Woman Who Lost Dog In Katrina Appeals Texas Ruling Of Dog Custody Case


Lawyers representing Shalanda Augillard, the New Orleans-area woman who lost her fight to have her dog returned to her in a Hays County court earlier this summer, have announced they are appealing the District Court’s ruling. This is the first case that has gone to trial in which an owner of a dog lost in Katrina was denied the return of her pet.

Augillard said, “I put my faith in the justice system, and it failed me. I know without a doubt that the dog in Texas is Jazz. I love my dog, and all I want is to bring Jazz home.”

According to attorney Susan Philips, who represented Augillard in the case, the outcome was incomprehensible, given the uncontroverted and overwhelming evidence that Jazz is indeed Augillard’s dog.

“A noted DNA expert, Dr. Joy Halverson, testified that, ’with scientific certainty, I can unequivocally say the DNA samples came from the same dog,’” Philips said. “At the outset of the case, we were confident that the court would return Jazz to Augillard. We thought that the quickest way to get Jazz home was to file suit in Texas, in Hays County, which is where the dog was being held. Because the judge limited the trial to four hours, we didn’t have the opportunity to present our case. We were stunned by the judge’s decision.”

She added, “Since Jazz is now ten years old, it is imperative that we continue to pursue this case at all levels and hopefully reunite her with Augillard before it’s too late.”

(Thanks Barbara)

25 Responses to “Woman Who Lost Dog In Katrina Appeals Texas Ruling Of Dog Custody Case”

  1. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    The only people making out in this case are the lawyers.

  2. SSPhilips says:

    See below

  3. SSPhilips says:

    Radcliff et al - how much do you think the lawyers have been paid? Don’t you think the people who still have Jazz got what they want?

  4. Carol Johnson says:

    Does anyone know the basis for this?…that is why the judge did not give the dog back?

  5. Lynne says:

    Why is Texas so punitive in everything?

  6. Lauren says:

    It’s explained a little better here:

    I don’t know what to believe..

  7. Velvet's Dad says:

    I just read the link Lauren provided. Based on what the original owner’s lawyer said, the case should be appealed. Per the plaintive’s lawyer, the judge set an arbitrary time limit for each side to present its case. The lawyer says they were not given the opportunity to present the “proof” the judge demanded. In this case, the results of DNA testing. I have relatives living in Texas. I’m generalizing now but I don’t think much of their judicial system. The judges are elected and many of them are hacks, not fit to sit on the bench. It’s not a case of lawyers making the bucks here; it’s a case of justice pursued and justice demanded. Let the appeal proceed.

  8. ellis says:

    My mother and sister both live in Kenner (10 minutes from new orleans). Neither one of them went anywhere without their pets (combined: 130 pound lab, 3 cats, and a bird).

    I have friends (yes, plural as in more than one), who refused rescue because they weren’t welcome on the boats *with* their companion animals. They thought it better to face a lack of shelter, fresh water, food, and first-aid rather than leave their beloved family members behind to face death alone. Fortunately, all the rescuers weren’t so thoughtless (my opinion, as subsequent rescuers allowed and in some cases insisted on taking animals on-board).

    I have zero sympathy for someone who leaves a member of the family behind. There are no exceptions… there is no excuse.

    Jazz has a new life with people who have obviously provided a home and health care. I say Jazz, in Texas with a new family, is much better off now.

  9. Lynn says:

    A time limit of 4 hours? Since when are cases in court decided on the basis of “Beat the Clock”? This is appalling and says very little about the intelligence or industry or dedication to get all the facts by the judges in Texas.

    How is it that Jazz landed in an Austin animal shelter?

  10. ellis says:

    Lynn, after Katrina there were thousands of companion animals rescued. Some were strays before the storm, some were abandoned during or after the storm. Many animals that had homes pre-Katrina became strays.

    Rescue organizations across the country came to the aid of animals displaced by the storm. Here in upstate new york, there were a number of shelters that took-in pets from Katrina.

    I can only imagine that the shelters and rescue organizations closer to louisiana were swamped with refugees.

  11. Tresa says:

    Ellis has a great point. Many of those people waited weeks and weeks before trying to reclaim the pets they left behind to fend for themselves. There is just no excuse to me. If this woman can afford all these legal fees now, she could have afforded to get herself and her dog out when they were told.
    I think the dog needs to stay where it is. And from the looks of it, it would have fit in a tote. Nothing nor no one will ever get me to abandon my pets! If I did I would not deserve them back.

