News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > August 2008
Bird Pet Store Protest, New Jersey

Please join animal advocates in speaking out for captive birds on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 2:30 pm. This demo is organized by .

For more information, please visit  and watch the video of KATHY LANCE ASSAULTING A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATOR at  (she also threatens to shove the camera up the demonstrators a**).

If you are interested in organizing a petstore demonstration at another location, please contact the New York Bird Club: [email protected]

Bird Paradise Store Co-Owner Pleads Guilty and is Fined for Confrontation with Demonstrator

Store Owner Strikes Out in Court Again in Attempt to Silence Bird Abuse Education Campaign
July 29, 2008, Burlington, N.J.: After filing a frivolous lawsuit and false charges against a demonstrator in attempts to silence the mounting campaign to highlight bird suffering, store owner Kathy Lance last night pled guilty to charges relating to an altercation with local activist Marianne Bessey.

Bird Paradise's attempts to suppress free speech began in January, when store owners requested local police to remove demonstrators from public property outside of the store. Continuing their campaign this spring, Bird Paradise owners then filed a civil lawsuit in Burlington Superior Court to prevent the next planned demonstration. When even this effort failed (the lawsuit was dismissed), the demonstration proceeded ? but one of the owners assaulted Bessey during the demonstration, causing cuts, bruises, and bleeding ? and requiring Bessey to seek emergency medical treatment.
After she was videotaped attacking Bessey, Lance fled the scene. Although Lance was nowhere to be found after the attack, local police helped Bessey to identify Lance as the person who attacked her, and Bessey immediately filed assault charges. Hours later, Lance, accompanied by her lawyer, Deborah Plaia, arrived at the police station and filed a statement where she claimed Bessey "stepped on to the property of Bird Paradise with camera in hand." In her statement, Lance claimed that Bessey's alleged step onto Bird Paradise's property caused Lance to feel "threatened," and she filed charges against Bessey for assault, harassment, and trespassing.
At last night's trial in Burlington City Municipal Court, all charges against Bessey were dismissed. Lance, who had been charged with assault for her attack on Bessey, pled guilty to a lesser charge. She was fined $1,000.00. Ms. Lance's legal counsel requested the judge to prohibit Bessey from communicating the guilty plea outside of the courtroom, but the judge refused.

"It's so sad that Bird Paradise will go to such lengths to try to keep the facts about birds in captivity from the public," said assault victim Marianne Bessey. "The fact is, birds are wild and suffer greatly in captivity. Stores like Bird Paradise continue the cycle of abuse by selling thousands of more birds, even when so many birds already suffering in captivity desperately need good homes."

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