Tuesday, December 14, 2010
ASPCA's Melinda Merck Checks in at Smackdown Hotel
Forensic Puppy Thief
No Damn Expert
Florida Circuit Judge Kicks Merck to the Curb
Blue Dog State readers will remember the key role Merck played in the shameful seizure of Joe Woodall's dogs.
Merck okayed the impoundment of Woodall's healthy, happy dogs for "evaluation on suspicion of dogfighting."
The dogs were dumped in a county animal control facility 250 miles from Woodall's home. No "evaluation" was ever conducted. Merck and the rest of the animal extremist private army that raided Joe Woodall never looked back.
It took Joe eight weeks, and more than he could afford in attorney's fees, to secure the return of his dogs. Woodall was never charged with a crime, but his life changed forever.
Cats and "professional", "serial" cat killers
Leveraging her "forensic" credentials as she ascends the animal extremist hierarchy, Merck continues to play a critical role in the seizure of animals on suspicion of heinous crimes and sending unknown quantities of dogs to their deaths based on her "expert" opinion that they were used in dogfighting.
You can fool some of the people all of the time. . .
In Miami-Dade, coverage of the "serial cat killer" responsible for the "surgical evisceration" of 19 pets alternately thrilled and terrorized South Florida residents for months as a young man faced allegations of criminally depraved behavior. The Discovery Channel just couldn't get enough of the story.
18-year-old Tyler Weinman endured house arrest, an electronic monitoring device, court-ordered psychiatric evaluations, and heavy bond requirements. He received death threats, and he faced 158 years in prison if convicted.
As the country's foremost "forensic animal expert" Merck told authorities that in her opinion the dead cats had been cruelly sliced apart with sharp instrument, presenting in a stereotypically deviant way. The ASPCA's other "authority", Randall Lockwood, added a little more fuel to the twisted fire, as he explained that . . .
. . .cruelty toward cats, as opposed to other animals, can fulfill a deeper need for control. Cats, unlike dogs, can be more difficult to control. They don't come when they're called and are often more independent (said Dr. Randall Lockwood of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and author of "Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty").
Things just couldn't have been sicker, according to the ASPCA.
Except the charges against Tyler Weinman quickly fell to pieces. An expert brought in by the defense to examine the cat remains peeled back the fur on the corpses, and found bite marks. Not scalpel marks.
Instead of a demented cat-hating psycho on the loose, the cats were killed by the usual suspects: animal predators. "Forensic expert" Merck was forced to change her interpretation of the evidence and agree with the defense's witness.
Charges against the defendant were quickly dropped.
Judge fed up with imaginary serial cat killers and phantom dog rapists
Only two weeks later, in considering the Armand Pacher dog-sexploitation charges, Judge Trawick was outspoken in his rejection of Merck's expertise:
"She doesn't have any credibility with me right now," Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick warned a prosecutor during a pretrial hearing. . . If you're going to rely upon her, she's going to have to come to this courtroom and testify. . .I will judge her credibility based upon what I see from the witness stand."
Pacher, a retired business executive in poor health and with no prior criminal record, made an off-colored joke when he brought his Great Dane in to a University of Florida veterinary clinic.
Pacher's stupid joke about having sex with his dog triggered (what else?) a forensic investigation by Melinda Merck. His attorney described a police raid "in full tactical gear and armed with automatic weapons, ransacking the high-rise condo and seizing "dog leashes, collars, grooming tools, as well as computers, files, photos, documents, videos and virtually everything else that could be physically removed from the defendant's apartment.''
The cops based themselves on Melinda Merck's examination of the dog and her findings of vaginitis, human sperm and other indications of sexual abuse. Merck provided police with an affidavit supporting the search and the seizure of Pacher's computer and other personal items because "this type of sexually deviant behavior has a definite voyeuristic component.''
Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Except the cops didn't find any perverted, weird crap in Pacher's home. The only "evidence" against him was Merck's examination of the dog. And guess what?
The four board certified theriologists who reviewed Merck's test results, and the conclusions she drew, disagreed with her. Majorly. Nearly violently.
In fact, Dr. Bruce Elits of Louisiana State University concluded that Merck "made false statements in this report in order to exaggerate the true facts."
Charges against 65 year-old Armand Pacher were also promptly dropped.
Attention media hounds and ASPCA watchers: Watch for civil law suits from both Pacher and Weinman. The various instigators of the destruction of their lives may not have heard the last of them yet.
Peers review the ASPCA's forensic head honcho
In evaluating Melinda Merck's work on the Pacher case, other experts in animal reproduction were not impressed either:
Dr. G. Reed Holyoak of Oklahoma State University: "It would appear, in the end, there was no sperm where they thought sperm had been and what they thought was sperm was probably something else.''
Dr. Hannah Glanlantino-Homer of the University of Pennsylvania: "I have found nothing in any of these records that supports Dr. Merck's repeated assertions that [Pacher's dog] 'Christie' suffered from sexual abuse by her owner.''
Miami veterinarian Dr. Ray George Bailey: "[W]ith the total lack of any supporting evidence from the start, making these type of accusations, taking Mr. Pacher's dog away for months, arresting Mr. Pacher, newspaper and Internet articles about his arrest, defamation of his character, not to mention legal expense, is all just wrong.''
When "animal CSI" goes wrong. . .way wrong
Dr. Patty Khuly, vet and writer of the popular veterinary blog, PetMd. writes:
In a stunning breach of ethics and/or competence, self-styled "animal CSI" expert, Dr. Melinda Merck (of the ASPCA) either misled the courts for the purpose of advancing her personal/professional agenda, or she displayed shocking incompetence in the field she pioneered and through which she rose to prominence.
and it just keeps getting better. . .
Merck runs Univ. of Florida's Veterinary Forensic Training Program
She's "training" more "animal CSI" "experts." With a $300,000 stake from the ASPCA Merck co-founded UF's "Animal CSI" program in 2009.
The whole corrupt idea is that privately-employed individuals should be "training" employees of other private corporations (SPCA's and "humane societies") in the enforcement of laws which govern all of us.
Merck, the employee of a private corporation with no responsibilities other than to the board of directors of that private corporation, influenced the issuance of search warrants and the prosecution of two individuals in Florida for crimes that, apparently, are figments of her own sick (really sick) imagination.
Or her blind ambition. Or God complex. Whatever.
Florida Circuit Court Judge Daryl Trawick has her number. Merck is, literally, incredible. I just hope the judges and prosecutors in other cases Merck instigated are paying attention.
Posted by BlueDogState at 9:22 AM