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May 04, 2010 05:41 PM

Judge: Turner County Dogs Go Back To Owner

Parker, SD


It's a decision Turner County dog breeder Dan Christensen calls a huge victory.
  Not only has magistrate Judge Tami Bern ruled that the warrant used to seize 172 of Christensen's dogs was illegal, Tuesday, she decided Second Chance Rescue Center can't keep them.

The case dates back to September 2 when Second Chance Rescue Center and the Humane Society of the United States took the dogs from Hurley dog breeder Dan Christensen, claiming they were being abused and neglected. In February, Judge Tami Bern ruled that seizure was illegal, but last month, Second Chance argued a state law allows them to keep the dogs even without a warrant. Judge Bern denied that argument Tuesday.

The law Second Chance Rescue Center is referring to says a warrant is not necessary if any humane society in the state finds that an animal is so injured and diseased that it needs to be taken immediately.

In a ruling filed in Turner County Tuesday, Judge Bern said that the law does not apply in this case. That's because the law says the agency has to show a judge evidence for why they took the dogs after the seizure happens. Judge Bern says Second Chance has failed to show that evidence as well as cause for retaining custody of the dogs.

That's why she ruled none of the dogs can be used as evidence during a trial and that the dogs should be returned to their owner, Dan Christensen.

Christensen said he knew the raid was wrong from the beginning.

"Second Chance Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States stole my dogs under the direction of the Turner County Sheriff," Christensen told KELOLAND News.

As for when Christensen could get his dogs back that still could take awhile because there is still the possibility that prosecutors and Second Chance could appeal the ruling and keep the dogs while that process plays out. 

Review Judge Tami Bern's latest ruling
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