Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stitchy, the LA Times and the painful lesson learned.


So the L.A. Times has run an article on our Stitch story, and I have learned a huge lesson. When you open yourself to the press, you’re also open to the risk of things being misinterpreted – which can really hurt you-  and that is what happened here. While I understand that a journalist must present both sides of an issue, this journalist left out the most important parts of the story- the ones where Daveigh Chase locked Stitch in a room for days and eventually abandoned him, and where Soleil Brown admitted to losing him at least five times, didn’t go looking for him for days because he “figured he’d turn up”. Also the fact that Stitch was found in the middle of a highway, weak and sick, with a cigarette burn on his neck. Because she didn’t include those facts (all that were admitted in court- and I have numerous witnesses) it just looks like Brown is this poor guy whose dog was taken away. In the comments section of the story, we are being called “spiteful”, “selfish” and “disgusting”.

What this article neglects to mention is the reason we can’t turn Stitch over to Soleil Brown. I told this journalist, several times, I would never keep a dog away from an owner who loved and cared for him. That would be cruel. But we could not in good conscience, turn Stitch over into the hands of these people. In their care, he almost ended up dead.

Before we adopted Stitch in 2007, he had been passed around between a group of kids: Aaron Carter, Daveigh Chase, and Soleil Brown. This is a group of privileged Hollywood kids who spend their time partying and in nightclubs. Aaron Carter, who used to date Lindsay Lohan and has been in and out of rehab, was the original owner of Stitch, but he gave him away to Daveigh Chase, (the voice of Lilo in Lilo and Stitch, thus Stitch’s name). Daveigh was then a teenager, spending all her time in nightclubs. She locked Stitch in her room for days at a time without sunshine or exercise while she was out partying. Then she ran away from home at 16 with her adult boyfriend, Soleil Brown, abandoning Stitch. This is why her mother was looking for someone to adopt Stitch. Any of this can be googled. There is a paparazzi video of Daveigh saying Stitch is her dog. (google “Daveigh Chase is adopting a puppy”)  If you want to see pictures of Daviegh Chase guzzling tequila straight out of a bottle and various other nasty things, just check out her tumblr page (Daveigh Chase in your face). Or Soleil Brown’s online profile where his About Me sections says that he “hates everyone this good world has to offer”. These are the people who passed Stitch around like he was a toy. Daveigh’s mother told us that Stitch had been taken to wild parties where he was so distressed he jumped through a window and ran away.

After we adopted Stitch and had him licensed and microchipped, Brown falsely claimed the dog was his (because Daveigh was a minor and had no recourse) and filed a theft report against us with the police department, and although he had no proof or documentation that Stitch belonged to him, we were forced to return Stitch to Cathy Chase (Daveigh’s mother). Two years later, Stitch was found abandoned in the middle of a highway, sick, and with a cigarette burn on his neck. Because he was still microchipped to us and had no current tag, we were contacted. We made a ten hour trip to rescue him for a second time.

Brown didn’t put missing signs up for Stitch until eleven days after he went missing. I believe this is because Brown lives in Hawaii, and only comes to L.A. for some months out of the year. My question is – how can he own a dog in California, when he LIVES IN HAWAII?

I wondered if, when we went to court, we would learn something about Brown – that maybe we’d find out we were wrong, and he really was a good guy who loved Stitch. But that didn’t happen. Brown admitted in court that he had lost Stitch at least five times, that he let Stitch, a small French bulldog, run loose daily in the wilderness in Tahoe, where there are coyotes and bears. Even after losing Stitch numerous times, he never gave him a proper tag, never licensed nor microchipped him. Do those sound like the actions of someone who “loves their dog like a child”?  If a parent had “lost” a child five times, CPS would take the child away.

And in response to Brown’s former attorney JT Fox (in the article) saying he loved the dog? JT Fox dropped Brown as a client. I was there when he went to court to ask the judge to release him from the case. He told my attorney that Brown was an idiot who didn’t care about the dog. This whole thing was only about money. Brown was originally suing us in unlimited court for up to $50,000.

Again, everything we’ve done in this case has been what we believe is Stitch’s best interest. Stitch has lived with us for years, where he is safe and loved and has never once tried to run away. For those who have called us selfish and disgusting, I can only say this. We have spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and endured years of grief over this. Would a selfish person do that? We are doing what we believe is right, whether the court agrees or not. We aren’t concerned with anyone’s judgment. We only want to do what is right. Stitch deserves to live a happy and safe life. 

