Mike Perry - Desert Star Weekly responds:

Mike Perry - Desert Star Weekly


Thank you for writing; however, I think your comments to me/us are a little unfounded and this issue is in need of some clarification. Please let me explain.

First, we think we have done due diligence in bringing the animal abuser in question to justice. We stopped the series on this subject because it has ran it's course. Personally, I am an animal lover and dog owner. No source, including myself or any other employee of DSW has applied 'political pressure', and forced Ms. Devereaux to resign. Jackie left on her own volition and has moved to Mexico to live on the beach and pursue a screen-writing career. We truly miss Jackie Devereaux and both party's have left the door open to further association.

I am sorry you have a different opinion of what has transpired, but I want to clarify the reasons behind Ms. Devereaux departure. Furthermore, as a newspaper Publisher, it has never been my style to let my newspapers and/or journalists buckle under political pressure or reasons otherwise. If you remember correctly, we were the first and only news source to break this story. Contrary to your opinion of myself and our newspapers, we feel as though we have done more than enough to bring this issue to light and we are satisfied that the abuser in question has been indicted. When more news is returned from the judicial system involving this case, we will be happy to report the outcome...in support, of course, of a favorable decision against those persons involved in the abuse of animals

Over the course of time that this story was investigated and reported on, DSW offered three front page stories - with photos - which were dedicated to uncovering the details behind animal abuse in this case. Numerous other 'side-bar' stories, comments and 'Letters to the Editor' were published in support of bringing justice to an animal abuser. Additionally, our newspapers are dedicated to animal safety and pet adoption from numerous sources around the Coachella Valley. We freely give weekly space to those parties and organizations who are interested in the welfare of animals.

I would love to write more, but it's past my time to get home and feed my three year old Golden Retriever, 'Maltie.'

Thanks again for your concern about the humane treatment of animals and your support of DSW. Kind personal regards;

Richard M. Perry
*P U B L I S H E R*
Office: (760) 671-6604

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Posted on September 09, 2013
  • Ace Perry LOS ANGELES, CA
    • over 1 year ago

    Here is a link to The Desert Star Weekly, go to page 4 to see the editorial by Ms. Devereaux


  • Ace Perry LOS ANGELES, CA
    • over 1 year ago

    Ms. Devereaux DID respond in her editorial published in their paper, The Desert Star Weekly. Here is the editorial -

    Freedom of Speech is not Free

    By Jackie Devereaux

    Despite the fact that our founding fathers guaranteed the Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, we are not protected. Look at the Edward Snowden whistle blower case and you’ll see the government persecution of him for leaking the NSA cyber spying. People have lost their jobs, homes and security for whistle blowing, and it’s more rampant now than ever before.

    It happened to Desert Star Weekly columnist Art Kunkin back in the 1960-70s when he was the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Free Press. The Nixon administration issued a Black List of performers, writers, actors and comedians the government deemed “anti-American.” Even the Smothers Brothers were on that list! Kunkin was prosecuted because of his opposition to the war in Vietnam. Kunkin spent more than a million dollars defending himself and the Freedom of Speech. History repeats itself.

    Snowden lives in exile because he exposed our government violating the law. He sought exile in several countries who were warned that if they helped him, they would be cut off from U.S. aide.

    I am embroiled in my own whistle blower case since reporting the horrible situation about the Dog Death Camp in Sky Valley. Hundreds if not thousands of dogs died allegedly at the hands of Mary Bernadette Schwenn, 64, a woman known to be a longtime hoarder of animals. Local authorities, including animal control in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, along with the sheriff’s department knew about Schwenn’s hoarding as early as 1996, but nothing much was done about it.

    She was issued a citation in Indian Wells in Oct. 1996 for hoarding dogs, and again issued citations in Pioneertown for hoarding up to 40 dogs inside a house near Pappy & Harriet’s. Then she moved to a lean-to hovel in Sky Valley living in conditions most reasonable people would consider uninhabitable with no electricity or running water. She travels by hitchhiking along Dillon Road relying on the mercy and pity of neighbors.

    Unfortunately, this woman’s physical condition has deteriorated to the point where she must use a walker making her now visibly unable to care for her pack of Queensland Heeler dogs. None of the dogs are neutered or spayed and allowed to breed, then die in the desert heat. Luckily, through the compassion of local animal lover Kitty Pallesen, I became aware of this situation and took action.

    This is more than a Dog Death Camp - it is a Dog Killing Field, and if any animal rights group is allowed to search that property, they may find hundreds of shallow graves filled with the carcasses of dead dogs who perished horrible deaths from starvation, dehydration and heat exposure.

    When I published Kitty’s story in its entirety, I cried for those dead dogs and vowed to stop the madness. Kitty, along with animal activists who never knew each other before, joined forces to save the remaining dogs. Those groups lobbied the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the District Attorney’s office to take action.