  12. SSPhilips says:

    Ellis and Tresa, may I suggest that you get all of the facts? You are making several incorrect assumptions.

  13. ellis says:

    SSPhilips, why don’t you supply a link to what you think are ‘all of the facts’?

    Like I said: There are no exceptions… there is no excuse for leaving a beloved family member behind to face death alone. Period.

  14. Nora and Rufus says:

    Dear Lynn, You are a sweet girl and the reason this Cocker ended up in an Austin Animal Shelter is because there was no room left in any shelter closer than that. All the Austin Shelters stepped up to the plate and actually sent rescue people to the areas that needed the help with the Rescued animals that were left behind and in danger of starving alone or being shot by rapid cops or looters, and shipped them back to Austin and surrounding areas. Even in Des Moines IA, thousands of miles up North, our local shelters stepped up and offered room and I actually met someone at the Dog Park last week who had a now 2 yr old “Katrina Rescue Hound”that they had adopted as a pup at one of the Des Moines no kill shelters 2 yrs ago!!! My best friend in Austin Tx who does foster and rescue for the Austin German Shepherd Rescue, saved dogs who were in danger of being euthanized in Houston Shelters and other shelters who had taken the Katrina Refugee dogs in and even after a year, some of these dogs had not been claimed or adopted. The Rescues did a noble thing and made sure these precious pooches were fostered and or adopted!!!!

  15. SSPhilips says:

    Lynn - Jazz ended up in an Austin shelter because Andy Odam of PawMatch took her from Jefferson Feed where she had already been examined by a vet and was waiting to be transferred to Lamar Dixon where she would have been found by her person. Mr. Odam took supplies to Jefferson Feed. He was not there to rescue animals. Jazz is the only animal he brought back in his truck that had no air conditioning. He never sought medical care for her. He was told by the officials at Jefferson Feed that he could not remove any animals. He did not follow any protocol or laws in place regulating the removal of animals. He never posted any of her information on PetFinders.

  16. Anonymous says:

    SS Philips, that is your story. And if the dog had not been left behind, she would not been separated from her owner. How can you ensure that the dog would have been found by her person who left her behind to possbily die in the first place.

  17. ellis says:

    I think SSPhilips has more to do with this story than just commenting on it. At least, that’s the impression I’m getting. I think it’s curious that s/he decided to add a bunch of un-corroborated and un-substantiated “facts” to the story.

    By all means, do not be swayed by my words… or the words of others. Find out for yourselves as the info is out there to be seen.

    10 seconds on Google shows this link:

    … and while nothing is verifiable as fact, it sure does flesh-out the story a little.

    Here’s just one relevant snip from the link:
    [q]When Madura picked her up, Hope still wore diapers and had little hair. “Some hair seemed matted, but it turned out to be her skin sloughing off,” she recalls. A local veterinarian pronounced Hope’s medical conditions—a serious skin ailment, bladder stones and a urinary infection — longstanding. Today, after an operation and doses of antibiotics and skin medications — and more than $1,000 in vet bills — Hope is mostly healthy.

    Yeah ~~ golf-ball sized bladder stones just ‘popped’ up over the span of one week. That dog was not (in my opinion, at least) cared for properly pre-Katrina.

    Also, SSPhilips seems to be trying to cast a bad light on PawMatch. Now, I’ve only spent 10 minutes looking into that not-for-profit organization (they’re a 501(c)3 for real)… and I know what my opinion is. Maybe you (all) should find out for yourselves. Look for complaints posted anywhere, check the BBB, call the Humane Society and ask, and go to their web site.


    Remember folks… there is NO EXCUSE for leaving a family member behind to face death alone. PERIOD. When Ms. Augillard left Hope behind, she made a decision. Now she should live with that decision.

  18. ellis says:

    Okay, looks like SSPhilips is the lawyer representing Ms. Augillard.

    Now, she would not be at all biased in her viewpoints, right? I mean, it’s not like lawyers have a legal obligation to aggressively represent and put-forward their client’s wishes. (this is sarcasm, in case the emoticon doesn’t post right.)


    Nice try, Susan.

  19. Lynn says:

    Thanks to all of you for all the info. Gee, all those answers because of one little question. Must sift through everything.

