7.06.2008

Jazz's timeline: her theft from New Orleans by PawMatch, Tiffany's refusal to return her to Shalanda, the DNA evidence and the crooked Texas judge

First, I want to acknowledge Barbara Cotters as one of the hardest-working and most dedicated Katrina reunion volunteers from the beginning. She is the one who found the photos of Jazz posted on Andy Odam's PawMatch website. Andy is the man who stole Jazz out of Jefferson Feed and took her to Texas.

Like many of us, Barb felt overwhelmed at the sheer volume of pets and the magnitude of the disaster and rescue/reunion efforts, so she decided to focus on the Cocker Spaniels, the breed she is most familiar with. She created the Lost Katrina Cockers website with photos and information on many of the lost and found Cockers.

At the time that Andy stole Jazz from Jefferson Feed, she was safe and healthy in a crate at the temporary shelter. Her crate had an intake sheet firmly attached with duct tape, which contained her rescue address and vet notes indicating that she was healthy.

Most importantly, her crate was with the group of animals that had been seen by the vet and cleared to go to Lamar Dixon. Animals that were sick or injured were not being sent to Lamar at that time but were being held over for additional vet care.

Charlotte Bass, currently the Executive Director of ARNO, was rescuing pets and volunteering at Jeff Feed at the time, and remembers seeing Jazz.
She made this statement:

The dog was dehydrated, though not drastically, suffering from the heat...but not in bad shape at all compared to many of the dogs who went through the storm. Look, I saw animals before Katrina and then rescued the same animals...and even within the first 10 days after the storm they looked bad. There is no way what looked ill and crappy after Katrina looked the same before Katrina. The animal would have been dead if that were the case. The dog was matted, but it looked like a recent development... the hair was long enough that I would say it was groomed about six to eight weeks before Katrina. I only touched it through the front of the cage, and did not take the dog out of the kennel. There were no obvious infections or skin conditions or the animal would have been moved from the 'okay' pile to the 'in treatment' pile of kennels, which were away from the kennels okay to go to Lamar. The treatment kennels were kept there overnight at minimum, in the air conditioning, with a vet overseeing their care. Every single animal that came into Jefferson Feed was examined by the vet, Dr. Missy Jackson, a friend of mine. Dr. Jackson is employed at Southern Animal Foundation in New Orleans.

Understand that the temperature outside was 99 degrees at minimum... inside the houses it was 120 to 150 degrees depending on how well shut the house was. Very old houses, built in the Victorian days, with real high ceilings were only at about 120-130. Newer structures, from 1920 on, were hell houses... without tall ceilings for the heat to rise to, and with tighter closures. Those were at minimum 150 degrees.

How long can an animal stay alive in a car which will reach 180 degrees in twenty minutes in the oppressive heat of the south?

I can tell you this, there was definitely an intake form duct taped to the top of the cocker's kennel. The boys who delivered the donations, from an animal organization in Austin, were just volunteers. I don't know why they took the dog, or why the dog was let go in their hands.

Jazz Timeline

August 27, 2005
Shalanda Augillard leaves her home in Kenner, La., and takes her eight-year-old cocker spaniel, Jazz, to her parents’ home on A.P. Tureaud in New Orleans. She is on her way to work and knows it will be a long shift as they prepare for the hurricane. Jazz frequently stayed with the Augillards when Shalanda was at work. Even though the family initially considered evacuating New Orleans, as they and many New Orleanians had done many times before, they decided to stay because they did not want to leave without Shalanda. However, they did move their vehicles to higher ground and made sure they had adequate supplies.

August 28, 2005
After working through the night, Shalanda gets off work early Sunday morning and goes home to pack, then goes to her parents’ home. They spend the afternoon making sure they and their neighbors and friends are prepared. Shalanda leaves to take some supplies to a friend west of them and then is unable to get back to her parents’ home because a curfew had been put into effect earlier than expected.

August 29, 2005
In the very early morning, Hurricane Katrina makes landfall just east of New Orleans. Within hours, the first of many levees break and parts of the city begin to flood. The Augillards’ home sustains little damage and no flooding. Phone service is disrupted, and the Augillards are not able to contact each other.

August 29 -September 1, 2005
The Augillards provide a refuge for neighbors, several of them elderly people with no families.

