Here we are, at what we believe will be our final ruling in appeals court (but who knows with this case) in our fight to keep custody of our dog Stitch
. We should be issued a preliminary ruling by 4pm today. If it is in our favor, all we have to do is show up tomorrow in court and happily accept. If it is not, we go to court with our attorney tomorrow to present oral arguments against the ruling. If we are ordered to turn Stitch over to the person who neglected and abandoned him years ago, we will fight.
We lost this case last year due to the Lost Property Statute, a law written 200 years ago, when even people were considered property. The judge who ruled against us referred repeatedly to Stitch as “it”, comparing Stitch to a bicycle. Our pets save lives, work alongside our police and military, visit sick children in hospitals, rehabilitate prisoners, guide the blind and disabled, benefit our health and longevity. They can not be left in hot cars, or abused, or used in fighting rings. Can you say the same about a bicycle? The Lost Property Statute of California is antiquated and must be overturned.
If we win tomorrow, not only do we get to keep Stitch in our happy home, ours will be a precedent-setting case which will show that pets are not property, they are sentient beings who deserve to be protected and loved. Our victory will be a step in the direction of compassion toward animals, which will benefit all pet owners.
But win or lose, through this long battle, I have gained more than I ever imagined. I have learned that the world is full of kind and gentle people who will reach out and help a total stranger. I have learned that I am much stronger than I knew. I have learned how to stand up for what I believe in. And I have learned to have faith.
Although I struggle with my faith, I do pray. Years ago, during a particularly dark time, I prayed and prayed for God to restore my faith in humanity. I believe Stitch was sent to us to show us how good people can be. Because of him, we have been flooded with compassion from all corners of the globe. How rare a gift we have been given. I do not take it for granted. Through all of the heartache, grief and expense, I consider Stitch an answered prayer.
In many ways, we have already won. We’ve been fortunate to work with our attorneys Jill Ryther
and Shannon Keith
, two of the world’s biggest animal advocates and finest people. We’ve met so many wonderful animal-loving folks. We’ve made new friends all over the globe. And most importantly, we have had the joy of sharing our lives with Stitch for the past three years. In every way we have been enriched by this long and crazy journey.
In these last few hours, I can only ask, if you are a praying person, that you pray the honorable judges of LA Superior court -Patti Jo McKay and Gregory Keosian- are guided by compassion as they make their final decision. Pray for Stitchy, that he is forever in his safe and loving home. If you aren’t a praying person, that’s okay, too. Just think good thoughts and believe in the best outcome.
I will update you all the MOMENT I have any news.
We want to thank the Los Angeles Times for getting behind us (will post the story when it runs) and Robin Sax at Fox 11 News for reaching out and supporting. Also the good people at the Ellen Show for contributing to the Save Stitch legal defense fund.
But above all we want to thank all of you, friends, family and strangers alike, for your words of support, your encouragement, your donations and your help. Thank you for sticking with us on this long journey. We never would have made it without you.
Keep the faith! Save Stitchy!
UPDATE 4:45 pm Wednesday:
FRUSTRATING COURT SYSTEM! The Superior court just filed their preliminary ruling. They are upholding the lower court ruling ( meaning we LOST) due to a technicality in paperwork (the fact that there is no court reporter record, because in lower jurisdiction hearings- there is no court reporter!)
They refuse to hear our case tomorrow. BUT- now our attorney is going to file a writ to the higher court- the Federal Appeals Court. We are taking this fight to the top! We are not giving up!