(CN) – A federal judge refused to certify a class to sue the District of Columbia and Washington Humane Society officials for allegedly seizing their pets without due process.
Willie Jackson is the only individual remaining from the three original plaintiffs who sought to represent the proposed class. The other two plaintiffs either left the country or died.
They claimed that the city seized their pets without notice and damaged or destroyed the animals by sterilizing them.
Jackson said his female Rottweiler was dying of cancer when the humane society entered his home and took custody of the dog. They allegedly refused to release the animal unless Jackson paid for expensive surgery. After Jackson finally agreed to the sought-after “radical” treatment, it was unsuccessful and the dog died.
Sunday Dalaskea, who has since moved out of the United States, said her dog was seized from her car, which she left unattended “to get some things” from her apartment. The humane society neutered full-bred, pedigreed Dogo Argentino, which Dalaskea had bought in part for breeding. Before the dog was seized, it had been fed, watered and walked and was not in danger, according to the complaint.
Francis Norris, MD, claimed her dog was also seized from his car while he was at the gym. She said she left food and water in the car for the Schipperke lap dog, parked her car under a shady tree and cracked the windows. The humane society would only release the dog after Norris paid for unnecessary treatment, but the dog came back to her in “bedraggled” and “terrible condition.” Norris has since died.
A magistrate judge rejected Jackson’s class estimates that 6,000 to 11,000 people had their animals seized like he had.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly accepted the recommendation and denied class certification on Aug. 10.
“Here, the members of the proposed class suffered a wide range of deprivations, were provided with different kinds of notice at different points in time, and claim distinct injuries,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote. “These differences are of constitutional significance and, as such, implicate class members’ very ability to prevail on their claims. Simply put, Jackson’s claims are not typical of all or even most of the different claims that comprise the class. Indeed, the court doubts that any single named plaintiff could serve as the representative for the entirety of the broad class proposed.”