United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
are motions for judgment on the pleadings filed by Defendants
Dr. Kevin Reed and Vetcare, Inc. (collectively
“Reed”) and Defendants ARC Angels for Animals and
Angie Heringer (collectively “Heringer”)
(Document Nos. 24 and 33). Defendants Ruth Scroggin and,
separately, Kathy Norris, Michael O. Norris, and the Wynn
Friends of Animals (collectively “the Norris
defendants”) have adopted the Reed defendants'
motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiff Karen Siegel
filed a combined response to the motions, which are ripe for
of the Amended Complaint and Public Record Material
following facts are taken from the allegations in the amended
complaint, supplemented by additional facts taken from the
public record of the Craighead County proceedings that were
supplied by the Reed defendants in their motion for judgment
on the pleadings. Heringer and Scroggin provided information
to the Craighead County Sheriff's Department about
Siegel's dogs which resulted in the issuance of a search
warrant for Siegel's property. The search warrant was
executed on February 26, 2015, and 31 dogs were seized.
Heringer and Scroggin took the dogs to the Reed defendants
spayed and neutered some of Sigel's dogs. Reed, Heringer,
and Scroggin, acting in part as agents for the Craighead
County Sheriff's Department, re-named, microchipped, gave
away, and otherwise hid Siegel's dogs from her. Heringer
took some of Siegel's dogs to the Norris defendants'
clinic where the Norris defendants allowed some of the dogs
to be spayed or neutered and records falsified to hide the
fact of the procedures.
October 23, 2015, Siegel was convicted of 31 counts of animal
cruelty by the District Court of Craighead County and ordered
to pay a fine of $6, 200 plus costs. The district court ordered
Siegel's dogs to be placed in the custody of the
Northeast Arkansas Humane Society (NEAHS) pending
Siegel's appeal. NEAHS never took custody of the dog and
allowed Heringer and Scroggin to continue to keep the dogs.
Heringer failed to comply with a district court order to
provide an accurate list of the whereabouts of Siegel's
appealed her conviction to the Craighead County Circuit Court
on November 9, 2015. There, Sigel moved to suppress the
evidence recovered from the search and seizure. The circuit
court found that the search and seizure were not in violation
of the U.S. Constitution or the Arkansas Constitution and
denied the motion to suppress. Additionally, the court found
that Scroggins and Heringer were not acting as agents of a
government employee when they entered the property and that
they were not subject to the constitutional prohibitions
against unlawful searches and seizures. Siegel also moved to
have Ark. Code Ann. §5-62-106 declared unconstitutional.
The circuit court denied this motion as to both a facial
challenge and an as applied challenge. Specifically, the
circuit court considered and rejected the following arguments
put forth by Siegel:
a. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-106 violates the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution to
the United States, as well as Article 2, Section 8 of the
Arkansas Constitution, by permitting the taking of property
without due process of law.
b. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-106 violates Article 2, Section
13 of the Arkansas Constitution by usurping a property
owner's right to pursue civil remedies.
c. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-106 deprives a property owner
of his right to a jury trial in violation of Article 2,
Section 7 of the Arkansas Constitution.
d. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-106 violates the Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution by
depriving criminal defendants the right to confront and
e. Ark. Code. Ann. § 5-62-106 violates Article IV,
Section 2 and Amendment 80, Section 3 of the Arkansas
Constitution by usurping the Arkansas Supreme Court's
authority to establish rules governing the practice and
procedure of the courts.
case in circuit court was dismissed on October 4, 2017 for
lack of a speedy trial. On October 16, 2017, Siegel moved for
the return of her property pursuant to Rule 15.2 of the
Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure and Ark. Code Ann.
§5-62-106(d). The State appealed the dismissal to the
Arkansas Supreme Court on October 25, 2017; the appeal is
ongoing. On February 2, 2018, the circuit court determined
that it lost jurisdiction when the State lodged the record on
appeal. Siegel's motion for the return of her property
has not been ruled on.
on these allegations, Siegel makes the following claims
against the defendants: taking of her property without due
process in violation of the United States and Arkansas
constitutions; conversion; conspiracy to convert her property;
and negligence. She also seeks punitive damages, a
declaration that Ark. Code Ann. 5-62-106 is unconstitutional,
an injunction preventing the defendants from continuing to
engage in the acts and conduct complained of, and she seeks
the return of her property pursuant to a writ of replevin. As
stated in her response to the motions to dismiss, what Siegel
is now seeking is the return of her dogs and
Reed defendants raise several arguments in their motion for
judgment on the pleadings. As to the constitutional claims,
they claim that the action is barred by collateral estoppel,
that they are entitled to qualified immunity, and the
complaint fails to state a claim. The supplemental state law
claims for conversion, conspiracy, and negligence, they
argue, also fail because the Reed defendants are immune from
civil liability under the Arkansas Animal Cruelty Act, the
claims are barred by the statute of limitations, and the
complaint fails to state plausible claims. The Heringer
defendants adopted the arguments made by the Reed defendants
for the most part and some ...