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Banned animal rescuers sue Hempstead

Three animal rescuers banned from the Hempstead Town animal shelter in October filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday alleging they were retaliated against for speaking out about abuse at the agency and that town officials have spread lies about them.

The women - Diane Madden, Lucille DeFina and Frances Lucivero-Pelletier - seek unspecified compensation for damages and to be allowed back inside the shelter, where for many years they had helped find new homes for animals facing the prospect of euthanasia.

The women claim they were barred from the shelter because they've been vocal about mistreatment of animals there and the need to improve conditions. Also, they allege town officials have defamed them by suggesting they were barred for diverting dogs from the shelter and selling them for a profit, a charge they deny.

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