Prosecute Paul Bridwell of Louisville, Kentucky and Nancy Schiphorst of Louisville, Kentucky for Theft, Conversion, Animal Trafficking and Fraud.
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This is very important to me, not only because my dogs were stolen, but also because my dogs were a great support to me through many years of domestic abuse which has resulted in severe PTSD and agoraphobia. My dogs were of great emotional support to me and anyone who knows me well will tell you that I would do anything to protect them. That is what I was doing in the midst of an emotional and physical breakdown brought on by years of trauma and victimization by my partner. When I allowed someone who I thought was a “friend” to take my dogs, it was with the understanding that my dogs would be returned to me when I was physically and emotionally able to take them back.
I was at that point last April 2013 when I contacted my “friend” and was callously told my dogs had been separated and given away. I was then threatened with arrest by this “friend” if I tried to recover my animals. When my psychiatric team suggested to me that I needed to recover my dogs I was fearful. Knowing my dogs were a support and knowing the added trauma that has been produced from learning my animals were separated and sold for profit, my medical team encouraged me to seek reunification with my dogs. They, like many others, see my taking the steps to have my stolen animals returned to me as part of my recovery from domestic abuse and trauma, continuing Severe PTSD and agoraphobia. The simple fact, my dogs, Piggy and George provided me with immense emotional support through very difficult times, in a, as one of my long time friends, and a behaviorist, put it, “HORRIFIC” relationship,
When Piggy and George left my home that Sunday I was confident that my wishes were being kept and honored. That my bonded companions were going to be kept safe, together and were going to be returned. I had no idea what was being planned by my “friend” and his accomplice, that my dogs were being stolen to be advertised on Facebook and Craigslist and sold for a profit to them. It never entered my mind. Six days after George and Piggy were taken I was admitted to the hospital in complete respiratory failure, the effects of stress were killing me as the critical care physician pointed out. Through all of this I was more concerned about my animals than anything else, it’s in the medical records. My “friend” kept assuring me the dogs were fine and that I need not worry. He was lying. Facebook and Craigslist posts from the day the dogs were taken showed the dogs being advertised within hours of leaving my home.
I have been tried and convicted on Facebook and I am sure other places on the internet by the two people who stole my animals. They have successfully had Facebook remove my page which I have had restored. They have sought to paint me as a crazy person and someone who is unfit. What they have not taken into account is the number of professionals that are and were at that time involved in my life. I have undergone numerous psychiatric evaluations in the last year, I have been seen by numerous professionals in the last year as a result of my severe medical and emotional needs. One thing each of these professionals agree on is that I am sane and self determining and that I was victimized by these two individuals who stole and sold my dogs. I have been urged to get a companion animal to help with my depression and PTSD, frankly it has been very difficult for me to look at dogs, even be around them. The immense grief and loss I have over what has happened to my animals prevents me from being near a dog. I break down. I have ongoing nightmares about George and Piggy and that is is not alright.
It is not alright that these two people came into my life, removed the only thing in my life at that time that brought me joy. It is not alright that they became judge, jury and executioner beside the “rescue” groups they are involved with in Kentucky, groups that are nothing more that income generators for lost, stolen pets (and I believe more stolen pets than lost).
Additionally, this is important because people who are in domestic violence situations face terrible decisions about their pets when they need help. Historically shelters have not allowed people to bring family pets with them. Now shelters are seeing that accommodations need to be made available to victims to bring pets or provide safe haven for family pets to keep this type of thing from happening. This is something that needs more attention over the long term. It is especially important in circumstances where children are also victim, the bond between children and the family dog, cat or guinea pig is strong, especially when there is violence in the home. When a spouse and children are removed those supportive pets need to be included in the safety plan for the family. Domestic violence creates enough losses, there don’t need to be more for a family, especially children.
It is also important because rescue groups need to be held accountable for their actions. It appears to me that these groups do not fully investigate where animals are coming from and they do not put enough emphasis on history. Another upsetting thing for me is that my chihuahua, George was microchipped by 24 Hour Pet Watch and when I called them, again recently, it appears my dogs ownership was changed by 24 Hour Pet Watch. That is not acceptable.
The issues here are many. I want my dogs returned plain and simple. Please help me find someone to help me do this, I’m begging!
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