September 1, 2005
The National Guard evacuates the family. As Shalanda’s mother tries to board the boat with Jazz in her arms, the Guard orders her to leave the dog behind. She places Jazz in their second-floor apartment with lots of water, food, and access to a well-ventilated porch, thinking they will return soon. CBS reporter John Roberts is on the boat with the Guard.

September 1, 2005
Shalanda succeeds in contacting her parents and learns that they were forced to leave Jazz behind.

September 8, 2005
Shalanda's employer, which never suspended operations, sent teams to survey hard-hit areas to determine the most efficient way to continue service. Shalanda is assigned to survey the area in which her parents live and goes to her parents’ home. The door has been kicked out, the home has been ransacked, and the building has been marked with the date of September 7th . Jazz is not there.

September 9, 2005
Shalanda makes the first of many trips to Lamar-Dixon to look for Jazz, who needed her medication for a thyroid condition. She inputs all of Jazz’s information on Petfinders.com.

September 11, 2005
Andy Odam of PawMatch and Thomas Darnell of Rivers & Reefs leave Austin with a truckload of supplies. They are told by a representative of the Louisiana SPCA that they must deliver the supplies to Jefferson Feed Store, an official animal triage shelter operated by the Louisiana SPCA to process animals. The store was staffed by many volunteers, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

September 12, 2005
A black cocker spaniel appears at the Jefferson Feed Store. The spaniel had been examined by a veterinarian and had documentation attached to her crate. No one reported seeing any other cocker spaniels that day.
See statement below from Charlotte Bass for the full account.

September 12, 2005
After being told not to remove any animals from the Jefferson Feed Store, Andy Odam steals the black Cocker and transports her back to Austin in violation of protocol established by the U.S. Humane Society for dealing with animals displaced by Katrina.

September 12, 2005
Jennifer Hays, then a PawMatch board member, posts information about the black cocker spaniel on the PawMatch blog before Odam returns to Austin, stating that he is bringing a cocker spaniel with him and that sponsorships benefiting Jefferson Feed Store will be available. In an earlier posting, Hays stated that PawMatch is a 501(c) (3) organization, which it was not.

September 13, 2005
The PawMatch blog recounts Odam’s return to Austin with a black cocker spaniel. Odam later stated in his deposition that he took the dog so that he could provide her immediate medical care and so that he could put a face on his rescue efforts. A picture of the dog appeared on the blog right above a PayPal button.

September 14, 2005
Andy Odam and PawMatch place the black cocker spaniel in foster care with Catherine Danie of ARF, an animal rescue group, in Wimberley. At the time of placement, Odam had not provided any medical care for the dog.

September 15, 2005
Another ARF volunteer takes Jazz to veterinarian Dr. Thomas House at San Marcos Veterinary Clinic. Dr. House exams Jazz and determines that she has numerous health issues that are all treatable. His tests indicate that her urine contains triple phosphate crystals and that she is Heartworm NEGATIVE. He suspects that she has bladder stones and that she is hypothyroid. The ARF volunteer declines any further treatment.

September 19, 2005
PawMatch posts that the cocker spaniel needs a new foster home.

September 25, 2005
Tiffany Madura agrees to foster the black cocker spaniel.

September 28, 2005
Madura takes the dog to Dr. Barrett Donop at Oak Springs Veterinary Hospital in Austin. The dog had received no veterinary care in the interim. If this is Jazz, she has now been without her medication (for thyroid problems and urine crystals) for almost a month. Dr. Donop says that there is no evidence of stones. He does not check her thyroid.

November 2, 2005
The dog undergoes surgery for removal of bladder stones at Oak Springs Veterinary Clinic.

December 27, 2005
Barbara Cotters sees the PawMatch web site, which has photos of a black cocker spaniel on the home page, along with a link to contribute to PawMatch through PayPal. Barbara believes that the dog is Jazz and sends the photos and link to Shalanda who notices that the dog has white markings on her mouth that are very similar to Jazz's distinctive white markings.

December 27, 2005
Shalanda contacts Odam, who refuses to let her see the dog.

