Civil Rights

Lawyer wins latest round in dog rescue dispute; federal judge awards $50K in attorney fees

A lawyer who oversees a dog shelter in Pennsylvania has won the latest round in a dispute over conditions at the Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue Inc.

A federal judge in Philadelphia has awarded attorney Terry Silva over $50,000 in attorney fees and costs in the successful civil rights suit she and other plaintiffs have pursued since 2010 over the wrongful confiscation of three dogs, reports the Pennsylvania Record.

They had asserted claims under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, contending that dogs were taken from them by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in violation of their constitutional rights to property and liberty and without constitutionally required procedural and substantive due process.

Silva herself put in nearly 200 hours on the case, at an hourly rate of $250, the judge determined. He awarded $50,418.75, including $1,743.75 for litigating over the correct amount of attorney fees.

U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller nixed a request by the PSPCA for a $6,000 credit for veterinary bills, declining in a written opinion to “reward Defendants for improperly confiscating Plaintiffs’ dogs.”

Related coverage:

Philadelphia Inquirer (July 2013): “Delco pet ‘rescue’ operator convicted of animal cruelty”

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