March 30, 2007



Read this AND more in our BLOG section.  We will also be adding links and information on animal hoarding.  If you have any stories you would like to share on your Animal Rescue experience, please send us the information.  We encourage positive stories, too.  We LOVE to hear about wonderful rescuers who are devoted to saving animals.


In January of 2007, attorney Theresa Macellaro filed a 30 page lawsuit against ten (10) former volunteers who she claims have caused her client, Ms. Kimi Peck, to suffer from SEVERE EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, SLEEP DEPRIVATION, ANXIETY, NERVOUSNESS, IRRITABILITY, and, last, but not least, the LOSS OF CONCENTRATION. Ms. Macellaro claims Ms. Peck suffers from all of the above disorders because of a court ordered shut down of Ms. Peck’s Burbank ‘Sanctuary’ – who Ms. Peck and Ms. Macellaro blame on former volunteers. With all due respect, not only did these former volunteers have nothing whatsoever to do with this closure (and this was obvious when no witnesses were needed at the hearing), many people felt that Ms. Peck had been suffering from all of these MENTAL DISORDERS AND MAJOR MENTAL ILLNESS LONG BEFORE her court ordered shut down of her Burbank ‘Sanctuary’. Well, that’s neither here nor there because Ms. Macellaro and Ms. Peck dismissed this lawsuit less than a month after they filed it so many hope, for the animals’ sake, that Ms. Peck is now taking the proper medication to help her deal with her many mental disorders and possible OCD (that is associated with animal hoarding). The comments section contains an article that was published in the Burbank Leader giving a brief summary of this suit. The lawsuit will be available to read in the lawsuits section of this website. Many feel that this lawsuit was just another bullying and harassment technique by Ms. Peck because most of the claims were frivilous and it was obvious that Ms. Macellaro did not bother to not only research the LAWS, she obviously did not bother to research OR review her own client’s charges and convictions, throughout the years, in Burbank’s Criminal Court. If Ms. Macellaro would like to view Ms. Peck’s MANY CHARGES AND CONVICTIONS, they are available on this website. ***This was not the first lawsuit Ms. Peck has filed against former volunteers regarding the court ordered shut down of her Burbank ‘Sanctuary’. This was lawsuit number four (4). With each lawsuit Ms. Peck files, more ‘lies’ are added to the claims. All four (4) lawsuits were either dismissed by the courts or by Ms. Peck. We’ll keep you posted if and when she files lawsuit number five (5). Please READ MORE to see the article published in the Burbank Leader in regards to Ms. Peck’s latest FRIVILOUS LAWSUIT.

What makes this SO fascinating is the fact that Ms. Peck, herself, contacted the Burbank Leader and informed them about the lawsuit she had filed. She did this before all of the defendants had even been served. We’re gonna give Ms. Peck the benefit of the doubt and state she was probably suffering from memory loss due to her extreme anxiety because she obviously forgot one of her claims in the lawsuit was the fact that she was upset the press was even involved in any aspect of her court ordered move out of Burbank. Here’s the piece: Shelter files suit against volunteers Director of Chihuahua Rescue opens an action claiming slander and defamation against 10 former unpaid workers. By Chris Wiebe BURBANK — The director of a Chihuahua rescue shelter, which operated out of Burbank for more than four years, has filed a 10-party lawsuit against some of her former volunteers, accusing them of a smear campaign that tarnished her business reputation. Kimi Peck, director of Chihuahua Rescue — which relocated to Tehachapi after a court order forced the shelter out of Burbank — contends in her lawsuit that former volunteers committed slander and defamation against her when they told police in 2005 that Peck kept Chihuahuas in unsafe and squalid conditions. The volunteers also alleged that Peck was hoarding dogs rather than finding them new homes. After Burbank Police and animal control officials investigated, Peck was charged with having insufficient food and water for her animals, failing to maintain sanitary and safe conditions and keeping insufficient records for her animals. She pleaded no contest to the latter charge in June 2005 and the other two were set aside. By October 2005, she had cleared out of her Burbank facility, moving to Tehachapi, where she says her rescue operation has suffered as a result of the complaints of the volunteers. "It’s been very painful, very hard," she said "And I can handle everything, but it has affected the dogs, and that hurts me." But attorney Larry Rudd, who represents the 10 defendants named