AUGUST 2013 UPDATE: It has been a year since I posted this blog, a year since our appeals were thrown out of court, 2 years since the plaintiff "won" custody of Stitch. He has not once tried to contact us or our attorney to retain custody. I think at this point, any judge in his or her right mind could plainly see that this never was about Stitch. It always was about money.

56 comments:

  1. Hollye,
    I have been following your story for quite a while. I read the article from the LA Times and I still think Stitch belongs with you guys without a doubt. I felt like Brown and his mother were trying to play the sympathy card and I saw through it right away.If he loved him so much he would have never lost him. Please dont lose the faith.You have went to great lenghts to get your story out and to protect Stitch. What really has he done? Answer: Nothing! There are always those few idiots that will side with them but dont worry karma will catch up with him.You are paving the way for all of us who is willing to fight for our pets and you will make a change. Keep your faith and we are in your corner. The truth will always come out in the end and you will win. Chin up and you have alot of people who love you all and cheering you on. Thanks, Amy Lawson

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    1. Amy,
      thank you so much. You have no idea how much this lifts my spirits. It's been a tough day. In fact, it's been a tough three years...

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  2. I pray over and over that you will be able to keep Stitch in your safe and loving home until he passes away from old age. You are a wonderful loving family and he deserves that.

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  3. That's what needs to be printed in the paper. I think of Stitch daily and hope and pray that this will be settled and he can stay with you for the rest of his life without the stress and worry of having to one day go back to those spoiled little rich jerks.
    Debi

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    1. Thank you Debi! I do believe your prayers are helping. One day, all these prayers will add up, this thing will be over, and Stitch will be safe forever with us.

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  4. Thank you so much for loving Stitch. We need more people like you!

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    1. Thank you!!! Your support means so much to us.

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  5. P.S. Give Stitch a big hug from us here in Indiana. Amy Lawson(lawsonchevy2000@aol.com)

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  6. People are negative and quick to pass judgement! they also like to voice these negative opinions on online newspapers. they read one article and think they know everything. don't let it get to you! I commented on the article in your defense. there are a lot of people rooting for you so just keep your ears tuned into them :)

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    1. Thank you! I saw some of our defenders in the comments and it gave me hope. I so appreciate your belief in us. You are right about online commenters- I dont' have much experience with it so it was a shock. It bothered me when people said I was using my child to manipulate the media and that we should "get what we deserve". I've been so surrounded with love through this whole ordeal, the hate thing was a real shocker. You've given me good advice- I will keep my ears tuned in to the positive. Thanks for the reminder. xo

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    2. Unfortunately there will always be idiot people who do not research/listen/understand a situation in which they are not involved. And even more unfortunately some of them will be "journalists". I have followed your story. I pray Stitch remains with you. I CANNOT fathom why the court has any question as to the right/correct thing to do here. Makes me very leery of out justice system that so little common sense is used!!! Do you have any recourse against the paper? Can some of your supporters contact the paper with "the rest of the story"?

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    3. That's a good question, Gail. I don't know if I have any recourse with the times. This is all new to me. I need to research this. Thank you for the suggestion. xo

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    4. Hollye, could you write an Op-Ed piece that ould fill the missing facts, or are you under a gag order? It seems reasonable that you should be able to explain the missing information so that the reader's benefit from the facts in order to make an informed decision about their opinion regarding the Stitch case.

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    5. I wrote a letter to the editor, waiting to see how that pans out.
      A gag order? ME? No one could ever shut me up. lol.

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  7. This continues to amaze me. I still can't figure out why Brown is trying to get Stitch. What in the world is motivation? I know it is not love; is there some sort of financial award that he is eyeing?

    Hang in there. You are doing a brave and noble thing. You just can't fight ignorance sometimes, even in the press. My best advice is to do like some of the wiser people in show biz and do not read the press stories about you!

    Your friend, Emily Kennedy

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    1. Not knowing his motivation has been our biggest problem. It's like fighting an invisible monster.

      And yes, you are right about not reading the comments. I made a few replies, just trying to get the story straight, but after that, I stopped looking. From now on I'm sticking with my Stitchy supporters and the circle of love we have.