    But one thing I know: no way in hell I would have left without my dogs. Just no way. And I did have to evacuate 12 years ago BEFORE they allowed animals to stay at shelters with their humans. When I got to the evacuation center……well, “Nora and Rufus” wouldn’t think I was nice that night: I told them all the people running the shelter to go to hell and slept in the car with the dogs. What was good for them was more than good enough for me.

    One of my clients has offices in the San Diego area and during the recent fires many of their employees had to evacuate. I contacted one of these people via the company’s website and offered my help. He told me that he, his, wife, their three daughters, their dog, their three cats, and their bearded dragon were altogether at the evacuation center. With lots of other pets and their humans. These people know what is important. Gregg, if you’re reading this, I really admire your family’s sense of WHO and WHAT a family is.

    That said, I will still research the Jazz/Hope a bit….and I thank you all for your explanations. I think in the end it comes down to “Who can give Jazz/Hope the best home?” [Those large kidney stones really worry me.] I just hope that, if appealed, that the judgment isn’t on the basis of the animal being property. Afterall……..was the original human checking everyday to locate Jazz? Keeping tabs on her?

    God, I could no sooner leave without my pets. Never. This I know.

  20. ellis says:


    The yearlong dispute grew increasingly bitter, eventually including half a dozen attorneys, several veterinarians and a California DNA expert. Tensions boiled over in December, when Augillard attacked Madura outside the courtroom, grabbing and yanking her hair.

    Did Ms. Augillard think that getting physical with the opposing party would further her cause?

    On September 1st 1995 I was in my car starting a cross-country trip to rescue my mother and her cat. (unknown by me, they had already made an escape and were on their way north.) Why is it that, according to Susan Philip’s own post in the Itchmo forums, from 9/1 to 9/8 Ms. Augillard made no attempt to locate her dog? That is seven days.

    My point is this ~~ My mother is, well, my mother… and Floyd is a family pet who has been with us for 16 years. I would have walked or swam a hundred miles through raw sewage looking for either one of them. Screw everything else… it can all be taken care of one way or another.

    Ms. Augillard waited 7 days before making her way to the place where she knew her dog was abandoned. Seven days.

    I suppose priorities differ from person to person. :-)

  21. SSPhilips says:

    Ellis and Anonymous - would you be willing to identify yourselves?

  22. SSPhilips says:

    At the time that Andy Odam of PawMatch took Jazz from Louisiana, put her picture on his website above a PayPal button, and claimed to be a 501(c)(3) organization, he had not even applied to the IRS for that status.

    I wish there were a “link” I could provide that would lead to the truth. Unfortunately, that is never possible in any situation. I would however urge all of you to remember that newspaper articles, websites and yes, even out-of-court comments by attorneys involved in the case, do not constitute “facts”.

  23. ellis says:

    Susan, I would be happy to identify myself as long as you can provide a good reason for me doing so. Are you thinking that I have some relationship with one or more parties involved? I can assure you that I do not.

    Breaking protocol set to control the removal of *abandoned* animals after a storm does not equate to breaking the law. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    You didn’t address a single point I raised in the posts I’ve made here, and until you do it would seem to me that your on a PR mission. In that case, you should expect ideas and opinions that are contrary to the ones you and your client hold.

    What is Ms. Augillards excuse for waiting 7 days (9/1 to 9/8) to go to her parents apartment to look for her dog? A veterinarian tagged Hope’s medical conditions as long-standing, and common sense says that golf ball sized stones do not form in a week (or even months), which casts doubt (in my opinion) on Ms. Augillard’s past care for Jazz.

  24. Barb says:

    I can vouch what Susan says is the truth. I am the one that found Jazz’s pictures splashed on the Pawmatch’s website right around Christmas of 2005 while I was working with Shalanda. As soon as I sent the pictures to the owner she identified the dog as Jazz. Laura and I worked trying to reunite Cocker Spaniels with their owners. We were looking for Jazz right after Shalanda reported her lost on Petfinder in Sept till she was found in Dec 05. I know Cockers have had them for 25 years, groom themf and know confirmation of the breed. This is Jazz and she matches the pictures the owner had and should be returned to her rightful owner.

    Here is a link to Pawmatch website back in Dec 05. The picture of her does not show up now because they deleted it from their files but it was right above a paypal button begging for donations. They raised a lot of money from her and did not seek medical care immediately.


