We need your help to stop a miscarriage of Justice! Please show your support for Alla McGeary, a well-known
and well-respected 60 year old animal rescue volunteer. The Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Frederick County, Virginia
is attempting to prosecute Alla for trying to save a young Doberman Pinscher named Stella, and to potentially charge Alla
under a FELONY charge. It’s a shame animal cruelty cases are not pursued as vigorously.
DAR&E (a RESCUE organization) placed a rescued dog with a vet to foster. Then had to remove the dog when
it became apparent that the placement was unsuitable, and is now determined to send the dog back to the same negligent situation.
DAR&E (who, by their own admission, may not even be the owner of the dog) filed charges against a long-time
volunteer who has spent hours and dollars to save dogs.
DAR&E (a Maryland based rescue) is using the Frederick County, Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s
office and Frederick County, Virginia taxpayer monies to persecute someone who has spent her life rescuing and rehabilitating
DAR&E has in the past protected and made excuses for its past president when charged with animal cruelty
etc., and has been negligent with dogs placed in their care.
And … most important of all,
Alla McGeary’s Civil Rights have been, and continue to be, violated.
To sign the petition, click on the following link: www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/732291812
The story of Stella the Doberman and Alla McGeary’s struggle to save her follows and is long.
Stella was born with a front leg deformity (known as lobster claw). In April 2006, a Maryland shelter placed
Stella (then approximately 8 months old) with DAR&E. DAR&E then fostered Stella with a veterinarian in Vienna, Virginia
who claimed expertise in rehabilitating this type of deformity, as well as general nutrition and health issues.
This placement proved to be completely unsuccessful for Stella. Over a period of 9 months, the vet complained
continuously about problems with Stella (lack of housebreaking, destructive behavior, serious mouthing/chewing, uncontrollable
energy, etc.) and her concern that she didn’t have the time to devote to Stella to solve these issues. In addition,
Stella’s weight dropped dramatically because the vet insisted that Stella should have only two cans of dog food per
day, plus treats.
DAR&E attempted to salvage this foster placement by assigning seasoned volunteers, one of whom was a member
of DAR&E’s Board of Directors (BOD), to try and help the vet solve these problems, to no avail. In addition, over
the course of the 9 months, on three separate occasions, the DAR&E BOD asked Alla McGeary to please foster or adopt Stella.
On all those occasions Alla confirmed that she was willing to do so.
During this same period, the vet expressed HER desire to adopt Stella (issues aside). DAR&E delayed this
request for a time but eventually arranged for a Home Visit to be conducted in December 2006 by an experienced DAR&E volunteer.
The volunteer expressed serious misgiving about the results of the Home Visit. She noted that she would not leave her own
dogs with the vet and was unable to provide an unconditional recommendation that the vet be approved to adopt.
Finally, in January 2007 the DAR&E BOD removed Stella from the vet and placed her with Alla McGeary. (Please
take a moment to look at the pictures posted on this site. You will see Stella when she first came to DAR&E in the Spring
of 2006 and her condition 9 months later when she was removed from the foster vet.)
The vet, upon realizing that Stella was NOT going to be given back to her, vigorously petitioned the DAR&E
BOD to have Stella returned to her. Within days, the DAR&E BOD mysteriously changed their minds and demanded that Alla
return Stella to DAR&E, with DAR&E’s intent to permanently return Stella to the vet.
This, after the DAR&E BOD removed Stella from the vet (a foster home that was unable to provide both mentally
and physically for Stella), the DAR&E BOD voted to allow this same person, (previously deemed unacceptable) to adopt Stella.
DAR&E members were outraged and protested this action. The DAR&E BOD was questioned repeatedly by
the membership, but was unable/unwilling to fully answer the questions (even in their final "statement"). The BOD then announced
that the discussion was over. A number of long time members resigned from DAR&E. Several of the more outspoken members
were kicked out.
Each and every DAR&E Foster is taught they have the responsibility
and final "right of refusal" to determine if a potential adopter is a good match for their specific dog. Home Visitors,
as part of the screening of potential adopters, make a recommendation regarding whether or not they feel the person would
be a good adopter. Home Visitors, as part of the home visit, also educate potential adopters regarding the decision
authority entrusted to the Foster Parent to decide if the potential adopter is a good match for their dog. Being "approved
to adopt" doesn't mean that someone is approved to adopt "any" dog unless the Foster agrees. This philosophy was drilled
into all Fosters and Home Visitors.
So Alla McGeary used her "right of refusal". As the foster parent
of Stella, and based on the months-long demonstrated sub-par care, coupled with the negative Home Visit report, Alla determined
that the vet was not a good match for Stella and declined to approve the adoption.
During this period, the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) responded
to a complaint regarding how DAR&E had handled this horrendous situation. The result was that the DPCA, which had
provided funding to DAR&E in the past, sanctioned DAR&E for violating the terms of dog rescue with the handling of
Stella. All future funding has been stopped, and DAR&E is no longer included in the approved rescue organizations
supported by the DPCA. (Click here to see the details of the complaint and findings: http://www.cyberdobes.com/PDF/DPCA%20Opinion%20-%20DAR&E.pdf).
When Alla refused to return Stella to the BOD, to be sent back into the negligent situation with the Vienna
Veterinarian, threatening emails were exchanged. DAR&E went to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to file a complaint
and was told by Animal Control that this was a civil case. Then DAR&E approached a magistrate and filed FELONY charges
and Alla was ARRESTED on March 23, 2007 and was charged with "Unauthorized Use".
The arrest was based on a sworn statement made to the magistrate by the president of DAR&E stating that
DAR&E owned Stella, and therefore had the right to request that charges be filed against Alla.