      Thank you for your support Emily! xo

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  8. I think the paper showed both sides. I know you love Stitch but it could be said that you had the women wait to call the right number after the 14 days so you could have rights to Stitch. Also, for the two years he had the dog you were never called so there are lots of sides to this story. I feel for you and Stitch but there are always more than one side to the story, yours, theirs and the truth. The law should be changed but not sure this is the case. The dog stranded on the mountain and who was rescued by others than the owner is a better case and more clear cut than yours to change the law. I think because you never hired a court reporter (lawyer's error) you are now stuck with no testimony you can use to continue to fight even if the laws are wrong (in your opinion) or faulty. Maybe Brown will just give up now that he is has no lawyer. But it still won't solve the issue of the property statute.

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    1. Dear Anonymous-
      I don't know who you are or what 14 day situation you are referring to? I didn't have anyone do anything. If you are referring to the woman who found Stitch on the highway, she posted signs the same day she found Stitch, and no one responded to the signs (within blocks of Soleil's house). She took Stitch to have his chip scanned two days later and the micrchip company called me. No one made anyone wait to call anyone. I don't even know where you got this from.

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    2. Someone who knows you. I hope you get to keep Stitch but the truth is the truth.

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    3. Hey guy, your message simply does not make any sense. Please keep your negative feelings to yourself as we are all here supportive of Ms Hollye, and please be sure to know the actual situation before giving your two cents. You may know Ms Hollye but you are not directly involved in this conflict so just give her your support instead of trying to put her down.

      Ms Hollye, the best of luck!

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  9. OMFG. having just read the LA times piece, the journalist should be ashamed of her reporting (or lack there of). it was horribly confusing - knowing how you fought (& fight) for stitch and for all animals & pets to not be treated like property. i think a journalist's job - as is every writers job - is to write the truth, speak the truth. there are so many holes in her story and i think that while this certainly is another opportunity to fight fight fight for stitch, i think it also represents that when someone rewrites the truth or misleads the truth as this writer did - many, many people get hurt. you are brave - you & troy & evan - and love always wins. it always, always wins. even when it looks like it's not...

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    1. thank you Amy, for reminding me that love always wins.
      Love you.

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  10. Don't let the negative comments get you down. Your family is doing what is best for Stitchy and that is all that matters.

    Thank you for being a true friend to Stitch and continuing to fight the good fight. And also for teaching Evan to never give up on someone you love. You guys are heroes in my book!

    Lots of hugs and warm thoughts being sent you way. Also some extra butt scritches for Mr. Stich.

    Blessings and Bones,
    Jackie, Jerron, Tito and FatHead

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    1. Thank you so very much. I am focusing on the love and positivity that surrounds us- and how lucky we are to have it.
      FatHead sounds like an excellent name for a dog. : ) I'll bet he's cute.

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  11. Send this (a shorter version) to the editor immediately and ask that it be printed.
    Send it to the Editor-In-Chief , too. Seriously.

    All good wishes and love to all of you.

    Liz



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  12. I'm with Liz. Letter to Editor. And like Leonard Cohen says,

    "Ring the bell that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in..."

    May the light shine on Stitch, and his LOVING family.

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    1. Just sent a letter to the editor. Thank you for the light, Amy. Trying to stay centered in that today. xoxo

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  13. There is the Dexter's side, the Brown version and the truth somewhere in between. Each side splits on to what they think is the truth. The judge ruled, the appeals came and are still going on. We will never know the real truth and the writer of the LA Times article heard what she heard as well and wrote what I thought was a balanced piece. Just because it doesn't show one party wronger or righter than the other is how she interpreted it. Sorry it didn't go your way but you know there are many sides of this case that are still hidden. Why did you call the woman and tell her to stop searching so that the days would correspond with the law that after 14 days you could get the dog and presumably it would be yours. Clearly that backfired. Brown might be an ass and whether it is about money or not he still wins and doesn't have to do anything to prove his case anymore. This will be settled if he gets the money to pay you your costs, I doubt it so you will get Stitch by default. He clearly didn't have the money or he would have paid the day in won or within the time before the appeal. He didn't and so far hasn't had to do anything until the final appeal is made. Meanwhile Stitch is happy but that doesn't make your side the right and his the wrong one. He had the dog for two years with no calls from your chip and that speaks something. It is not black or white and since your friends will always side with you and his with him it will only be settled by a settlement or a final ruling. To go after the writer of the article is ridiculous and that is not the issue. But your friends are showing you the support and if that makes everyone feel better, great but it is not the authors right to pick side which they didn't in my opinion. The rea; problem was not hiring a court reporter so that you would have an actual written prove of what was said, not what was interpreted or heard by all parties.

