Dog Rescue Says Facebook Users Libeled It

     (CN) – A Facebook users group published false accusations against a group of Alabama dog rescuers, accusing them of theft, fraud and kidnapping dogs, the targets of the alleged abuse claim in court.
     The plaintiffs, whose volunteer work involves the rescue of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, sued the contributors to the “Beware Cavalier Rescue of Alabama” Facebook page last week in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Ala.
     According to the March 19 complaint, the was created in February as “a transparent medium through which the administrator of this page and others publish inaccurate and defamatory statements.”
     The plaintiffs, who are Alabama residents, were involved in an effort to rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniels last year from an alleged puppy mill in Clay County, Ala. They raised funds through an online fundraising site, GoFundMe.org, and purchased a number of the dogs at an auction in Wheaton, Missouri.
     Two of the plaintiffs, Britney Wilk and Lisa Thompson were co-coordinators for a nonprofit rescue organization called Cavalier Rescue USA (CRUSA).
     Of the dogs they purchased at auction, the majority were brought back to Alabama, and “the remaining Cavaliers were transferred to other CRUSA State coordinators and dispersed to other parts of the United States,” the complaint says.
     Since then, the defendants have allegedly made defamatory comments about the plaintiffs, using the Facebook page and “other online sources.”
     “They have made comments that the dogs were purchased with funds fraudulently obtained and used to purchase dogs for their ‘friends and family,’ and that everything was prearranged from the beginning and merely a method to get expensive dogs for themselves at the expense of the donors,” the complaint says.
     The plaintiffs go on to accuse the defendants have also posted pictures from the plaintiffs’ Facebook pages without their permission.
     According to the complaint, the defendant’s accusations lack “any factual support” and show their “growing malice towards and obsession with the Plaintiffs.”
     The plaintiffs says they’ve tried to convince the defendants to retract these statements, so far to no avail.
     They seek actual, incremental and punitive damages on claims of libel and libel per se.
     The plaintiffs also seek the right to perform discovery into whether defendants were provided with material assistance in the publication of their comments.

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