The case against a Hurley dog breeder is in limbo now that the raid on his property was ruled illegal. A Yankton judge ruled that 172 dogs were taken illegally from Dan Christensen's property because Second Chance Rescue Center of Sioux Falls didn't tell the judge the dogs appeared to be okay just days earlier.
The Humane Society of the United States was also involved in seizing the dogs from Christensen's property. The HSUS was actually sitting at the Turner County Fairgrounds the day Rosey Quinn of Second Chance Rescue Center went to ask a judge to issue the warrant to raid Dan Christensen's property. Ben Dunsmoor:
Were you aware Second Chance didn't have a warrant when you showed up that day?
"The request that was made to us was specifically for handling animals and so that is what we come in under was that an actual request for physically handling those animals, and not developing the case," Senior Director of the HSUS Puppy Mills campaign Stephanie Shain said.
Tuesday, the HSUS told KELOLAND News it was simply asked by Second Chance to help with the removal of Christensen's 172 dogs and did not have any involvement in the case, obtaining the warrant or making sure what they were doing that day was legal. But back in September, they said they were playing a role in the case.
"We're collecting evidence; we're safely and humanely removing them. Some animals may be fractious. We're providing the animals with all the necessary medical care and the sheltering personnel. Sheltering personnel for 172 dogs is dozens and dozens of people scheduled on a regular daily basis," Scotlund Haisley of the HSUS said on September 3, 2009.
But HSUS has been involved in cases that have been tossed out of court before. Just last August, a federal lawsuit against a dog broker in Missouri accused of buying dogs from puppy mills and selling them to national retail chain Petland was dismissed because there wasn't enough evidence. The lawsuit against the store will still move forward.
The raid at Christensen's property was one of 16 operations the HSUS was involved in during 2009. The organization says it helped remove a total of 3,000 dogs last year and says removing dogs is all it did in Turner County last September.
"We come in and work under the direction of the local agency or local law enforcement," Shain said.