Oct 2, 2009: Convicted Animal Abuser Released 3 Months Early
MOJAVE UPDATE: Bemis & Trapani Sentenced
Hoarder Cindy Bemis and her cohort Cynthia Trapani, were finally sentenced on July 8th, at the Bakersfield Courthouse in Kern County. As expected, the punishment did not meet the crime. Bemis, who was handed a one year jail term, will probably be released as early as January. Trapani, who was given only 90 days, will be released within days.
Judge Twisselman, stating that the court distinguishes between intent to abuse, and abuse through neglect, chose the latter distinction. He took into consideration the fact that there were no prior felony convictions (only misdemeanors) and the defendants age (63 and 48) Trapani lawyer, Richard Rivera, submitted letters from the defendants Doctor and Mother, stating that her mental illness would be better treated outside of a jail environment. The Judge did reference a very large file of letters written in support of a tough sentence, which undoubtedly helped influence the strict 5 year probation to run concurrent with the sentence for both defendants:
If probation is violated in anyway, it will lead to a much stiffer sentence in State Prison (3- 4 years)
Of course, they can always move to another State and begin again. Recidivism rates for hoarders is 100%....More
May 21, 2009: Last Chance for Animals Given custody of Bemis' dogs. Click below to see video, volunteer or make a donation...
"...Last Chance for Animals (LCA) Special Investigative Unit (SIU), has been surveilling a hoarding situation in Mojave, CA. The original owners of the property have been convicted on 20 counts of combined animal cruelty charges. They are being held without bail, pending sentencing.
There are over 200 animals on this property that need to be rescued ASAP! LCA has been given sole authorization by the owner to remove the animals and has already saved 65 dogs and 2 cats. There are still approximately 200 animals that need to be taken off the property!..."
Please contact Kim Sill for details regarding the rescue at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rescue organizations must bring proof of 501 (c) 3 nonprofit status.Please donate online to LCA at the link below and put "Mojave Dogs" in the comment box or call 310-271-6096 x 26.
By James BurgerBemis popped into the public eye in 2003 after a trailer fire on the East Trotter Avenue property where she houses her rescue burned down and killed a number of her dogs.
That launched a long series of battles with local animal control officers that ended in animal abuse charges against her. The long delayed court case ended in victory for Kern County Animal Control when a jury convicted Bemis on 17 felony counts of animal cruelty.
Trapani, who pushed an animal control officer during an inspection of the East Trotter Avenue property and was tazered by Sheriff's officials, was convicted of six felony counts of animal cruelty. A felony assault charge, tied to the pushing incident, was reduced to a misdemeanor conviction by the jury.
Bemis and Trapani are currently in jail pending a June 17 sentencing hearing..."
Kern County Animal Control Director Guy Shaw said the Bemis case, the department's first major animal abuse cases against a professed animal rescue group, has taught the department a lot about investigating, documenting and bringing such a case forward to the District Attorney for prosecution.
Shaw said the county knows about other potential abuse cases and will be doing its best to bring animal abusers to justice.
"We’re going to bring these cases forward. It’s something we’re going to absolutely do — find these cases and bring them forward," he said. "We know what needs to be done to win a trial."
As for the animals that remain on the East Trotter property, Shaw said the department is trying to find out what it can do to make sure the animals are cared for. During the case, Bemis won an injunction keeping the Sheriff's Department and Animal Control off her property.
Shaw said he's trying to get direction from the District Attorney about how they can take over care of Bemis' animals..." More
January 5, 2009: Hoarder’s Dogs Ready for Foster Homes after 3-Year Life in Shelters
By Roni Raczkowski, Best Friends Network Volunteer
Legal delays over hoarder case put 33 dogs behind bars; court still holds out on prospect of “forever” homes
As if the county shelters do not have enough to deal with, the fate of more than 30 dogs that have been living in four area shelters for nearly three years has hung in the balance while they live caged shelter lives. Their only crime was to be on Cindy Bemis’ property during a hoarding raid, and now they must wait as the legal cat and mouse game is played out between Bemis and Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino counties. Meanwhile, the shelters are overflowing due to overpopulation, economic crises, foreclosures and animals who lost their homes in other ways.
Who Is Cindy Bemis?
Cindy Bemis has been cited with various offenses ranging from animal cruelty to hoarding, dating back to January 2003. Specific details of the charges against her, Vince Rhodes, and Cynthia Trapani can be found on Pet-Abuse website. Hundreds of dogs have suffered or been euthanized due to inhumane living conditions at various properties. Even now, the fate of almost 200 dogs at Bemis’ Mojave compound hangs in the balance as they weather a cold and snowy winter while legal wrangling between Bemis’s attorney and the county continues..." More
Feb 27, 2009: A Dire Emergency: The Bemis Dogs
June 6, 2008: Two arrested in Mojave animal cruelty indictment
March 4, 2008: Officers raid home of alleged animal hoarder