ONTD Political

Update: Michigan woman no longer going to jail for her garden but now in trouble for her dogs

3:44 am - 07/15/2011
Follow up to Michigan Woman could go to jail for planting vegetable garden.

Detroit Free Press: Oak Park woman faces dog trouble after veggie case is dropped
Oak Park has dropped its case against a woman growing vegetables in her front yard, but she's not out of the weeds yet, the city's prosecutor said.

Julie Bass may still have to go to court this month -- over her dogs.

Bass was cited in June with a misdemeanor for building the garden, which sits in five raised beds in the back part of her front yard behind grass. She said she had opted for the garden rather than flowers to create an educational tool and to have a few extra vegetables for the family.

That citation included violations for owning two unlicensed dogs. They are not licensed, but Bass said she took the vaccine information to court in June, where an impasse was reached over language in the ordinance and Bass asked for a jury trial. Her pretrial date for the garden issue had been set for July 26.

But Eugene Lumberg, city prosecutor, said he didn't see the vaccine paperwork. He said that issue will be resolved as soon as he sees the paperwork.

Bass' lawyer, Solomon Radner, said Bass provided it. He said he holds Lumberg in the highest regard, but said, "I think he is wrong about this."

Lumberg said the City Council and the mayor could change the ordinance that drove the issue from a suburban front yard to one that went all over the nation. It reads: "All unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass, ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant material."

The city and its officials had been bombarded at work and home with messages, some threatening, regarding the issue, from everyone from urban farming advocates to small government crusaders. Facebook pages sprouted in Bass' defense, and she posted to her blog oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com. Lumberg said that anti-city outrage had little to do with his decision, because little of it came from Oak Park.

"I exercised my power -- my duty -- as prosecutor, to study the issue," he said.

Bass and Radner, are pleased, but cautious. Radner said he is concerned the case could be filed again. Lumberg said he had no intention of doing so.

"It's been dismissed without prejudice, which means they can be refiled," Radner said.
Fox 2 News in Detroit broke the story, and a video can be seen at Oak Park Drops Charges Against Julie Bass and Her Vegetable Garden: MyFoxDETROIT.com. The Detroit News has more from the attorney. Julie Bass herself has comments on her blog here and here. Finally my tl;dr comments along with a larger version of the Fox 2 Detroit video are at Good, bad, and ugly news in Oak Park's "War on Veggies".
simply_blah 15th-Jul-2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
So if they can't get her for one thing they're going to try and get her for something else?

llivla 15th-Jul-2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
MTE. I hope the Petition site makes another one for Oak Park to drop these charges too.
llivla (mostly because it would make me lol)15th-Jul-2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
hashishinahooka 15th-Jul-2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
This is incredibly ridiculous. I find here in Michigan that you either live somewhere police don't care about anything that happens, or you live somewhere the police will arrest you for breathing too much.
nutmegdealer 15th-Jul-2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
this is pretty ridiculous.
aviv_b 15th-Jul-2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Seems to me that if this is the biggest problem Oak Park has to worry about, they could probably lay off some officers with out much of a problem.
layweed 15th-Jul-2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
I don't get pet licensing at all. Tbh, as long as you keep your dog up on shots and maybe get him chipped, there isn't any reason why you should need a license.
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
Don't they do it in case the animal gets lost? And that's why they have to get the little tracking chips too.
brewsternorth 15th-Jul-2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Could be that. Also, they might be paranoid about animal hoarders deciding to accumulate more pets than they can take care of.
blondebeaker 16th-Jul-2011 12:26 am (UTC)
In the county(counties really, two of them did this) I lived in, officials went door to door for licensing and it was more pet census and Rabies risk assessment for the area. Since it was quite wooded they needed to find out where the highest risk of rabid animal-house pet altercation could be and set out the vaccination traps.

The traps were not really traps just blocks of tasty something that contains the vaccination and animals eat it.
grace_om 15th-Jul-2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
If your dog bites somebody, it's easily accessible proof that it's been vaccinated against rabies. Also facilitates finding you if your dog gets lost and picked up by animal control. It's not a bad idea, and it's not clear from this article why her dogs aren't licensed. It's normally pretty cheap once you have the vac certificate.
pandaseal 15th-Jul-2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
The pet licensing in my state helps pay for low cost spay and neuters and means the town has to have a place to hold stray dogs. I get to register my dog for free as he's a service dogs, but considering it's only $7 a year, I wouldn't be too fussed if I had to pay.
thecityofdis 15th-Jul-2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
You stay classy, Oak Park.
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
So basically the city is just hoping to harass her enough until she moves out on her own. How nice of them.
brewsternorth 15th-Jul-2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's almost childish except for the major disparity in power between the two parties concerned: "You get us into trouble?! Well, we can get *you* into *even more* trouble!!"
castalianspring 15th-Jul-2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
I've never heard of having to have a pet license. If they've got their shots, then what's the problem?
grace_om 15th-Jul-2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it's something to use against her. Usually what happens is that it's only enforced if they pick up your animal loose -- then you have to pay the license fee and maybe a fine. Or if your dog bites somebody or causes other problems.
popehippo 15th-Jul-2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Really? I've always had to get licensees for my pets, including cats.

And it's mostly for tracking a pet in case they get lost, making it visible so people will know it's a lost pet, or in case the pet harms someone they know who is responsible for the animal.
castalianspring 15th-Jul-2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Huh. Had to look this stuff up, because I've never had a dog myself and in the county I grew up in pets didn't have to have licenses except within city limits, and even I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not having one (I'm tempted to call my parents and ask if we ever bought one when I was young). But it seems the city I'm in now does require them. Good to know, if I ever get an apartment where I actually want a pet. Tbh, though, I care for enough animals at work that I don't really feel the need to come home to one as well.
danger0usbeans 15th-Jul-2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Everywhere I've lived has required licenses because there's a limit to how many dogs you can have, so that's how the city keeps track of how many dogs are at each residence. I've never heard of anyone getting anything more than small fine for not licensing, though, and even then only people who had more dogs than were allowed.
evilgmbethy 15th-Jul-2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
yeah I've had a dog for 11 years and never bought him a "license" or heard that I need to. he has a microchip and his shots, though.
archanglrobriel 15th-Jul-2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Not that they're vindictive bullies or anything...
blondebeaker 15th-Jul-2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
I hate to see where this is going. Because I have a really bad feeling they might try to get CPS involved or something if they can't get her on the dog license thing. Because they seem to be that type of arsehole.
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