Complaints Being Filed Against Judge Who Routinely Dismisses Animal Cruelty Cases

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After witnessing case after case of animal abuse charges being either dismissed or resolved with a small fine, activists are ready to file complaints and they want the judge hearing the cases to be removed from the bench.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services wants to protect the pets in its jurisdiction, but needs the cooperation of the court system in prosecuting cases and demonstrating to abusers that there may be consequences to their actions.  They, along with local animal advocates, have become increasingly concerned about the disposition of cases coming before Judge Frank Mann. Fort Myers’ Fox 4 News ‘Four in your Corner’ investigator Mike Mason has stayed on the case, filing several reports in the past two months.


After Four in Your Corner and several advocates sat in on a court session for a report that was filmed and broadcast Tuesday, animal lovers decided it was time to stand up for the animals and make their voices heard.  They say Judge Frank Mann is being soft on animal abusers and they want him removed from the bench. They say they plan to file complaints with the Judicial Qualifications Commission or JQC.


During Tuesday’s session, the judge went through 13 cases, ranging from cruelty and neglect to owners not getting their dogs vaccinated. most were dismissed, and Judge Mann did not seem to review any of the evidence in the cases.


Ria Brown from Lee County Animal Services says, “Not to have your evidence viewed is disturbing,” and  “We just want to make sure people take animal abuse and neglect seriously and this doesn’t discourage them from reporting it.” The complaint form is on the JQC’s website.  Animal service officers say that, upon request, they will provide people with details about the cases Judge Mann dismissed this week.

The following report, from Thursday, discusses the calls for action following Tuesday’s court session.


Tuesday’s report shows footage from the session, with Judge Mann seeing cases. Animal rights advocates showed up to court, hoping for Judge Mann to stop dismissing cases of animal cruelty.


Below is a pivotal report, filed on Oct 17, 2012:

The report centers on the case against the former owner of a dog named Reggie (used as an example in the video above). Animal services brought charges against the owner after she took Reggie to be put down. The dog was emaciated and had a severe skin condition.  He was saved and made a good recovery, no thanks to the woman who decided he was in poor enough shape to finally be put out of his misery.

The case went to court in August, and brought attention to Judge Mann’s disposition on animal abuse and cruelty cases.

The County called three witnesses in the case against Reggie’s former owner: the head vet who examined Reggie, the office manager who issued the citation to the former owner, and a rescue worker who helped to find Reggie a new home. The office manager was cut off from presenting her testimony. Then the judge asked the former owner if she could present evidence of care. When the woman presented a receipt for the purchase of flea treatment from WalMart, Judge Mann was satisfied, said “You sound like a responsible pet owner” and dismissed the case.

Fox 4 wrote, “A Lee County judge coming under fire, accused of being soft on people accused of animal cruelty. The latest case has one rescue group calling on voters to oust the judge. ”


This incident where a cat was set on fire (and lived to recover) occurred in Lee County. We include it here to illustrate the abuse and cruelty situation in the area. snippets of the kitty are shown in one of the videos above.


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