Tag Archives: Human behavior

“Most Wanted” case highlights link between human, animal cruelty, multiple rewards offered

12 Dec

Gazette Staff

The U.S. Marshals Service and The Humane Society of the United States are alerting the animal welfare community of a fugitive on the USMS’ 15 Most Wanted List and are offering rewards for her capture. The fugitive, Janet Barreto, is allegedly linked to multiple puppy mill operations and the homicide death of a toddler.

Barreto may be selling small breed puppies or “rehoming” dogs for a fee through online classified ads using several different aliases. She may also be selling these dogs in flea markets and parking lots anywhere in North America, including Texas, California and Mexico, advertising in both English and Spanish. She has been linked to at least two puppy mills in recent years and she and her husband Ramon, who is also wanted, are well known for selling small dogs such as Yorkies, Maltese and poodle mixes. Following the death of a little girl in her care by blunt force trauma, the Barretos have been on the run for about five years.

According to the USMS, officials found seven other small children extremely malnourished and living in squalor in the couple’s Mississippi home in 2008. The Barretos were also running a puppy mill behind the home with more than 180 dogs and 50 cats, many of them sick or injured and living in inhumane conditions.

Melanie Kahn, senior director of the puppy mills campaign for The HSUS, said: “Too often, the boundaries are wafer thin between cruelty to animals and cruelty to the most vulnerable members of our society, young children. We hope that the dedicated animal welfare community will be the missing link in finding these fugitives.”

William D. Snelson, assistant director for Investigative Operations of the USMS said: “Our collaboration with The HSUS provides a unique opportunity for the USMS to broaden public awareness of this 15 Most Wanted investigation. We hope this partnership will ultimately result in additional leads that help bring Barreto to justice, while highlighting the horrors of puppy mill operations.”

There are several rewards that are available if a successful tip leads to the Barretos’ capture. The USMS is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to Ramon and Janet Barreto’s arrest, and The HSUS offers a puppy mill tip line reward of up to $5,000 for successful prosecutions related to puppy mill cruelty.

Tipsters who may have information about the Barretos’ pet sales are urged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP. Those with general information on the location of Janet and/or Ramon Barreto, please call the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102 or email usms.wanted@usdoj.gov.

Background Information

  • In 2012, the Barretos resurfaced in Southern California, but were evicted from their rental property due to complaints about the noise and smell of animals.
  • When the Barretos fled California in June 2012, witnesses report that they had at least 10 dirty, neglected and malnourished dogs crammed in a cage in the back of their van.
  • Investigators were able to track the sale of several dogs through ads the Barretos placed before they fled California, but do not know what became of the dogs they still had in their possession.
  • The seven surviving children and the animals found by the USMS at the Mississippi home were placed with new families for care and treatment.

    woman wanted for child murder/animal abuse

    Name: Janet Killough BARRETO
    Alias: Janet KILLOUGH, Janet TORRES, Jeanie SEALE, Dealie HARRIS,
    Victoria LOPEZ, Vicky LOPEZ, Vicky ULLOA, Vicky CHRISTIAN,
    Vicky SMITH, Vicky Sara ULLOA

State appeals tobacco arbitration ruling

5 Dec

INDIANAPOLIS — Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office appealed the recent arbitration panel ruling that reduces by $62.8 million the amount tobacco companies pay to Indiana to offset the costs of smoking-related illnesses.
As the lawyer for State government, Zoeller contends the arbitration panel of three retired federal judges exceeded their authority under law and the process they used prejudiced Indiana’s case. The panel unfairly judged Indiana by using a new legal definition they created after the fact and imposed retroactively; and the panel based their ruling on erroneous findings and disregarded the State’s own laws. After consulting with the legislative and executive branches, Zoeller’s office today appealed the arbitration panel’s ruling by filing a “motion to vacate” in Marion County Civil Superior Court in Indianapolis. That court retains jurisdiction over the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between Indiana and the major tobacco companies, and has jurisdiction to hear this appeal of the arbitration panel’s ruling.
Zoeller’s office asks the Marion County court to vacate the arbitration panel’s entire award, or, in the alternative, modify the amount received. Zoeller seeks a reallocation of the amount tobacco companies pay Indiana and other states, so that Indiana would receive an amount closer to the $131.2 million payment projected and not the $68.4 million Indiana would otherwise receive next April as a result of the panel’s actions. Settlement monies that tobacco companies pay Indiana under the MSA indirectly reimburse the State for the medical costs to taxpayers of smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema; and the funds are used for tobacco-cessation efforts.
“Fifteen years after signing the Master Settlement Agreement that was intended to bring some closure to the issue, the big tobacco companies continue to wage a legal battle against Indiana and other states to reduce their settlement payment for the consequences of their product on the costs of health care for our citizens. Triggered by the tobacco companies themselves, this arbitration process was extremely complex, and the panel’s fundamentally flawed ruling treated Indiana unfairly compared to similar states. Through this legal action we seek ultimately to restore the tobacco payments to Indiana to more equitable levels,” Attorney General Zoeller said.
At issue in the arbitration panel’s hearings was how “diligently” Indiana enforced the MSA in 2003. In the motion, Indiana objects strenuously to the arbitration panel’s creating a new definition of “diligent enforcement” after more than a year of hearings were complete and applying it retroactively long after Indiana had finished presenting its case. Moreover, 20 other states that settled rather than continue with the laborious arbitration process were not held to the newly-created “diligent enforcement” standard Indiana was subjected to. Their settlement also adversely affected the allocation of payment reductions to non-settling states. The motion notes the panel got basic facts wrong in their analysis of enforcement efforts Indiana officials undertook going back to 2002. See this excerpt from page 24 of the motion to vacate:
“In addition to irrationally faulting Indiana for things it did not do (incorrectly asserting that it did not establish its Tobacco Enforcement Unit until October 2003) and not acknowledging the many positive things it did do (filing 14 lawsuits when other states filed none), the panel manifestly disregarded the very framework it used to determine whether a state was diligent or not. Thus, the panel applied its own factors in an entirely arbitrary and internally inconsistent fashion, or departed from them entirely.”
A hearing date has not yet been scheduled on the state’s motion to vacate. Among the defendants are the major tobacco companies often referred to as the “Participating Manufacturers” or PMs including the corporate parent of Philip Morris Tobacco Company, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Lorillard Tobacco Company and several other cigarette manufacturers.

Halloween Safety Tips

24 Oct

indianaflagThe Indiana State Police would like to remind parents of a few safety tips to observe during the Halloween holiday. Parents and children will be out in full force next week trick-or-treating and the Indiana State Police would like to remind parents that observing just a few rules will help can make the evening both fun and safe.
Costume Tips-
•Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
•Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks often obstruct a child’s vision, which makes tasks like crossing the street and going up and down stairs dangerous.
•Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.Trick or Treating-
•Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they will be.
•Instruct children to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
•Encourage children to trick-or-treat while it’s still light out. If children are out after dark, make sure they have flashlights and travel on well lighted streets.
•Remind children not to enter the homes or cars of strangers.
•Follow your communities trick-or-treating hours.

Treats-
•Remind children not to eat any of their treats until they get home.
•Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
•Only eat unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Remember to inspect fruits
indianaflag

Additionally, many communities, schools and churches offer children safe alternatives to trick-or-treating designed to keep children safely within parents’ view. Some hospitals and schools allow children to trick-or-treat by going from room to room virtually eliminating the dangers associated with being out walking on the street after dark.