    Please listen to the radio interview and read the timeline below for the facts before you judge. Would you want someone coming into your state and removing your dog during an emergency illegally so you could not find her/him?


    Press Contact:

    Phil West, Luminaria Media & Public Relations
    512.945.7493, philwest@gmail.com

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2007


    Austin-based attorneys hope to reunite woman with dog lost in Hurricane Katrina

    (AUSTIN, TX) – Lawyers representing Shalanda Augillard, the New Orleans-area woman who lost her fight to have her dog returned to her in a Hays County court earlier this summer, have announced they are appealing the District Court’s ruling. This is the first case that has gone to trial in which an owner of a dog lost in Katrina was denied the return of her pet.

    Augillard said, “I put my faith in the justice system, and it failed me. I know without a doubt that the dog in Texas is Jazz. I love my dog, and all I want is to bring Jazz home.”

    This is the latest chapter in a two-year ordeal for Augillard, who was separated from her cocker spaniel named Jazz in the chaos ensuing from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Her parents, who were taking care of Jazz while Augillard was working at FedEx, were ordered to leave Jazz behind by the National Guard when they were escorted from their dry and undamaged home in New Orelans. After the door to their home was kicked in and their home was vandalized, Jazz ended up at a New Orleans-area animal triage center. From there, Andy Odam, the director of Austin-based PawMatch, took the black cocker spaniel to Texas, eventually leaving her in the custody of Tiffany Madura, who resides in Hays County.

    Augillard’s long search for her dog included many trips to Lamar-Dixon, a shelter run by the Humane Society of the United States, where rescued animals were taken for processing. Augillard also listed Jazz’s information on Petfinders.com, the database listing all lost and found animals following the hurricane.

    It was truly miraculous that Augillard found her dog. In spite of the protocol prescribed by various animal rescue groups, PawMatch never listed Jazz on Petfinders.com. In December 2005, a woman in Virginia involved in cocker spaniel rescue noticed a picture of a black cocker spaniel on PawMatch’s website and forwarded the picture to Augillard, who immediately contacted Odam to see see the dog. He refused. By that time, the dog was in the custody of
    Madura. After continued refusals to visit the dog, Augillard eventually turned to the Texas courts for help. The trial concluded on June 13, 2007.

    According to Austin attorney Susan Philips, who represented Augillard in the case, the outcome was incomprehensible, given the uncontroverted and overwhelming evidence that Jazz is indeed Augillard’s dog. who represented Augillard in the case, the outcome was incomprehensible, given the uncontroverted and overwhelming evidence that Jazz is indeed Augillard’s dog.

    “A noted DNA expert, Dr. Joy Halverson, testified that, ’with scientific certainty, I can unequivocally say the DNA samples came from the same dog.’ ” Philips said. “At the outset of the case, we were confident that the court would return Jazz to Augillard. We thought that the quickest way to get Jazz home was to file suit in Texas, in Hays County, which is where the dog was being held. Because the judge limited the trial to four hours, we didn’t have the opportunity to present our case. We were stunned by the judge’s decision.”

    She added, “Since Jazz is now ten years old, it is imperative that we continue to pursue this case at all levels and hopefully reunite her with Augillard before it’s too late.”

    A fund has been set up to support Augillard’s ongoing quest for justice.

    Donations may be sent to:

    Augillard-Jazz Reunification Fund
    Wells Fargo Bank
    Account # 1482693908
    1601 West 35th Street
    Austin, TX 78703

    Timeline of Events

    August 27, 2005
    Shalanda Augillard leaves her home in Kenner, La., and takes her eight-year-old cocker spaniel, Jazz, to her parents’ home on A.P. Tureaud in New Orleans. She is on her way to work at FedEx and knows it will be a long shift as they prepare for the hurricane. Jazz frequently stayed with the Augillards when Shalanda worked at FedEx at the New Orleans airport. Even though the family initially considered evacuating New Orleans, as they and many New Orleanians had done many times before, they decided to stay because they did not want to leave without Shalanda. However, they did move their vehicles to higher ground and made sure they had adequate supplies.

    August 28, 2005
    After working through the night, Shalanda gets off work early Sunday morning and goes home to pack, then goes to her parents’ home. They spend the afternoon making sure they and their neighbors and friends are prepared. Shalanda leaves to take some supplies to a friend west of them and then is unable to get back to her parents’ home because a curfew had been put into effect earlier than expected.

