MAY 9, 2005

CONTACT: Brian Vincent, 530/263-5540,


Prosecutor Says He Will Investigate New Allegations of Abuse of Chalfant Canine

Mammoth Lakes, California Ė In a startling development in a Mono County courthouse today, Deputy District Attorney Todd Graham said he will reconsider the case against Brian Vincent, an Eastern Sierra resident who admitted to taking a neglected dog from a Chalfant, California neighbor. The DA made the stunning announcement after reviewing allegations the dog, "Tiger," may have been severely abused by his guardian. Vincent had been expected to plead guilty today as part of an agreement with the DAís office. But when Graham learned that Tigerís neighbors had witnessed abuse well beyond what has been reported in local media, he asked the court to postpone any actions against Vincent until his office investigated the charges. Graham said he hoped such an investigation, which would include interviewing the witnesses, would be completed by June. If the DA determines the allegations have merit, it is possible charges against Vincent could be reduced or dropped and Tiger could be placed with a new home. Vincent said he was encouraged by the news.

"Mr. Grahamís decision to investigate allegations of abuse of Tiger has buoyed my spirits. It demonstrates his commitment to weighing the facts of this case, his deep concern for Tiger, and his pursuit of justice. I am cautiously optimistic this case will have a happy ending for Tiger and me," said Vincent.

In another dramatic development, a public defender informed Vincent Mono County Animal Control had recently fired one of the officers involved in Tigerís case. The attorney did not know if Animal Controlís decision to terminate the officer was related to Tigerís plight, which has received national and international attention, sparked calls for a review of the animal agency by Mono business leaders, and riveted Mono and Inyo County residents.

Graham pledged to begin the investigation of the abuse charges immediately, though he made it clear he may still prosecute Vincent if the allegations could not be substantiated. To that end, Graham said he will assign staff to interview Tigerís neighbors, take sworn statements from witnesses, report back to the court with his findings, and ultimately make a decision about Tiger and Vincentís fate.

Vincent said the intense public outcry over Tigerís story had not gone unnoticed by the DA's office.

"It is clear that people from around the globe are worried about Tiger. I think Mr. Graham not only wants to help Tiger but let folks know he takes charges of animal abuse seriously. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Tiger may yet go free," Vincent said