in the suit, said that Peck has no evidence of defamation and slander and that the law protects the rights of people to make critical statements to authorities about bad business practices. "This is an attempt to harass people who only sought the best interest of the animals," he said. "These are people who left because of despicable conditions." Volunteers reported seeing dogs that were seldom released from their cages, living in their own feces, he said. A veterinarian who leased a space next door to Chihuahua Rescue on Moss Street terminated his portion of the lease, saying he could no longer carry on his practice so near to the shelter’s conditions, Rudd added. "Kimi Peck, in keeping with her prior actions, files suits against anyone who disagrees with her, anyone who comments about her poor care and treatment of animals," he said. Rudd is filing a motion disputing Peck’s complaint as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation suit, which is a litigation strategy intended to stifle or intimidate the critics of the plaintiff. He will also pursue Peck for his attorney’s fees and may pursue her attorney on grounds of malicious prosecution. "This is just an absurd suit and it should never have been brought," he said. Peck grabbed headlines in 2003, when she saved 170 Chihuahuas from being euthanized after Los Angeles County animal control officials confiscated the dogs from breeder Emma Harter. Harter was subsequently convicted of animal abuse for housing 235 Chihuahuas in fetid, unsanitary conditions. But two years later, Peck found herself the target of accusations from volunteers at her own shelter, which ultimately drove her from Burbank. [ Reply to This | Delete | ]


Timeline of events surrounding Mary Lou Voils’ sad plight to get her pet , Baby, back from Kimi Peck/Chihuahua Rescue 11/03/04 – Mary Lou Voils, a 78 year old woman, adopted two dogs, Mitzi and Baby, from Chihuahua Rescue (located in Burbank, CA at the time.) She paid 300$ for each dog – CR’s adoption fee. 11/08/04 – (approximate date) – Mitzi became very ill and was taken by a representative of Chihuahua Rescue (CR) to a local vet, Dr. Schwartz. Afew days later, Mary Lou called Kimi Peck and found out Mizti "had died." Mary Lou trusted Kimi and her judgment and did not question what happened. She was surprised, though, that Kimi never called her to tell her of her adopted dog’s death. 2/04 – Mary Lou began visiting CR regularly so she could see the other little dogs that were housed there. 4/04 – Mary Lou made plans to move from Burbank to Virginia. Her sister and brother-in -law were building a guest house for her. While waiting for the guest house to be completed, Mary Lou would stay in their basement bedroom and use the rest of the house shared with her family. 05/04 – Mary Lou took Baby to get her rabies shot so that Baby could fly on the plane back to Virginia with her. Baby had a reaction to the shot, so Kimi Peck offered to board her since Mary Lou’s Flight was leaving in a couple of days. No mention of boarding fees as CR promised "lifetime boarding" for adopters. Kimi told Mary Lou to not worry and that whenever the house was finished, Janet Wingfield would bring Baby to Virginia since she "had relatives in Virginia." In fact, Kimi not only convinced her to leave Baby while she recovered from the vaccine, she convinced her that Baby should stay while the house was being built. Because Mary Lou felt Kimi was her friend, she agreed to leave Baby. 12/04 – Mary Lou sent a check for 1000$ to Kimi as a kind gesture and way of thanking Kimi for taking care of Baby. Kimi Peck CASHED this check. 12/04 – 5/05 – Mary Lou wrote to Kimi several times asking how Baby was doing. Kimi never wrote back, but they did speak on the phone and Kimi was cordial and told her Baby was "fine." Mary Lou also sent her friend, Linda, to take pictures and sit with Baby. During this time, Mary Lou felt Kimi was a friend and believed that Baby was being taken care of. Kimi lied to Mary Lou and told her that Baby was "sleeping with her in her bed." In fact, Kimi gave Mary Lou the impression she did not live at the kennel, rather she lived in Brentwood (which was untrue) In reality, Baby was taken from Mary Lou in December and simply placed in a small crate, where she remained the entire time – 6 months. Volunteers saw Baby, week after week, in the front portion of 421 Moss St., in a crate, always. She was never with Kimi, who had moved her bed next door to a warehouse at 425 Moss St. 6/05 – Mary Lou’s guest house was finally finished. She immediately wrote Kimi a letter, No reply. She wrote and called a few more times and finally got a hold of Kimi. Kimi told her Janet WIngfield, CR’s "Vice- President" would bring Baby to Virginia, but not right away since she "was having work done on her condo." 