    August 29, 2005
    In the very early morning, Hurricane Katrina makes landfall just east of New Orleans. Within hours, the first of many levees break and parts of the city begin to flood. The Augillards’ home sustains little damage and no flooding. Phone service is disrupted, and the Augillards are not able to contact each other.

    August 29 -September 1, 2005
    The Augillards provide a refuge for neighbors, several of them elderly people with no families.

    September 1, 2005
    The National Guard evacuates the family. As Shalanda’s mother tries to board the boat with Jazz in her arms, the Guard orders her to leave the dog behind. She places Jazz in their second-floor apartment with lots of water, food, and access to a well-ventilated porch, thinking they will return soon. CBS reporter John Roberts is on the boat with the Guard.

    September 1, 2005
    Shalanda succeeds in contacting her parents and learns that they were forced to leave Jazz behind.

    September 8, 2005
    FedEx, which never suspended operations, sent teams to survey hard-hit areas to determine the most efficient way to continue service. Shalanda, as a FedEx employee, is assigned to survey the area in which her parents live and goes to her parents’ home. The door has been kicked out, the home has been ransacked, and the building has been marked with the date of September 7th . Jazz is not in the apartment.

    September 9, 2005
    Shalanda makes the first of many trips to Lamar-Dixon, a shelter established by the U.S. Humane Society, to look for Jazz, who needed her medication for a thyroid condition. She inputs all of Jazz’s information on Petfinders.com.

    September 11, 2005
    Andy Odam of PawMatch and Thomas Darnell of Rivers & Reefs leave Austin with a truckload of supplies to assist in animal rescue after Katrina. They are told by a representative of the Louisiana SPCA that they must deliver the supplies to Jefferson Feed Store, an official animal triage shelter operated by the Louisiana SPCA to process animals. The store was staffed by many volunteers, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

    September 12, 2005
    A black cocker spaniel appears at the Jefferson Feed Store Charlotte Lily, a rescue worker, remembers seeing the Jefferson Feed Store Charlotte Lily, a rescue worker, remembers seeing a black cocker spaniel with a group of other animals who had been rescued from the Augillards’ neighborhood. The spaniel had been examined by a veterinarian and had documentation attached to her crate. No one reported seeing any other cocker spaniels that day.

    September 12, 2005
    After being told not to remove any animals from the Jefferson Feed Store, Odam transports a black cocker spaniel to Austin in violation of protocol established by the U.S. Humane Society for dealing with animals displaced by Katrina.

    September 12, 2005
    Jennifer Hays, then a PawMatch board member, posts information about the black cocker spaniel on the PawMatch blog before Odam returns to Austin, stating that he is bringing a cocker spaniel with him and that sponsorships benefiting Jefferson Feed Store will be available. In an earlier posting, Hays stated that PawMatch is a 501(c) (3) organization, which it was not.

    September 13, 2005
    The PawMatch blog recounts Odam’s return to Austin with a black cocker spaniel. Odam later stated in his deposition that he took the dog so that he could provide her immediate medical care and so that he could put a face on his rescue efforts. A picture of the dog appeared on the blog right above a PayPal button.
    September 14, 2005
    Andy Odam and PawMatch place the black cocker spaniel in foster care with Catherine Danie of ARF, an animal rescue group, in Wimberley. At the time of placement, Odam had not provided any medical care for the dog.

    September 15, 2005
    Another ARF volunteer takes Jazz to veterinarian Dr. Thomas House at San Marcos Veterinary Clinic. Dr. House exams Jazz and determines that she has numerous health issues that are all treatable. His tests indicate that her urine contains triple phosphate crystals and that she is heartworm NEGATIVE. He suspects that she has bladder stones and that she is hypothyroid. The ARF volunteer declines any further treatment.

    September 19, 2005
    PawMatch posts that the cocker spaniel needs a new foster home.

    September 25, 2005:
    Tiffany Madura agrees to foster the black cocker spaniel.

    September 28, 2005
    Madura takes the dog to Dr. Barrett Donop at Oak Springs Veterinary Hospital in Austin. The dog had received no veterinary care in the interim. If this is Jazz, she has now been without her medication (for thyroid problems and urine crystals) for almost a month. Dr. Donop says that there is no evidence of stones. He does not check her thyroid.

    November 2, 2005
    The dog undergoes surgery for removal of bladder stones at Oak Springs Veterinary Clinic.

