dinner.

  8. Monica Holloway

    Hollye, I am so completely dumbfounded. You can count on us for full support, of course, but I'm deeply sorry you are still having to deal with all of this. We love you, and we love Stitch! You are brave to keep fighting and YOU ARE RIGHT! I love you for that…for caring so much. You will win this.

  9. Seth

    Oh My God, this makes no sense at all, why does this keep getting crazier?


  10. Anonymous

    I can't even put into words, what I am feeling now…I am so sorry…Makes me just want to grab a few guys in particular and shake the living crap out of them!!! I, plea to the ANONYMOUS poster (above) Please put this in ELLEN"S hands, my feeling is, she will be all over it,AND IT IS NOT A STUPID IDEA… and with all of us getting involved some how, this can be a done deal and be OVER. All of you will continue to be in my prayers, to help you keep your strength and hope and mostly (key word here) CLOSURE to this nightmare.. Hang in there Stitchy, and family, there is going to be a good ending to this.!!!! We all love YOU Stitchy !!!

  11. Deb and Barbara

    This DOESNT' MAKE ANY SENSE!!! I know you know this, but still, it is mind-blowing. So sorry you guys have to fight this particular, crazy battle, but then again, we can't choose 'em, right? Am sharing!
    xo Barbara

  12. Deb

    My stomach is in knots just reading this. Stitch is one lucky guy. I pray for a good outcome. In the meantime, I'm heading to the Stitch Store to do some Stitchy shopping!

  13. Hollye Dexter

    Reading all your words gives me just that little bit more strength. Some days ( like yesterday) I just curl up into a ball and don't know if I can do it anymore. But I will. Thanks for standing by us, and for caring about Stitchy!

  14. Anonymous

    I will definitely be shopping at the Stitch store!!! Why do they keep thsi going…how is the plaintiff (ahole) going to care for Stitch if he is in Rehab again??? What the hell is wrong with this judge????? What a bunch of IDIOTS!!!!!
    Good Luck Hollster!! Hang Tough!!
    Love, Carol & Mike Nofi

  15. Holly

    God, are you FREAKING serious? The legal system is an utter freaking joke.

    I sincerely hope and pray that when all of this is said and done, you and your family will keep Stitch away from the losers who didn't even deserve him in the first place.

    I too am also a huge advocate for the fact that ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!!!!

    *end rant*

  16. Hollye Dexter

    I hear you, Holly. I've had many "rants" over this, but then I have to refocus on WINNING.


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