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Coupal Deserves Apology


So what you’re telling us is that after Animal Control authorities took Sandy Coupal’s animals, made up a charge that doesn’t exist called “hoarding,” charged her with it, and were made to drop the charge, they are now trying to get rid of all the animals that were living peacefully with Ms. Coupal before they took them from her?

Moreover, they’re asking members of the community to take responsibility for the animals, raising the threat of euthanasia because Animal Control can’t keep them anymore? They never could keep them.

Out of compassion, Sandy Coupal offered sanctuary to animals that others could not or would not keep, and Animal Control would not accept. She did this on her own time with her own money, for people like me. When I was confronted with the need to find another home for my little rooster and worrying how I could protect him from those who were more than happy too take him to feed to their pythons, I was hugely relieved when I met Sandy Coupal.

After we took a little walk around her place, I left my rooster with her, and I was buoyed by Ms. Coupal’s invitation to visit him whenever I wanted and by the knowledge that she would care for him well. Less than a month later, Sandy Coupal’s place was raided and all of her animals confiscated.

Months (funded by tax payers’ dollars) went by in which no evidence could be found to indicate that Ms. Coupal had committed any crime. Meanwhile, the birds languished at Animal Control in cages stacked on top of each other. Ms. Coupal was not allowed to visit her birds but continued to bring feed for them throughout the entire duration of the investigation and legal proceedings. When the birds lived with Ms. Coupal, they died of natural causes in their old age and perhaps three would die in a year. During the six months that they were in the custody of Animal Control before the charges were dropped, 38 died or had to be euthanized due to illness, parasite infestation, broken bones, and stress.

Eventually, Animal Control had to drop the charges against Ms. Coupal. You’d think they might have apologized or somehow acknowledged the damage that had been done to her and the animals. Instead, Ms. Coupal was told she could take some — but not all — of her birds back and that she would have to submit to periodic unannounced inspections of her property. Imagine yourself in her place. What would you do? Sandy Coupal left town. I don’t blame her. This is how we thank her for providing us with a service that no one else would take on. Now, who do you think has really committed a crime here?

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