6/05 – A week later, Mary Lou called Kimi again. Kimi told her Baby was "fine." and that someone named Heather was going down to Virginia at the end of August. 6/05 – Another week later, Mary Lou called Kimi and, out of the blue, was told "Baby had glaucoma" and was "receiving medication." 6/05 – At that time, Mary Lou was very concerned for the health of her little dog. She contacted her sister’s vet and they assured Mary Lou they could help control and medicate Baby’s glaucoma. She then called Kimi back to tell her this, and Kimi suddenly told her that ”Baby’s eye was painful” and she left Baby at Dr. Schwartz’ office. She told Mary Lou to call him. When she did, she was stunned to learn from the receptionist that Baby’s eye was removed. Mary Lou became extrememly concerned. When she tried to talk to Dr. Scwhwartz, he refused to come to the phone. 6/05 – Mary Lou Immediately called Kimi back and told her she wanted Baby to come home now. Kimi told her that Dr. Schwartz said Baby couldn’t fly for one month. She also asked Mary Lou to pay the vet bill of 546$ (which she promptly did in good faith). 6/05 – Mary Lou, no longer trusting anything Kimi said, called Boulevard Pet CLinic and was told Baby couldn’t fly for two weeks. Again, Kimi had been caught in a lie. 7/05 – Poor Mary Lou, distraught and consumed with the need to help her dog, called Kimi and told her that her good friend of many years, Linda, would be coming to CR to pick up Baby. Kimi, despite this being Mary Lou’s legally adopted pet, told her no in a condescending tone. She told her she would only release Baby to Linda if she ”could meet Linda at the airport and Linda had a plane ticket to Virginia in her hand.” 7/23/05 – Realizing the seriousness of this situation, Mary Lou faxed a Power of Attorney to Linda and Linda agreed to go get Baby despite Kimi’s earlier refusal. When Linda went to CR , Kimi became enraged and demanded to see her airline ticket. She also angrily accused Linda of only being at CR ”because of the recent stories on TV” about Kim being closed down. Linda told her she was only there to get her friend’s pet back. Kimi screamed at her that "no one could give Baby the care" she was giving her.and that Mary Lou "owed" her 5000$ in boarding fees.Linda called the police and when they arrived, Kimi handed them a bill she had just written out, with no signature of Mary Lou, and insisted Mary Lou owed her 5000$. The police then decided, based on this hurriedly written "bill" that it was a "civil matter." ***Kimi Peck legally cannot charge any monies for boarding because Kimi Peck did not have a license or a permit to board. As a matter of public record, Kimi Peck had a court order at that time for her ‘kennel’ to be shut within a few months. Kimi Peck runs a non-profit and non-profits are not allowed to profit??? Sounds like Kimi Peck is unethical. 7/23/05 Linda told Mary Lou that Baby , who was in Kimi’s hands during this episode, was "shaking , ungroomed, and underweight." 8/05 Throughout most of the month of August, Mary Lou corresponded with former CR volunteers and tried to figure out a way to get her pet back. 8/05 – Mary Lou was referred to an attorney, Arlan Cohen, and they began discussing the best way to get Baby back. Taking Ms. Voils age of 78 into consideration, Mr. Cohen believed the pursuing a lawsuit would end up in a lengthy court battle that would be especially hard, emotionally, on Mary Lou. He also feared that Baby, who was obviously not receiving proper care, would not survive throughout the court battle. He suggested to Mary Lou that they try to deal with Kimi in a cordial manner that would achieve a mutual agreement that Baby should be returned to Mary Lou. 8/30/05 – Mr Cohen wrote a letter to Kimi Peck that reiterated Mary Lou’s love for her pet and that Kimi had many other dogs at the rescue needing her attention, and asked her to please consider allowing Baby to reunite with her mom. 9/01/05 – Kimi Peck calls Mr. Cohen after receiving the letter. She angrily claimed this was all happening because she was Gregory Peck’s daughter-in-law AND because a former CR volunteer’s husband used a dentist that knows the husband of Kimi’s accountant, Susan Marlowe. Her requirements included 50$ to pay for a health certificate, a signed letter from Mary Lou’s sister stating CR gets Baby back should Mary Lou die, and and proof of airline ticket to Virginia. Then and only then would she bring Baby to the airport to hand her to the person delivering Baby. 9/02/05 – Mr. Cohen writes Kimi a letter agreeing to all the conditions she made the day earlier. 