    December 27, 2005
    A tip from Barbara Cotters from Virginia leads Shalanda to the PawMatch web site, which has a photograph of a black cocker spaniel on the home page, along with a link to contribute to PawMatch through PayPal. Shalanda notices that the dog has white markings on her mouth that are very similar to Jazz’s distinctive white markings.

    December 27, 2005
    Shalanda contacts Odam, who refuses to let her see the dog.

    January – April, 2006
    Shalanda continues her attempts to persuade Andy Odam to allow her access to the dog on his web site. She provides the medical records that she was able to retrieve from Jazz’s veterinarians (their clinics had been destroyed by Katrina) to Louisiana Deputy Attorney General Mimi Hunley, who tries to negotiate a meeting between Augillard and Odam. Odam cuts off contact with Hunley.
    March, 2006 – May, 2006
    Many people involved in animal rescue throughout the United States try to arrange a meeting between Shalanda, Odam, and Madura. It is later learned that Madura used at least three different user names to post information discouraging the return of the cocker spaniel to anyone; under one of those names, she asked Barbara Cotters to remove all of the information she posted on her website about the PawMatch cocker spaniel, contending that the dog should not be returned. Some rescue people contacted attorney Mimi Smith, in Alpine who coordinated the initiation of legal proceedings.
    May 5, 2006
    Shalanda obtains a temporary restraining order from the District Court of Hays County to have the cocker spaniel removed from Madura’s home and placed in a kennel at Augillard’s expense. Mimi Smith and Austin attorney Susan Philips, brought in by Smith as local counsel, meet with a Hays County constable who instructs them on the procedure to be followed in enforcing the court’s order. The constable and a deputy remove the dog from Madura’s home and her property and then transfer her to Smith. A confused-looking and apprehensive dog immediately begins wagging her tail and wriggling when she is called “Jazz.” , With the constable leading the way, Smith, and Philips, drive the dog to where Augillard, her mother, and a friend were
    waiting. Before the car stops, with the windows and doors still closed, the dog starts barking frantically and charges out of the car the moment the door is opened. She runs in circles around Augillard and her mother and friend, all of whom have tears running down their faces. For the first time since the hurricane, Shalanda is allowed to see the black cocker spaniel. She, her mother, and her friend positively identify the dog as Jazz.

    They then drive to a nearby kennel, the constable still leading the way, with Jazz riding in Susan Philips’ car, pursuant to the court order and Augillard behind in her car. When Augillard gets out of her car at the kennel, Jazz jumps in and takes her place on the center console, where she always loved to ride. Shalanda lifts Jazz out of the car and says it would be too painful to spend any more time with her, thinking that she would be taking Jazz home on May 16, after the hearing for the preliminary injunction. Shalanda then prepays the kennel costs
    while Mimi Smith stays with Jazz. Shalanda, her mother and her friend then begin the drive back to New Orleans.

    May 5 -30, 2006
    Jazz is held at a kennel at Shalanda’s expense.

    May 16, 2006:
    The first of two parts of the preliminary injunction hearing is held in San Marcos in front of Judge Bill Henry, and Shalanda is in attendance. The temporary restraining order is extended two weeks after the hearing is cut short due to an infestation of tropical mites in the courthouse.

    May 30, 2006
    When the preliminary injunction hearing resumes, Judge Henry is not available. Because Augillard has again traveled to Austin and is eager to take Jazz home, she agrees to a visiting judge, Judge Paul Davis, who is unfamiliar with the case. This hearing is also cut short due to the mite infestation. The Court denies Shalanda’s motion for a preliminary injunction and orders, among other things, that Jazz be returned to Madura because the judge does not want her to have to stay in a kennel any longer. He orders the parties to arrange for DNA
    comparison testing and to return to the court once the results are received.

    June 2, 2006
    Two sweaters and a hairbrush belonging to Jazz are sent to Dr. Joy Halverson, a veterinary geneticist at QuestGen Forensics in Davis, CA. Dr. Halverson is a nationally respected DNA expert who performs DNA tests on dogs to verify pedigrees for the American Kennel Club and provides court testimony in human criminal cases.

    June 7, 2006:
    Dr. Halverson reports that even though she found hairs on the sweaters, there is inadequate amplification. She does, however, find a serum exudate encrusted at the base of the bristles of the brush that yields adequate DNA. She then requests a reference sample from the dog in Texas.

