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Terry Cullen Update:

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Posted by: wireptile at Fri Mar 28 11:56:44 2014  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by wireptile ]  
   

"At the very start of what turned into a high profile, but drawn out prosecution of reptile expert Terry Cullen, police shot and killed two of his dogs, rare Tibetan mastiffs named Kong and Pogo.

Now, 17 months after the case against Cullen ended in a fizzle, his friend and associate -- who was also arrested, charged and prosecuted for months before officials dismissed all charges against her - has sued Milwaukee County, the city, several police officers and a sheriff's deputy in a coda to the strange saga.

Jane Flint (left, with Cullin in court in 2012) seeks actual and punitive damages for what she claims were repeated violations of her civil rights, starting with the killing of the dogs.

According to her lawsuit filed in Milwaukee federal court:

Police knew for about a week before they served a search warrant at a propery owned by Cullen, where Flint was staying, that there were four large dogs inside. The day of the search, Flint told detectives she would come home immediately from work to confine or remove the dogs before officers conducted the search for endangered reptiles, or could have a friend get the dogs sooner.

But officers, including members of a tactical team, did not wait. After they entered, they shot two of the dogs with assault rifles, shortly before Flint arrived. The surviving dogs, Mung and Shombu, were led out in catch nooses.

Contrary to Milwaukee police policy, no use of force report was ever written about the shooting of the dogs.

Meanwhile, officers arrested Flint, who spent 48 hours in jail, on charges of endangering or mistreating animals., until she was released on $15,000 bail. Four days later, she got the two surviving dogs back from animal control, after paying $322.

Two months later, Flint got two tickets for having turtles without DNR permits.

Her suit claims the police used excessive force during the raid that killed the dogs, and unreasonably detained her much longer than necessary to process her arrest. The real reason for the delay, the suit contends, was to try to get Cullen to turn himself in.

The raid and seizure of hundreds of reptiles (and rodents used as food for them) was prompted by an Illinois woman who told authorities that Cullen had assaulted her during a visit to one of his Milwaukee residences to discuss an intership with is reptile rescue and rehabilitation operation.

Many of the seized animals later died. Cullen blamed the hysteria of his case, and a lack of knowledge about the animals, many of them exotic snakes, lizard and alligators.

In 2012, prosecutors ackowleged the victim had serious credibility issues, and agreed to dismiss two related felonies and several misdemeanors related to Cullen's care and storage of the animals, in exchange for Cullen pleading no contest to fourth degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor.

Cullen, who said he case ruined him financially and damaged his international reputation among reptile experts, said afterward he planned to explore his legal options.

Though Cullen has described the killed dogs as his, Flint's lawsuit describes them as her dogs.

Flint is being represented by Andrea J. Farrell, a Madison attorney who focuses on police misconduct and animal rights. Farrell could not be reached Friday."
Dogs' slaying comes back to haunt police in Terry Cullen reptile raid


   

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