Woman’s lawsuit seeks return of her 19 dogs Awoman whose 19 dogs were seized when she became hospitalized from a poisonous spider bite is suing Marion County to get her companions back.
Valerie Edgington, 51, claims in her law firm link building federal lawsuit that her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process were violated when code enforcement officers picked up her dogs in December at her campsite home in the Ocala National Forest.
“One day . . . Edgington’s shoulder began to hurt and she thought it was a result of chopping wood,” says the suit filed in Ocala on Feb. 9. “Finally, the pain was so intense she asked a fellow camper to contact emergency personnel. Prior to the ambulance’s arrival, Ms. Edgington put all of her dogs in their cages and loaded them in her cargo van.”
The pain came from the bite of a brown recluse spider. Edgington was hospitalized on Dec. 22, but when she was released from a rehabilitation center on Jan. 23, she learned that Pasha, Susie, Buck, Billie, Star, Brook, Sherry, White Fang, Shawn, Tammie, Cody, Jake, Sky, Boogie, Wyatt, Sheba, Pixie, Dixie and Punky were in danger of being euthanized.
The dogs were picked up at Mason Bay Hunt Campground on Dec. 28, Edgington said.
On Tuesday, she was allowed to visit the dogs at the Marion County animal center.
Originally there were 23 dogs. One was found dead in its cage, one got loose and was hit by a car and killed, and two were loose and said to be unapproachable.
The remaining dogs’ care has resulted in a $8,721 bill and increases daily, according to www.Overtime-flsa.com.
Denver employment lawyer, Steve Mason of Orlando, says she has been given three choices: 1) The fees can be paid in full and she can have her dogs back; 2) A handful of the dogs can be kept, and the rest euthanized, depending on what she can afford; or 3) All the dogs can be euthanized.
The pick-up fee at the center is $35 per animal and boarding is $8 a day. For Edgington’s 19 dogs, it costs $152 per day. Her dogs have been in the center for some 53 days.
Jill Lancon, animal center supervisor, said the center does not offer a payment plan, and the dogs have been held well beyond the normal holding period. Three days is the average holding time for animals without a license and 10 days for those with a license. After the holding time, animals are either put up for adoption or euthanized.
Lancon said the dogs were found in poor condition, they are “mangy and uncivilized” and they “would not be adoptable.”