Dog And Pony Show Trial Bites Bondi

September 4, 2010

(Sorry for the shaggy dog story, but in this case I really couldn’t just let sleeping dogs lie.)

As the dog days of summer wind down, Florida’s Republican AG candidate Pam Bondi, recently rewarded with a Sarah Palin endorsement treat for learning right wing talking points, must be dog tired of the renewed interest in her dogged efforts to steal a family pet from Hurricane Katrina victims.

Every Dog Has Its Day

After the storm, top dog Hillsborough County Prosecutor Pam Bondi went to the Pinellas County Humane Society to see a man about a dog. Master Tank, a rescued Saint Bernard, had papers linking him to his Louisiana owners, but Pam Bondi, like any well trained right wing Christian, knows that her inerrant goodness trumps silly concepts like “the law.”

She took the dog home, gave him a proper biblical name, and started teaching the old dog some new tricks.

It took a dog’s age of hounding, but the real owners Steven and Dorreen Couture eventually tracked their pet to Bondi, recognized their lost canine, and politely said “Gimme Back My Dog.”

Bondi’s response: “Grrrrrr…”

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Bondi lawyered up with hot dog defense attorney Barry Cohen. The financially strapped hurricane victims from whom Bondi was trying to steal were forced to beg for scraps and, lucky dogs, ended up with an excellent pro bone-o attorney – Murray Silverstein.

Did Bondi Lie Like A Dog?

Silverstein worked like a dog – pointing to evidence and tugging out the facts – and soon had Pam Bondi chasing her own tail. Bondi tried to mislead the court by asserting that the Coutures were barking up the wrong tree – Bondi claimed that “her” dog was not the dog that the Coutures knew and loved and recognized.

Bondi’s testimony was chewed up by Silverstein, who presented witnesses and documents to rebut, and Bondi was accused of dogging the facts by Dorreen Couture.

Bondi pointed to a September 2005 intake report from a makeshift shelter that indicated that a toenail on the dog’s right paw had been removed. Bondi said the dog in her custody has all of its nails.

The Coutures contended that the nail had simply been clipped. A Largo veterinarian testified on the Coutures’ behalf Monday on the difference between clipping and removing a dog’s toenail.

The Coutures’ attorney, Murray Silverstein, also submitted a statement from Dorreen Couture’s brother, David Johnson. Johnson detailed a Sept. 6, 2006, Louisiana visit from Pam Bondi and an investigator. Johnson took the dogs to a shelter in 2005.

“Ms. Bondi identified herself, and said to me, ‘I’ve been trying to find you for a year,’ ” Johnson said in the sworn affidavit. ” ‘I want to thank you for saving my dog’s life.’ Ms. Bondi then showed me six or more photographs of Master Tank.”

Dorreen Couture said that visit confirms that Bondi knows that it’s the same dog.

“It was just unbelievable that she would lie in court, being a state attorney,” Dorreen Couture said. “But the judge saw through it and he ruled in our favor. Where are her values. I’m furious.”

Dog Gone

Soon after being brought to heel by Silverstein, Bondi started sniffing around for a settlement. She agreed to return the dog she was trying to steal to its rightful owners. Because she loved the dog so much, she also insisted she be allowed to provide food and medicine for the dog’s well being.

That Dog Wont Hunt

According to the Coutures, Bondi is a deadbeat mom – she stopped sending supplies soon after giving up custody.

“She was going to take care of him for the rest of his life and supply him with food and medicine,” Dorreen Couture said recently from her rebuilt home in New Orleans. “She did for the first few months. After that, she was supposed to have her first visitation that September and she canceled.”

Contact dwindled after that, Couture said. And the Coutures didn’t reach out to Bondi, either.

“Why should I?” Couture said. “She stole my dog.”

In The Doghouse

Bondi would obviously prefer to keep the case of the stolen dog on a short leash but Democrat Dan Gelber may well decide that it is a tough dog to keep on the porch – it’s gonna be a dog eat dog campaign, and while it’s true that if you lie down with dogs you may wake with fleas, Gelber should release the hounds and point out Bondi’s dog faced lies.

ACTION – Support Dan Gelber

Shameless Self Promotion – Tune in to WMNF 88.5 FM in the Tampa area or streaming at at 4:00PM Labor Day as I spin 2 hours of commercial free music of by and in solidarity with the working class.

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