    June 13, 2006
    Attorney for Madura files a motion for a protective order, arguing that Jazz should not be made available for DNA sampling because Augillard, Philips and Smith had access to her on May 5, 2006.

    June 15, 2006
    Even though Judge Davis had ordered the DNA testing, an additional hearing is required to compel Madura to produce the dog for DNA sampling. Judge Henry orders the defendants to produce the dog within one month; Shalanda is at the hearing.

    July 14, 2006:
    DNA samples are taken from the cocker spaniel by Thomas Beckett, DVM, in the presence of Dr. Donop at Oak Springs Veterinary Clinic . The samples were sealed by Dr. Beckett in the presence of Dr. Donop and Susan Philips. The envelopes were signed by both Dr. Beckett and Dr. Donop and sent to Dr. Halverson. Once more, Shalanda makes the trip from New Orleans to Central Texas.

    July 19, 2006:
    Dr. Halverson concludes that the samples from the hairbrush are from the same dog that the samples were taken from in Texas, stating that “with scientific certainty, I can unequivocally say the samples came from the same dog.”

    August 8, 2006
    A hearing is held to determine if the Court would allow Dr. Halverson to testify by telephone. The request is denied. Shalanda attends the hearing.

    September 28, 2006
    Dr. Halverson is deposed in Sacramento, CA.

    October 19, 2006
    Dr. Halverson travels from California to testify at a hearing regarding the DNA test results. Shalanda comes from New Orleans to attend the hearing. Both are present in the courtroom when the hearing is canceled. The clerk reschedules the hearing for December 12.
    December 12, 2006

    Dr. Halverson and Shalanda again travel to Austin for another hearing to introduce the DNA results by testimony from Dr. Halverson in order for the Court to reconsider its decision of May 30, 2006, which returned Jazz to Madura.. Dr. Halverson testifies that “typically, when we have a 17 marker DNA match in a case, the likelihood ratio exceeds a trillion. It’s a trillion times more likely that the match occurred because the DNA came from the same dog as that it came to happen by random chance. Later on in the report, further on, I actually did the calculation, and the number gets –– the actual number is much higher … ten to the 16th, which is a quadrillion or something like that. In a nutshell. it means that to a very, very, very high degree of scientific
    certainty the samples match because they came from the same dog.” Judge Henry makes no findings, denies the request that Jazz be returned to the kennel pending trial, and orders the parties to seven hours of mediation.
    January 17, 2007
    The parties mediate for four hours.

    February 14, 2007
    The parties mediate for an additional three hours but do not reach an agreement.

    March 2007
    To provide even more proof that Jazz and the dog in Texas are the same dog and to refute the vague inferences that samples had been tampered with, AKC records are obtained by subpoena of all of the litters born to the mother of Jazz. A half-sister of Jazz who was born a year after Jazz from a different sire is found in Virginia. Dr. Halverson compares the DNA from the Virginia dog with the DNA of the Texas dog and determines that they, too, are both related to the same female.

    April 2007
    Laura Maloney, director of the Louisiana SPCA, writes to Andy Odam, requesting the immediate return of the cocker spaniel he removed from Jefferson Feed Store in violation of established protocol. Odam never responds to that letter.

    June 12-13, 2007
    Trial is held in Hays County District Court in San Marcos before Judge Henry. The parties are limited to a total of four hours for the trial, and Shalanda’s attorneys are unable to call eight of her witnesses. Dr. Halverson was present and repeated her testimony from December.

    June 29, 2007:
    Judge Henry faxes a letter to counsel stating that the Court renders judgment in favor of Madura. No explanation is provided.

    July 20, 2007
    Judge Henry releases his findings of fact, contending that the testimony of Augillard’s witnesses was not credible and alleging that the DNA evidence had a “high potential for tampering” even though no evidence of tampering was ever introduced.

    July 30, 2007:
    Susan Philips files a motion for a new trial.

    September 17, 2007
    Shalanda’s attorney files a notice of appeal

  25. dna dog says:

    […] has dna evidence that the dog found is hers, yet the court ruled against her getting the dog back.http://www.itchmo.com/woman-who-lost-dog-in-katrina-appeals-texas-ruling-of-dog-custody-case-3615acts - History - Rottweilers, the Best Dog in the World - Rottweiler …Popular Cult Figured Site […]

E-mail It