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Press-Telegram - Monday's letters
Alexia Kyrklund Founder of Noah's Ark
Press-Telegram - Animals safe, for now
They relocated nearly 300 dogs and cats and arrested the center's owner, Alexia Kyrklund, on suspicion of animal cruelty. Kyrklund did not return after the lunch break and could not be reached for comment about the ruling. About 20 animal rescue advocates and volunteers representing about 10 groups throughout L.A. County rallied around Kyrklund at the courthouse. "There is competition in this industry, and if Alexia was treating the animals badly, we wouldn't be here to support her," said Madelaine Kelley, a rescue volunteer. Kyrklund and her supporters on Friday morning first went to the Long Beach Courthouse to request the restraining order.The hearing was moved to San Pedro later that day. As television reporters interviewed her, supporters held up signs that read, "Animal Control Out of Control," "Stop the Killing Now!"and "Long Beach Loves Animals, Wrong Beach Kills Animals." Kyrklund responded to allegations of animal cruelty and Animal Control's findings in Noah's Ark - among them sick animals, 18 carcasses in a freezer and an environment officials deemed deplorable - saying the animals she saves run the gamut, and that many are old and sickly.If the animals are unable to find homes, they reside in Noah's Ark, she said. "We can't save every one of them, but God knows we try." She also sought to clarify the 18 carcasses found in the building's freezer.The bodies were those of dead animals awaiting cremation, a practice Kyrklund says is not uncommon in rescue and shelter agencies. Earlier trouble As Kyrklund and her attorney argued for the restraining order, details from an earlier criminal case emerged. In 2004, Kyrklund rented a property in Signal Hill near Cherry Street and Willow Avenue that had a large lot with two bungalows. Kyrklund tried to make changes, including asking if she could have an animal daycare or pet hotel.Kyrklund was charged with four misdemeanors: failure to care for animals; confining animals with inadequate space; importing wild animals; and a zoning violation. In the end, Kyrklund offered to plead no contest to two of the four counts - the zoning and wild animal charge - and the judge accepted the offer despite the DA's opposition, Robison said. On June 19, Kyrklund was sentenced to 12 days in county jail, 36 months probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the city for more than $12,000 in vet bills to treat animals seized at the Signal Hill property, court records show. The prosecutor had argued for all four counts because it would have prevented Kyrklund from being able to operate any animal shelters while on probation. Evidence collected at the Long Beach location this week will likely prove valuable, in part because Kyrklund testified in open court that she had severed all ties with Noah's Ark, Robison added. The current criminal charge against Kyrklund from Wednesday is pending and has not yet been presented to prosecutors, Robison added.
Press-Telegram - Shelter founder to seek hearing
Alexia Kyrklund - founding member of Noah's Ark, a nonprofit animal shelter in the 1300 block of Redondo Avenue - was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of animal cruelty, and authorities seized close to 300 dogs and cats from the organization. On Monday, Kyrklund said she and other members of the rescue group will request a hearing on the raid, something that must be done within 10 days of the seizure. "Yes, we are going to ask for a hearing, but I doubt we'll get anything out of it ... It's not like they're going to change their minds and say they made a mistake," Kyrklund said. Since her arrest, Kyrklund said she and Noah's Ark have received a massive amount of support from volunteers, other rescue groups and people who adopted pets through the nonprofit.Funds for an attorney were raised by supporters, she said, and a rally is being scheduled for this Saturday. Supporters of Kyrklund plan to protest in front of the entrance to the Long Beach Animal Control shelter at 7700 E. Spring St. The rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. "The outpouring of support, it's humbled me," Kyrklund said Monday."Our attorney is being paid for by some fabulous supporters who have been inside (Noah's Ark).That's how I was bailed out, by another rescue." Kyrklund was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after, she said, she was called to the shelter by Animal Control investigators. The investigators plan to present the case against Kyrklund to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office next week, Lt.Kyrklund and her supporters deny those claims. They charge that authorities were acting out of retaliation against Kyrklund, who had filed a complaint against an animal control officer about a week before the raid and who has had previous dealings with the agency. The prior case stemmed from a Noah's Ark shelter set up in Signal Hill near Cherry Avenue and