This resulted in Alla’s court appearance on May 29, 2007 when the initial charges were dropped, with
the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office reserving the right to reactivate the charges, or file new charges, pending
On August 29, 2007 three cars pulled up into Alla’s driveway, and she was served with a search warrant.
The search warrant was issued for the offense described as Larceny of a Dog. An Animal Control officer, the assigned Investigator,
and a photographer RAIDED Alla’s home. The team searched not only her house, but also her car and her outbuildings.
They were looking for Stella, information on Stella AND, for some reason, any information that Alla had on DAR&E. Files,
documents, pictures, and Alla’s personal computers were seized. At least half of these items had nothing to do with
the dog in question. To this day (Sept 30th, 2007) nothing has been returned.
Note: Alla is self-employed and one of the computers seized contain her business information, so Alla’s
ability to earn her livelihood was seriously impaired. In addition, and of extreme importance to every US Citizen, these computers
contain privileged attorney/client information. So Alla’s civil rights have been violated.
The investigation and affidavit that supported the search warrant raise many questions. Unlike the arrest
warrant which states that "DAR&E is the owner of Stella", the Affidavit with the search warrant (in which the investigator
includes statements made by DAR&E BOD members) states that "when a dog is adopted that whoever adopts the dog is the new
owner at that point and not DAR&E". Plus, if you go to DAR&E’s own website (www.dobe.net) you will see that both DAR&E and the vet state that the vet is Stella's owner.
So who owns this dog? Is it DAR&E, as claimed in their original sworn statement? Or is it the vet as posted
on DAR&E’s website and stated in the affidavit? DAR&E can’t seem to be clear on this basic fact. And why
is the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office continuing this case when the very basis of ownership of Stella is unclear?
To read the entire search warrant, go to www.themcgearylegalfund.com and scroll down to August 29, 2007. Notice that the charge on the warrant is now "Larceny
of a Dog" (Virginia Code 18.2-97).
After the initial arrest, and prior to the search and seizure, Alla’s mother (who lives with Alla) suffered
a stroke, followed by a heart attack and other serious illnesses. So in addition to all the stress of defending Stella, Alla
is also facing the battle of getting proper care and support for her mother’s recovery. Thank goodness Alla’s
mother was not at home at the time of the home invasion.
Subsequent to the August search and seizure, in the first week of September the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s
office "indicated" they had enough "evidence" to indict Alla. The charge was to be "Larceny of a Dog" or "possibly another
charge". That action was postponed at the last minute, with no explanation other than a request for a meeting. To date, the
meeting still has not been held by the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney.
As of September 30, 2007, Alla has still not received any of her belongings back even though the majority
have nothing to do with Stella. Alla has been unable to work properly due to the fact that she doesn’t have her WORK
computer. Alla is still fighting the legal fight of her life, as well as trying to take care of her mother.
So to everyone … this is your opportunity to stand up and be counted.
Alla McGeary’s Civil Rights have been, and continue to be, violated.
Click the following link to sign the petition and demand that the Commonwealth of Virginia put
a stop to this. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/732291812
Finally, if you are (as we were) in a state of disbelief that this could all occur, and if you might be feeling
that the neglectful care of Stella was an aberration on the part of DAR&E, the DAR&E BOD, and specifically of DAR&E’s
president, Athy Conigliaro, here is a little more food for thought.
Go to this link (www.cyberdobes.com/hallofshame.shtml) and scroll down to view more dogs that were improperly cared for by DAR&E during the
same time period as Stella. Dogs under the "care" of DAR&E were allowed to deteriorate to shameful states of health, despite
the pleadings of DAR&E volunteers who were protesting the conditions in which the dogs were being kept. The situations
were not rectified until the photos became public. DAR&E justified the heart-wrenching condition of these dogs as simply
suffering a bit of stress while being kenneled.
Since this situation, shelters have been contacting DAR&E to voice their concerns about dogs they have
placed with DAR&E in the past, or might place with DAR&E in the future. DAR&E has responded, again, that the condition
of the dogs was not related to any neglect on DAR&E’s part. Further, the president of DAR&E has stated, in writing,
that the Commonwealth of Virginia’s prosecutor’s office phone numbers would be made available to all shelters
who were notified regarding the dogs on the "Hall of Shame" web site, specifically, "…we will provide the shelters with
the contact information to the DA’s office so that they can speak directly to the police regarding any mailings they
For what? What does the mistreatment of DAR&E rescue dogs have to do with the Stella case? Why would the
prosecutor’s office get involved with shelters that are supposedly being notified regarding dogs placed with DAR&E
that were not cared for properly? DAR&E is a Maryland based rescue, receiving dogs from shelters located in VA, MD and
WV. If the prosecutor’s office is involved at all, shouldn’t they be more interested in WHY any Virginia dogs
were in such horrid condition, not that fact that shelters are learning about this neglect and asking questions?
Also at this link, you will see the title, "Rose Anne Fierro's Grievance Letters". This is not light reading,
but you can begin with the section labeled, "Fierro-Horton". These documents follow a situation that occurred in the 1999-2000
timeframe where DAR&E’s President was charged by Prince George’s County Animal Control Division with 5 citations
(including animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions) for a total of 14 counts. As you read through the various documents,
notice that the Vice-President of DAR&E supported the President, and characterized the horrendous conditions that the
dogs were kept in as simply being "poor housekeeping". That Vice-President is now the President of DAR&E … Athy
Folks, there are many reasons to sign the petition. You can sign because you want to support Alla McGeary
in her fight. You can sign because you love animals. You can sign because you support civil rights and the fair application
of those rights. You can sign because you abhor the justice system being hijacked. You can sign because taxpayer dollars should
not be used to fund a personal vendetta. But the important thing is that you sign the petition.
To sign the petition, please click on the following link.
Thanks For Your Support!
The Supporters of Alla McGeary & Stella