January – April, 2006
Shalanda continues her attempts to persuade Andy Odam to allow her access to the dog on his web site. She provides the medical records that she was able to retrieve from Jazz’s veterinarians (their clinics had been destroyed by Katrina) to Louisiana Deputy Attorney General Mimi Hunley, who tries to negotiate a meeting between Augillard and Odam. Odam cuts off contact with Hunley.

March, 2006 – May, 2006
Many people involved in animal rescue throughout the United States try to arrange a meeting between Shalanda, Odam, and Madura. It is later learned that Madura used at least three different user names to post information discouraging the return of the cocker spaniel to anyone; under one of those names, she asked Barbara Cotters to remove all of the information she posted on her website about the PawMatch cocker spaniel, contending that the dog should not be returned. Some rescue people contacted attorney Mimi Smith, in Alpine who coordinated the initiation of legal proceedings.

May 5, 2006
Shalanda obtains a temporary restraining order from the District Court of Hays County to have the cocker spaniel removed from Madura’s home and placed in a kennel at Augillard’s expense. Mimi Smith and Austin attorney Susan Philips, brought in by Smith as local counsel, meet with a Hays County constable who instructs them on the procedure to be followed in enforcing the court’s order. The constable and a deputy remove the dog from Madura’s home and her property and then transfer her to Smith. A confused-looking and apprehensive dog immediately begins wagging her tail and wriggling when she is called “Jazz.” , With the constable leading the way, Smith, and Philips, drive the dog to where Augillard, her mother, and a friend were waiting. Before the car stops, with the windows and doors still closed, the dog starts barking frantically and charges out of the car the moment the door is opened. She runs in circles around Augillard and her mother and friend, all of whom have tears running down their faces. For the first time since the hurricane, Shalanda is allowed to see Jazz. She, her mother, and her friend positively identify the dog as Jazz.

They then drive to a nearby kennel, the constable still leading the way, with Jazz riding in Susan Philips’ car, pursuant to the court order and Augillard behind in her car. When Augillard gets out of her car at the kennel, Jazz jumps in and takes her place on the center console, where she always loved to ride. Shalanda lifts Jazz out of the car and says it would be too painful to spend any more time with her, thinking that she would be taking Jazz home on May 16, after the hearing for the preliminary injunction. Shalanda then prepays the kennel costs while Mimi Smith stays with Jazz. Shalanda, her mother and her friend then begin the drive back to New Orleans.

May 5 -30, 2006
Jazz is held at a kennel at Shalanda’s expense.

May 16, 2006
The first of two parts of the preliminary injunction hearing is held in San Marcos in front of Judge Bill Henry, and Shalanda is in attendance. The temporary restraining order is extended two weeks after the hearing is cut short due to an infestation of tropical mites in the courthouse.

May 30, 2006
When the preliminary injunction hearing resumes, Judge Henry is not available. Because Augillard has again traveled to Austin and is eager to take Jazz home, she agrees to a visiting judge, Judge Paul Davis, who is unfamiliar with the case. This hearing is also cut short due to the mite infestation. The Court denies Shalanda’s motion for a preliminary injunction and orders, among other things, that Jazz be returned to Madura because the judge does not want her to have to stay in a kennel any longer. He orders the parties to arrange for DNA comparison testing and to return to the court once the results are received.

June 2, 2006
Two sweaters and a hairbrush belonging to Jazz are sent to Dr. Joy Halverson, a veterinary geneticist at QuestGen Forensics in Davis, CA. Dr. Halverson is a nationally respected DNA expert who performs DNA tests on dogs to verify pedigrees for the American Kennel Club and provides court testimony in human criminal cases.

June 7, 2006
Dr. Halverson reports that even though she found hairs on the sweaters, there is inadequate amplification. She does, however, find a serum exudate encrusted at the base of the bristles of the brush that yields adequate DNA. She then requests a reference sample from the dog in Texas.

June 13, 2006
Attorney for Madura files a motion for a protective order, arguing that Jazz should not be made available for DNA sampling because Augillard, Philips and Smith had access to her on May 5, 2006.

June 15, 2006
Even though Judge Davis had ordered the DNA testing, an additional hearing is required to compel Madura to produce the dog for DNA sampling. Judge Henry orders the defendants to produce the dog within one month; Shalanda is at the hearing.