Willow Street.In that case, Kyrklund was initially charged with four misdemeanor counts: failure to properly care for animals, failure to provide adequate space, keeping exotic or wild animals and violating the city's zoning ordinance. District attorney's office spokeswoman Jane Robison said Kyrklund pleaded guilty to two of the charges last June - the zoning issue and the wild animals charge, which stemmed from possession of ferrets. But Kyrklund and her attorney said she never served one day in jail.She was issued a citation on the charge and the judge threw out the animal cruelty charges, Kyrklund said Monday. On Friday, Kyrklund won a bid in a San Pedro court for a restraining order against the Long Beach Animal Control.That ruling keeps Animal Control veterinarians from euthanizing any of the dogs or cats seized Wednesday. The restraining order expires on Sept. 8, when lawyers for both sides will reconvene to determine if the order should be extended. In the meantime, Kyrklund has about seven days left of a 10-day period to request a hearing on the recent raid.If Kyrklund were to relinquish control of the animals, however, they could begin adoptions immediately, Quigley added. Kyrklund said not allowing another rescue group to foster the animals is ridiculous.She also said she was told the animals will not be put up for adoption as long as the criminal matter is pending. Authorities noted the case in Signal Hill is being appealed by the district attorney's office, which wanted all four charges to stick.Had the animal cruelty charge been successful, it would have barred Kyrklund from participating in any animal rescue activities, Robison said. But Kyrklund said Monday that she gave up control of the organization, and told authorities she would simply be a founder and supporter from then on. "They called me down on false pretenses," Kyrklund said, referring to her arrest Wednesday. Defending her work with Noah's Ark, Kyrklund said it was simply love and concern for the animals.She knows them all by name and personality, she said, but that does not mean she runs Noah's Ark. She recalled a number of dogs, some with cantankerous tempers and others who have health problems related to old age, that she is worried about. One pair of dogs can't be separated, she said, and another dog - a Chihuahua named One-Eyed Jack - is known to bite everyone except the volunteers he knows. "How many were sick that were vaccinated and shouldn't have been?I want to know why they didn't look at the records to see who was vaccinated," she said. "Again, you don't have to be a director to be worrying about that, you just have to be an animal lover." Eventually, even if Kyrklund refuses to relinquish control of the animals, they can be put up for adoption, Quigley said.
Press-Telegram - Animal control: Restraining order on euthanizing expires
The order was issued Aug. 25, two days after authorities raided the center and arrested its owner, Alexia Kyrklund, on suspicion of animal cruelty. Animal Control officials have alleged that the animals were kept in deplorable conditions, including being exposed to large amounts of urine and feces, with a lack of food and water.Officials also alleged that some of the animals were sick. But Kyrklund has argued that many of the animals that were old and sickly resided there because the shelter had been unable to find them homes.She has also defended the shelter's conditions, and questioned why the city would need "Let the killing begin," Kyrklund said in response to the expiration of the restraining order."It will be interesting to see how many they deem so deplorable that they have to kill (them)."However, she said she has been told that the city's veterinarians have determined that none of the remaining animals need to be euthanized.
Press-Telegram - Noah's Ark supporters rally
It has been prohibited from euthanizing any of them after Noah's Ark owner Alexia Kyrklund won a temporary restraining order against the city. The order expires Friday, the day after city investigators plan to present their findings to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.Kyrklund - who was arrested Aug. 23 on suspicion of animal cruelty - has requested a hearing to challenge the seizure. Lt. Tonya Elliott said Animal Control has no problem with Noah's Ark supporters demonstrating, adding that the nonprofit's cats and dogs continue to receive grooming and care from the city agency. Kyrklund initially declined to speak to the Press-Telegram, expressing her displeasure at being "crucified" by the media and criticizing Animal Control's policies on euthanizing animals.Later on, she said that the accomplishments of her volunteer-run organization have been overlooked - such as finding homes for 2,400 animals last year, and Noah's Ark's past peaceful cooperation with Animal Control. But supporters continued to defend Kyrklund and her shelter on Saturday, saying that Animal Control exaggerated claims that the animals lived in such horrific environment. Some spoke with television media to praise Kyrklund.