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    1. I don't know who you are ( you obviously wrote this above comment as well) or why you keep bringing up this 14 day phone call thing, nor do I know what woman you are referring to. I have no idea what you are talking about. I was contacted within two days of Stitch being found on the highway.

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    2. Dear "Anonymous",

      I am quite sure that Mr. Brown does have a side and personally I would like to hear it from him rather then someone who can't even bother to leave a name. That said if you have some kind of legitimate insider knowledge please share....

      Maybe u can explain how Stitch ended up in the street clearly showing signs of abuse. Maybe you can explain why Mr Brown failed to update Stitch's microchip information for two years so that the Dexter's were notified in the first place. Please show me some evidence that Mr. Brown was even bothering to look for the dog...show me the craigslist add, the signs or whatever evidence you have. Prove to me that Mr. Brown was something other then an extremely neglectful owner at any point in his relationship with Stitch.

      If you can't do this then I (and probably everybody else that reads this) will consider u a troll who is simply out to cause trouble.

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  14. On NPR today with Patt Morrison. Here is a link. Of course getting press and of course it is all not pleasant but that is the risk one runs when there is a conflict.
    http://www.scpr.org/programs/patt-morrison/2012/08/22/28031/pet-custody/

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  15. Still following along and crossing my fingers. You are doing the right thing.

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  16. Holleye: You shouldn't let that one negative comment in the Times get you down. 99.9% are in your corner. It could have been written by someone connected to the other side. People with who love animals know where Stitch belongs. There has got to be a higher reason (spiritual, karmac or whatever you want to call it) why you have been pulled into this fray. Everyone following this story sees the commitment you make to your family which includes Stitch. You're also showing the world what a brilliant writer you are. You are making a difference for all the animals who deserve a great life. God Bless You.

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  17. From a supporter in Australia: Don't be deterred. Stitch is in the right hands.

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  18. It was disgusting how the reporter glossed over the facts of the case, this poor little dog, running loose, unclaimed with a cigarette burn on his neck! For heaven's sake, that should have led to a much more in depth investigation of his so called owner, the little twerp. Poor, poor reporting, very shoddy. Best of luck to his real loving family!

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    1. Thank you so much William. I feel bad that the reporter is getting a bad rap- I actually like her. She's a nice girl. But she missed a lot of facts from the case that weren't in the written decision by the judge, and maybe there are legal reasons or reasons from her editor. Whatever the reasons, I feel the article made us look like we are just stubborn people refusing to comply with the law, instead of giving the real reasons we are fighting. She never mentioned how we are fighting to hopefully make a dent in the lost property statute. That is a huge part of this case. Anyway, we're not giving up and thanks for the support!

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  19. You also might want to consider changing his name. As it is, it must evoke some unpleasant associations. New life, new name.

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  20. Hi Hollye. I'm an old friend of Troy's from Dick Grove's, in another lifetime. All I can say is how much I feel for you guys to have to go through the mud of this. We are sending you our support from Massachusetts.

    Maybe a letter writing campaign? To the LA TImes? Other media out there? I like Liz's idea of short and sweet. Get the rest of the story out there.

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    1. Thanks Richard! It's so nice to hear from Troy's music buddies. I'm sure letters would help- if anyone out there wants to write. I'll see if I can find out who to contact.

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  21. I believe when the woman who found the dog told you she was trying to find the owner and had a new number for him you told her to not call back so that 14 days would lapse and you could claim the dog. She waited and you sent your son to go and get the dog. Had she called Brown within 14 days he would have gone to get the dog and that would have been it. But she followed your instructions and waited until after you had the dog. Then he knew where it was and started trying to get it back.