July 14, 2006
DNA samples are taken from the cocker spaniel by Thomas Beckett, DVM, in the presence of Dr. Donop at Oak Springs Veterinary Clinic . The samples were sealed by Dr. Beckett in the presence of Dr. Donop and Susan Philips. The envelopes were signed by both Dr. Beckett and Dr. Donop and sent to Dr. Halverson. Once more, Shalanda makes the trip from New Orleans to Central Texas.

July 19, 2006
Dr. Halverson concludes that the samples from the hairbrush are from the same dog that the samples were taken from in Texas, stating that “with scientific certainty, I can unequivocally say the samples came from the same dog.”

August 8, 2006
A hearing is held to determine if the Court would allow Dr. Halverson to testify by telephone. The request is denied. Shalanda attends the hearing.

September 28, 2006
Dr. Halverson is deposed in Sacramento, CA.

October 19, 2006
Dr. Halverson travels from California to testify at a hearing regarding the DNA test results. Shalanda comes from New Orleans to attend the hearing. Both are present in the courtroom when the hearing is canceled. The clerk reschedules the hearing for December 12.

December 12, 2006
Dr. Halverson and Shalanda again travel to Austin for another hearing to introduce the DNA results by testimony from Dr. Halverson in order for the Court to reconsider its decision of May 30, 2006, which returned Jazz to Madura.. Dr. Halverson testifies that “typically, when we have a 17 marker DNA match in a case, the likelihood ratio exceeds a trillion. It’s a trillion times more likely that the match occurred because the DNA came from the same dog as that it came to happen by random chance. Later on in the report, further on, I actually did the calculation, and the number gets –– the actual number is much higher … ten to the 16th, which is a quadrillion or something like that. In a nutshell. it means that to a very, very, very high degree of scientific certainty the samples match because they came from the same dog.” Judge Henry makes no findings, denies the request that Jazz be returned to the kennel pending trial, and orders the parties to seven hours of mediation.

January 17, 2007
The parties mediate for four hours.

February 14, 2007
The parties mediate for an additional three hours but do not reach an agreement.

March 2007
To provide even more proof that Jazz and the dog in Texas are the same dog and to refute the vague inferences that samples had been tampered with, AKC records are obtained by subpoena of all of the litters born to the mother of Jazz. A half-sister of Jazz who was born a year after Jazz from a different sire is found in Virginia. Dr. Halverson compares the DNA from the Virginia dog with the DNA of the Texas dog and determines that they, too, are both related to the same female.

April 2007
Laura Maloney, director of the Louisiana SPCA, writes to Andy Odam, requesting the immediate return of the cocker spaniel he removed from Jefferson Feed Store in violation of established protocol. Odam never responds to that letter.

June 12-13, 2007
Trial is held in Hays County District Court in San Marcos before Judge Henry. The parties are limited to a total of four hours for the trial, and Shalanda’s attorneys are unable to call eight of her witnesses. Dr. Halverson was present and repeated her testimony from December.

June 29, 2007
Judge Henry faxes a letter to counsel stating that the Court renders judgment in favor of Madura. No explanation is provided.

July 20, 2007
Judge Henry releases his findings of fact, contending that the testimony of Augillard’s witnesses was not credible and alleging that the DNA evidence had a “high potential for tampering” even though no evidence of tampering was ever introduced.

July 30, 2007
Susan Philips files a motion for a new trial.

September 17, 2007
Shalanda’s attorney files a notice of appeal.

July, 2008
Appeals Court overturns the trial Judge Henry's asinine decision and Shalanda is reunited with Jazz almost three years after Katrina.


1 comment:

Barbara said...

Anita looks really great! You have a wonderful way of putting everything in perspective, this was a difficult case with a lot of things going on behind the scenes, especially with Tiffany being part of the reunification process.
You really exposed Tiffany for how she and Andy schemed to keep Jazz from Shalanda. Everyone should know what she did and this finally puts the evidence front and center for them to decide for themselves.
Laura Strickland Samoasmom on Nola worked along side me and with Shalanda many months looking for Jazz and giving Shalanda advice. She was a great resource searching out and putting the pieces together about the cocker Tiffany posted about on Nola that she was picking up.
Anita you have done so much to help reunite pets and always so supportive and upbeat you should be very proud of the help you have provided to reunite so many by getting the facts out. Thanks so much for telling Shalanda's story.