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Tiger Ranch Owner Linda Bruno Aka Lin Marie Now Faces Felony Charges


Animals  (tags: Felony Charges, Hoarding, animalcruelty, crime, cruelty, death, investigation, law, rescued, sadness, suffering )

Informati
- 2246 days ago - pittsburghlive.com
he new charges include seven felony counts of tampering with public records -- namely rabies vaccination certificates for cats. There also are 10 misdemeanor charges: seven counts of forgery for allegedly signing a veterinarian's signature on the ...



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Information M. (0)
Saturday October 25, 2008, 1:26 pm

Copy & Paste:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/news/s_595180.html


Tiger Ranch lawyer calls new charges 'overkill'
By Celanie Polanick
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Prosecutors have issued more charges against Linda Bruno, the embattled owner of the now-defunct cat sanctuary known as Tiger Ranch in Frazer.

On March 13, police and humane officers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided the ranch to reveal more than 600 diseased, dying and dead felines, which resulted in previous charges including 604 counts of cruelty to animals.

Those included misdemeanor counts of willfully and maliciously killing, maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring a cat, as well as summary counts of cruelly ill-treating, beating, or otherwise abusing an animal, or neglecting the animal from care, food, water, clean shelter and veterinary care.

More charges were filed separately Thursday against Bruno, 45, who also goes by Lin Marie.

The new charges include seven felony counts of tampering with public records -- namely rabies vaccination certificates for cats. There also are 10 misdemeanor charges: seven counts of forgery for allegedly signing a veterinarian's signature on the documents and three for allegedly operating an unlicensed veterinary practice.

Bruno did not return a phone call placed to her home late Friday. Her home answering machine still greets callers with "Hello! Thank you for calling Tiger Ranch."

Her attorney, Ron Valasek, referred to the charges as "overkill," and said they won't change his client's all-encompassing plea of not guilty.

"Our response will be to vehemently deny any wrongdoing on the behalf of Lin Marie Bruno," he said. "It's very simple. We've maintained that from the beginning. At this point, it just seems the district attorney is just trying to overwhelm her with complaints."

The new criminal complaint identifies the veterinarian whose signature was forged as James Davidson, and alleges that while he was previously involved with Tiger Ranch, he stopped frequenting the place -- and signing its documents -- sometime before the forgery was committed.

Davidson told investigators he had held a vaccinating fundraiser at the Allegheny Township municipal building for Tiger Ranch, and that after the clinic was over, Bruno took the rest of the vaccination supplies home with her, since she had paid for them.

He also visited the place several times to give Bruno advice, but had never treated or vaccinated any animals for Tiger Ranch there or off-site.

Davidson could not be reached for comment late Friday.

The complaint implies Davidson's association with Bruno and her animals was limited and temporary, but her attorney said, "I don't think that's the case. I think his association has been from almost the beginning of Tiger Ranch through the raid. I'm not sure there's been any degradation of his services."

Bruno did not give inappropriate vaccinations to her cats, her lawyer said.

"I can tell you, (my client) has no certifications for the administration of any drugs to felines -- none of which I'm aware, but we haven't really had an opportunity to discuss it," Valasek said. "She has administered distemper shots, for example, which require no other certification."

As for the alleged forgeries, they didn't happen by Bruno's hand, Valasek said.

According to the complaint, Davidson told police that except for the signatures from one date, June 24, 2007, the "James Davidson" signatures in Bruno's records were not his.

Investigators also interviewed one of Tiger Ranch's customers, Holly Wood, who told them Bruno vaccinated her cats against rabies.

Wood brought her four cats to Bruno to be spayed, neutered and given their shots in August 2007. When she came back that night, Bruno told her they'd been treated off site, and later gave her records that bore what investigators say is Davidson's forged signature.

Six months later, the complaint states, she brought three cats back for rabies vaccinations -- and Bruno administered the shots to the cats there in her waiting room, while Wood held them.

According to the complaint, "Davidson was asked if he ever told (Bruno) that she was able to administer rabies vaccinations. He said that he never did that and that he would have assumed that she knew better."

Bruno's trial for the first set of charges is scheduled for Jan. 20 before Allegheny County Judge Jill E. Rangos in Pittsburgh.








 
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