    After much bickering, name calling and finger pointing, finally the DA issued an indictment of 30 counts of animal cruelty, then a Sheriff’s deputy arrested Schwenn at the Indio law library while Animal Control officers raided her property and rounded up most of the remaining dogs. Thank God Pallesen’s attorney, Shelley Rizzotti from Burbank, with support from animal welfare attorneys from across the country backed by thousands of concerned advocates local and nationwide pressured the DA and the judge to mandate that Schwenn never have custody of any animals pending her trial.

    Schwenn was released on $55,000 bail and is now filing lawsuits against the county and Animal Control trying to get her dogs back. This would be a travesty of justice. Since Schwenn's arrest Pallesen has been shot at, harassed, followed, and threatened continuously, but Pallesen is undeterred. She and her following dig in harder to protect the animals.

    The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will hold a rare public meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Coachella Valley Water District’s Steve Robbins Administration Building in Palm Desert, 75-515 Hovley Lane East. I encourage the public to attend and keep the momentum of animal advocacy on the forefront.

    Due to all of this political pressure and internal corporate issues, I have been forced to resign from my job as Founder and Editor-in-Chief. I will take my talents elsewhere and pursue other business opportunities that include screenwriting. My first script will be about the Dog Killing Fields in Sky Valley.

  • david craft CARTHAGE, NC
    • over 1 year ago

    Has anyone heard from Ms. Devereaux on this matter??

  • Michelle Peacock NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA
    • over 1 year ago

    This story has not "run its course" and justice is not served when these animals are now in "shelters" and still in the desert camp! The animals are still suffering. They should be allowed to be adopted. And due diligence is not allowing this criminal to get away with this for 17 years. I live in LA and I've heard about this woman for YEARS! Bernadette Schwenn will most likely get away with this and move somewhere else and repeat her behavior. Misdemeanor animal cruelty is not enough. The fact is: animal abusers never stop abusing, just as child abusers never stop.

    Communities must recognize that abuse to ANY living being is unacceptable & endangers EVERYONE. Children should be taught to care for and respect animals. If you want to stop child abuse, then stop animal abuse! Children have a natural empathy with animals but it is easily destroyed by cultural habits and desensitization programming by parents, educators, Big AG, law enforcement, religious organizations and the media.

    Randall Lockwood of the ASPCA '"We discovered that in homes where there was domestic violence or physical abuse of children, the incidence of animal cruelty was close to 90 percent. The most common pattern was that the abusive parent had used animal cruelty as a way of controlling the behaviors of others in the home. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what links things like animal cruelty and child abuse and domestic violence. And one of the things is the need for power and control. Animal abuse is basically a power-and-control crime.”

    The FBI describes the triad of being abused as a child, reacting by torturing animals and becoming violent to humans so well established that animal cruelty cases are being used as a means of identifying possible suspects in violent crimes as an indicator of future offenders.

    Studies of violent criminals in prisons, patients in psychiatric hospitals, women in battered women's shelters, domestic violence cases including child abuse and elder abuse indicate that 46 percent of sexual homicide perpetrators abused animals, while 78 percent of convicted rapists abused animals.

    The numbers are more frightening in relationships since 80 percent of spousal abuse situations also included animal cruelty while close to 90 percent of child abuse cases included cruelty to animals.

    Many lives could be saved, much human tragedy and suffering could be prevented and a great deal of money spared if police forces, prosecutors, judges, social workers and the public were able to recognize the strong connection between animal cruelty and human violence and take animal cruelty seriously.

    What YOU can do!

    1. Urge your local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and schools to take cruelty to animals seriously. Those charged with protecting our communities and animals must send a strong message that violence against any feeling creature—human or nonhuman—is unacceptable.

    2. Be aware of signs of neglect or abuse in children and animals, and immediately report suspected crimes to authorities. Take children seriously if they report that animals are being neglected or mistreated. Some children won’t talk about their own suffering but will talk about an animal’s.

    3. Don't ignore even minor acts of cruelty to animals by children. Don't leave unattended young children alone with pets. Talk to the child and the child’s parents. If necessary, call a social worker. Silence kills.

    4. Teach your children to love and respect animals. Many rescue groups have children & young adult volunteer programs, get them involved and be a part of the solution.

    5. Support efforts to create a National Registry of Animal Abusers! To keep children safe, parents should know when animal abusers live in their area.

    So Mr. Perry, with all respect, your paper has an opportunty to do the right thing, to make a difference. Educate your citizens on the dangers of animal abuse and how it leads to so many other crimes. A free and honest Press is our only hope of getting the truth told, we need you to tell the truth, no matter.

    It serves no purpose to speculate what happened but I will. I don't doubt that the Supervisor threatened and I can imagine the pressure brought to bear.

    Sadly we see this behavior in many of our elected officials every day. Their one priority is in keeping their jobs, not doing what is best for the people that elected them. I hope that Supervisor John Benoit loses and anyone that behaves in this same manner is voted out of office.

    "One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." -Anthropologist Margaret Mead