by Katharine Dokken - July 28, 2016.
At left: Katharine with renowned tiger trainer Carlos Quinones, Mindy Patterson, President of The Cavalry Group, and exotic animal trainer Doug Terranova at the USDA Headquarters, Washington, DC, 2016.
All it takes is one bad Animal Control Officer to destroy an entire county. I've written extensively about Kim Wolsiffer and her illegal raid of the Upton Dog Training Center, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wolsiffer, as so many are doing, attended an animal rights sponsored law enforcement training seminar and then bragged to the media that she planned on ramping up prosecution of innocent animal owners by 25% with her new found knowledge. Animal rights activists Frankie Byrne and Candice Michelle Cianflone in Knox County are no different. They have now embroiled the county in two civil rights lawsuits for illegal raids of animal owners which the Knox County taxpayers are on the hook; just as Paul Upton has sued Wolsiffer on the same grounds.
On the 7th of May 2015, Byrne along with other Knox County officials illegally raided the home and horse farm of Mike Sullivan and his wife Debbie Buckner. At the time, they had no warrant and according to the Sullivan's federal civil rights lawsuit, they illegally obtained one afterwards with a fraudulent affidavit full of lies. Once Byrne was on the property, she invited her fellow animal rights extremists of Horse Haven of Tennessee to come into the farm and take a look around. Horse Haven as with many so-called rescues in America today was desperate to get their hands on more product to sell off through their rescue and fundraise off of fake sob stories sold to the public to get them to open their wallets.
"Byrne took the actions described herein for the improper purpose of seizing horse from the Plaintiffs to Horse Haven of Tennessee, so that Horse Haven could obtain additional funds through sale and care of said horses."
By no strange coincidence, Byrne and Cianflone are both members of the Horse Haven of Tennessee and Byrne recently served on their Board of Directors. Horse Haven of course, is also no stranger to controversy and court rooms. In my book, The Art of Terror: Inside the Animal Rights Movement, I covered Horse Haven's illegal raid of the Wheelon Stables in 2013. Horse Haven lost the Wheelon case and the Judge ruled that they had to return the illegally seized horses. A year later, seven of the horse owners whose horses were stolen by the Blout County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) and Horse Haven sued. As these private actors always do, Horse Haven disclaimed any responsibility in the case and passed the buck to their in-county conspirators.
In the lawsuit, they claim the Wheelon raid was conducted by the BCSPCA with "intentional, malicious and reckless" behavior and states the BCSPCA provided substandard care to their horses, and they were in worse condition when returned to their owners than when they were seized.
The Wheelon raid is not the only case that Horse Haven lost in 2013. They were also involved in the theft of seven horses and a mule from Lee Coleman Krisle in Robertson County, Tennessee. In that case, the Judge ruled the warrant was illegal and threw it out, ordering the animals returned. Guess what Horse Haven said?
Also by no strange coincidence, the two victims in this current Knox County case involving horse owners Debbie Buckner and Mike Sullivan previously filed complaints against the officers with the Knox County Internal Affairs Department. Instead of backing off, these thugs with badges raided the Sullivan farm again as a vicious form of payback. Byrne left after stealing six horses and a dog from the Sullivan's leaving numerous farm gates wide open. Other horses owned by the Sullivan's wandered out of the gates that Byrne left open and one was injured.
As part of her media campaign to discredit the Sullivan's and get away with stealing their horses, Byrne and Cianflone claimed their horses had failed the Equine Body Condition Scoring System, but as the inventor of the system, Dr. Don Henneke, PhD, has testified many times, the ECS was never meant and is not supposed to be used to seize animals or prosecute them for cruelty. The animal rights front loves using these Body Scoring Systems in animal cruelty cases because none of them are educated enough in animals to be able to see cruelty if it was right in front of them. Neither the horse system or the dog body scoring system were designed for use in law enforcement cases. That's not what those numbers mean! Of course Cianflone is not only not educated in horses, but she also personally hates the Sullivans and a local business named Sport Horse Arena and has sued them in the past and lost.
As for the dog that Byrne stole from the Sullivans'. The dog was under veterinary care after being in an accident that broke her leg and punctured her lung. The Sullivan's vet advised them that the leg could not be surgically set until after her lung healed so she could undergo anesthesia. Before that could happen, Byrne stole the dog. It's been over a year since and in that time Knox County Animal Control has never treated the dog's broken leg. As is typical in these cases, Knox County is guilty of more animal abuse and shear incompetence than the Sullivan's could have ever been guilty of.
Just a week later on May 13 2015, Byrne and Cianflone along with her pal Officer Jeanette Harris illegally snuck onto the Sullivan horse farm again to take notes on additional animals they wanted to steal. Security cameras at the Sullivan farm show Harris running over a chicken as she was leaving, leaving the injured chicken laying there.
Two days late they once again raided the Sullivan's farm and stole more of their animals including the chicken and two barn cats. When Debbie Buckner asked these thugs with badges if they had a warrant they arrested her and threw her into a patrol car. Panicking that they had been challenged on the legality of what they were doing, they pulled strings and got friendly local Magistrate Sharon Frankenburg to sign a warrant once again well after the raid started. Unfortunately for them, witnesses at the scene overheard Byrne stating that they needed to get their paperwork in order. Additionally, as Sullivan and Buckner point out in their federal civil rights lawsuit against Knox County, the perjured warrant just like the previous one was signed after the raid started and the affidavit to support the warrant contains numerous lies manufactured by Byrne.