9/15/05 – Mr. Cohen sends a letter to Kimi summarizing the conditions that had been met, including a 50$ check had been sent to Kimi, and the sister and brother-in-law of Mary Lou signed the agreement to return Baby should Mary Lou die. A ticket needed to be purchased next, and Mr. Cohen wanted to coordinate the date with Kimi. 10/03/05 – A round trip ticket is purchased by Laura Dash, a former CR volunteer and friend of Mary Lou’s, who agrees to fly to Virginia with Baby. The copy of the ticket is sent via email to Kimi. 10/04/05 (10:30 am) – Kim and Arlan spoke on the phone and Kimi agreed to meet Laura Dash at the Northwest Airline Check-in area at 11:35 , 10/08. She insisted she would find a way to get past security to watch Laura actually get on the plane. 10/04/05 (12:15 pm) – Kimi sent a long, angry email to Mr. Cohen detailing her hatred of Laura Dash. She uses vile language to describe Ms. Dash and fictionalizes stories about her trying to kill CR dogs. She then lists new requirements, including Laura Dash must agree to pay $10, 000 to CR should she ever write about this event on a website that details Kimi’s neglect of her rescue animals. She then writes two long paragraphs fictionalizing the care Baby has been receiving, despite former volunteers knowing that Baby was living in a cage with no attention whatsoever, other than theirs. She claimed among other things that Baby "eats cut up chicken and fruits and vegetables." She described Baby’s weight as "perfect," and claimed Baby was "very attached" to her (despite Baby living in a completely different facility than Kimi did.) 10/04/05 (1:45 pm) – Mr. Cohen writes an email to Kimi letting her know this is about Mary Lou and her dog. This is not about Laura, CR , or anything else. He urges her to honor her promise. He lets her know that not doing so only hurts the dog. He assures her Laura Dash’s only goal is to safely return Mary Lou’s little dog to her. 10/04/05 (time unknown) – Kimi writes back and asserts she has "no intention of not returning Baby to Mary Lou." and then writes a long paragraph detailing her hatred of the former volunteers who reported her animal neglect to authorities. She again reiterates that her relationship to Gregory Peck is the catalyst to all of these events. 10/04/05 (5:18 pm) – Mr Cohen writes her back and thanks her for staying committed to returning Baby.He verifies that, as mutually planned, he will pick her up 10:30 on the take Baby to the airport. 10/04/05 (10:22 pm) – Kimi emails Mr.Cohen and tell her that she cannot bear that thought of allowing Laura Dash to take Baby. She informs him that her ex-boyfriend’s son, Jordan, will take the dog instead. 10/05/04 – Luckily, Laura Dash’s ticket is refundable and is cancelled. Mr. Cohen and Laura try to figure out a good flight for Jordan but it becomes apparent he will have to spend the first night in a dog friendly hotel, then travel out to Roanoke to deliver Baby the next morning, all at Ms. Voils’ expense, Laura Dash had been willing to incur these costs herself. Mr. Cohen writes a long email to Kimi unwittingly appealing to her sense of right from wrong. Mr. Cohen then has Mary Lou purchase a ticket for Jordan Mabra. Mary Lou also graciously agrees to allow him to spend the night at her and sister’s house so he can take the return flight the following day. She purchases Jordan Mabra a non-refundable round trip ticket for $1,084. 10/08/05 The day of the flight, Mr. Cohen assumed everything was a go. Little did he know, as he was preparing to drive to Burbank to pick up Jordan, Kimi calls Mary Lou’s sister and tells her Baby cannot fly because "Baby did not have proper shots." Mary Lou’s sister immediately called Mr. Cohen and he said the airline he had chosen did not require vaccine proof. He told Mary Lou’s sister he was still driving down to Burbank. Shortly after that, Kimi called Mary Lou’s sister and said Baby was "sick, she only weighed 5 pounds" and she would not allow her to go. This claim was despite writing an email just four days earlier stating Baby was healthy and at the "perfect" weight. Kimi never had the decency to call Mr.Cohen or Mary Lou. 78 year old Mary Lou lost $1,100 on this ticket and was never reimbursed by Miss Peck. Instead of nursing the supposedly sick Baby back to health and rearranging a new flight, Kimi kept Mary Lou’s beloved dog and has never returned her. 4/06 After receiving an Easter card from Mary Lou, Mr. Cohen sent another letter to Kimi Peck reminding her that Mary Lou was still anxious to have Baby back . Kimi has not responded. ***Kimi Peck’s now shut down Burbank Chihuahua Rescue and ‘Sanctuary’ was NOT a licensed boarding facility; therefore, she was NOT legally allowed to charge a for profit fee as she was illegally claiming to do in an attempt to not give Mary Lou back her dog and to keep the monies Mary Lou had given Kimi for Baby. Poor Baby had to live with Kimi Peck…many feel Ms. Peck is an ANIMAL HOARDER…