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    1. All Candace had when she found Stitch was a disconnected phone #. Don't know where you got your information but if you had been in the courtroom (Cathy) you would have known that we picked Stitch up 10 days after he was found ( because we live ten hours away and had to arrange the trip). Brown did not put signs up for Stitch until 12 days after Stich went missing, AFTER we had already picked Stitch up. The woman who had found Stitch called Brown the day he posted the signs and told him Stitch was with his "legal" owners, according to his microchip.
      If you are going to make anonymous posts about my case you should have facts, not hearsay. If you're so interested, look up the court records- it's all online and public record.

      Otherwise, I suggest you move on- you of all people to make comments like this when you started this whole mess, and then ran from the subpoena.

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  22. I can assure you I am not Cathy and have never met her or talked to her. I might have the time frame wrong but you definitely told the woman not to call Brown until you had the dog in your possession. You know the truth. As I said I hope you win but there are lies on both sides.

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    1. Yes, I do know the truth. Who is a better messenger of the truth here? A person posting anonymously who knows nothing about the case, or a person who has dedicated her life to living in the truth, and who has testified under oath on the witness stand? Like I said, the court records are public. I have nothing to hide.
      And for your information, Candace had already called Brown before she called to tell me she had seen his signs ( and Stitch was already in my possession). And all of this was about twelve days after Stitch went missing, so again, you have your story completely wrong.
      I could delete your comments, but I think I'll let them stay, because now I know who this is, and I'd like everyone else to see how you are. How you stir trouble for others who are trying to do good in the world.
      Why don't you try being a force for good and love in the world, instead of wasting your time trying to tear others down ? You would feel better about yourself. I'm not going to engage with you and your negativity- I will delete further comments, and wish you peace.

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  23. I am not Cathy. I just know there was something fuzzy about the time frame and her having a number and the number of days you can have something before it is considered abandonment. You deserve to keep Stitch and I hope you do. With no court recorder it will be hard to win the appeal. Lawyer error on that one. I hope the appeals go well or Brown just gives up or can't pay you for the upkeep. I also was sorry to hear about losing your grandson to his Mom and the move to Japan. I hope you spend as much time/money trying to get your son his visitation rights as you have trying to save Stitch.

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  24. i know who you are and have reported you to Google for libel and slander. You can post anonymously but that doesn't mean your IP address isn't traceable.

    I am not surprised to read these comments from you, as you are an admitted animal hater and told me you couldn't believe I was wasting my money on "a dog". Also you wrote a libelous blog about my good friend, author Monica Holloway, criticizing her and her dogs. Monica spends her time fighting against puppy mills and helping families of autistic children. I work with foster kids and rescuing animals. And what do you do? You spend all day on other people's blogs, giving your unwarranted opinions.
    This time you've gone too far and have been reported.

    I should have known better than to ever talk to a person who admits to hating animals.

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  25. What a horrible person locking her dog up in rooms for days. Poor dog. Stitch deserves a normal life full of love. Stitch belongs with you.

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  26. Sending love and support from Australia - where is Stitch living now? Please tell me he's with you where he belongs!

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  27. I've just read this story and that is disgusting! How could anyone treat a dog that way? I think you deserve to keep Stitch as you looked after him and truly cared for him. I've read the replies from this blog and saw that someone was harassing you. Don't let them get to you, they're being childish! I love my dogs and would do anything for them! I hope you win Stitch back and take care of him for as long as you can!

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  28. I have discovered this story as well and it sure is disgusting. The L.A. Times article seems to be very influenced by the lies of the other side, lies they keep spreading. @DaveighC spread some serious falsehoods about your side on her Twitter account a couple of days ago, saying that you guys were slandering her name to get into the paper. I don't want to falsely accuse anybody, but I bet she or one of her friends was the "Anonymous" poster harassing you above, and probably left those awful comments in the L.A. Times article comment section. I really don't believe anything they say because all they care about is nightclub and partying. I just wanted you to be aware of this because I really care about your cause, and I don't want some lying, drugged-out celebrity to tarnish your reputation. The truth prevails!

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  29. I just found this story - what was the outcome? Is Stitch still with you? I certainly hope so!!

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  30. I certainly hope a resolution has been found & the poor doggie, Stitch, is still at peace living w/you.

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  31. Illegitimi non carborundum!

    I hope that you and your family (Stitch included) can put all this craziness behind you someday, even though the courts seem to be misguidedly working against you.

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I love hearing your point of view- thank you for taking the time to comment and be part of the conversation!
love,
Hollye