During the raid one of the Officers of Knox County laughed in Mike Sullivan's face when he challenged what these out of control officers were doing and snarled that "a warrant trumps state law." He also threatened to kick in Mike's front door if he didn't open it. Frankie Byrne and her pals like so many animal rights zealots has no experience in the proper care of animals. During the second raid of his home, Mike Sullivan warned Byrne that of the two barn cats she was stealing from him, one had newborn kittens. Byrne couldn't be bothered to grab the kittens and just took their mother. Two days after the raid, Mike found the baby kittens starving to death in his barn and called up Knox County Animal Control and demanded they reunite the orphaned kittens with their stolen mother. Additionally, Cianflone seized the injured chicken that Officer Harris had run over two days before and said the chicken was "evidence" that the Sullivan's were cruel to animals. As if. Why isn't Officer Harris facing charges for running over the chicken and leaving it to die?
Meanwhile Debbie Buckner was living out a truly horrific experience that no free American should ever have to undergo. For daring to ask these thugs if they had a warrant, she was first thrown in the back of a patrol car then tossed into a un-air-conditioned prisoner transport van and driven to the local detention center. Once there, officers simply walked away and abandoned her in the van for two hours. Only in an animal rights dominated America is it a felony punishable by a public hanging if you leave a dog alone in a hot car, but a human? Collective shrug.
"During that time the heat inside the compartment rose dramatically. The heat caused Mrs. Buckner to sweat sufficient to soak her clothes. Mrs. Buckner yelled for relief and fresh air, but was not heard or was ignored. Mrs. Buckner began to believe that she had been left there and was going to die of heat stroke. A video camera was in the compartment with Mrs. Buckner. When she was finally removed from the compartment Mrs. Buckner fell out of the van from weakness. Later, as part of in-processing, Defendant Officer Frye asked Mrs. Buckner if she had ever lost consciousness. Mrs. Buckner replied that she might have when she was taken out of the van compartment. Officer Frye responded in a dismissive and angry tone, "That's just heat exhaustion."
If this experience wasn't horrific enough, Debbie needed to use the rest room. She notified officers at her home, when she was transported to jail and all during her processing that she needed to go the bathroom. Denied this fundamental human right for hours at end, completely humiliated she was finally forced to urinate on herself when she couldn't hold it any more.
"Officer Frye refused to allow her to use the restroom. Several hours after her arrest, while locked up at the detention center, Mrs. Buckner lost control of her bladder and soiled her clothes. Officer Frye then yelled "The bitch just pissed on the floor!""
This isn't the first time I've covered the illegal and brutal actions of Knox County Animal Control Officer Frankie Byrne. She's also a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit over her illegal raid of a poodle dog breeder in 2015. In the case of Sara Jane Tinker, Frankie Byrne was looking to seize her purebred poodle dogs because her pals at the multi-million dollar grossing Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville were out of dogs to sell and were desperate to raise more funds. Sound familiar? Almost all of the animal raids taking place in America today are simply government agents looking to make a profit off of stolen animals under the moral guise of "rescuing" them. Byrne ran to the media and slandered Sara Jane Tinker calling her a puppy mill and charging her with animal cruelty. In court, the case fell to pieces and the Judge ordered all of the dogs returned.
"defendant Byrne took the actions described herein for the improper purpose of obtaining additional funds in support of the local animal shelter.....
[to obtain] media coverage which she believed would sway public opinion in support of legislation pending at the time in the Tennessee Legislature.....
[to force] the plaintiff to close her business....
[to cause] the plaintiff to lose her job, lose financing on her home, destroyed her reputation, and forced her to pay $1,700 in [extortion.].
The ongoing actions in Indiana and Tennessee are no different than the 2010 raid that Frederick County, Virginia officers conducted on horse breeder Gwen Pfouts. As I covered in my book, The Art of Terror; In Virginia, law enforcement conspired with thieves from a brand new fly by night local rescue to steal a herd of 18 Arabian horses because one was 'thin.' Of course she was thin. The mare had cancer. This same circle jerk of animal rights extremists are offering fake "Equine Cruelty Investigator Training" to local law enforcement using the same Henneke scale that has failed in court case after court case. After the raid, officers handed out the horses like party favors, while the Frederick County Prosecutor's Office had to go to West Virginia to find a dodgy veterinarian who was willing to testify against Virginia board certified equine certified expert and victim Gwen Pfouts. The Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine later fined the Prosecution's witness, Cheryl Detamore, for illegally practicing medicine in Virginia without a license or permit. Meanwhile Pfouts life was ruined by county authorities just so they could get away with stealing her valuable animals. Ultimately, Pfouts was not only convicted of animal cruelty but she also had to force Frederick County officials to accept 120 bales of hay from her to feed her horses that were starving to death while they were in the County's substandard care. It was Frederick County officials that were cruel to her horses, not Pfouts. Just as Knox County is doing the same to the Sullivan's stolen animals.
Meanwhile in Ohio, in the last month a champion Samoyed show dog breeder is fighting an illegal raid of her home and the theft of 19 show dogs and an elderly horse. Co-owners of the show dogs have gone to court to fight the case and are documenting the horrific conditions the local County Animal Shelter is keeping the pampered show dogs. The County would have you believe the owner was some sort of horrific cruel puppy mill, meanwhile they have raided four other animal owners in the last weeks and stole their animals. Why? To cover the county's budget shortfall. They are counting on the sale of the stolen show dogs to add money to their county coffers. All across America these cases are happening every single day in cities and towns near you. It will not stop until Americans rise up and fight back. Stop buying "rescued" animals. Almost all of them are a scam and not rescued from anything. You are simply buying a victim's stolen animals. Somewhere out there a family is mourning and missing the animal you bought under fraudulent conditions. Stop supporting the madness.