Tags: pony rides | shut down | Santa Monica | California | police

Woman Whose Pony Rides Were Shut Down Sues

By    |   Tuesday, 11 November 2014 04:54 PM

A woman whose pony rides at a weekly farmers market are being shut down is suing animal rights activists who helped convince officials to cancel her annual contract.

Tawni’s Ponies & Petting Farm owner Tawni Angel and husband, Nester, are claiming defamation in a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Breitbart News reports.

Angel alleges animal rights activist Marcy Winograd and others falsely accused Angel's business of animal abuse even after the Santa Monica Police Department’s animal control unit investigated and found no evidence of abuse.

The suit also cited a separate police report finding the horses were in good shape and showed no signs of abuse or neglect.

"Despite receiving written notice that there was no evidence of animal abuse, Winograd and the other defendants continued to wrongly accuse Angel and Nester of abusing their animals," the couple's complaint says, Breitbart reports.

Breitbart reports the accusations were repeated on YouTube in August and that activists alleged the couple were in violation of the California penal code. Winograd also is accused of sending Facebook photos of Angel and her husband drinking to City Council officials considering the contract renewal.

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In addition, the complaint notes, Facebook posts by another defendant Danielle Charney, called Angel and her husband "racist bigoted anti-women RW [right-wing] alcoholic gun toters," Breitbart reports.

The Council subsequently voted not to renew the contract, which expires in May 2015.

"I'm very confident in our position in this lawsuit," Angel's lawyer, Donald Chomiak, told Breitbart Tuesday. "The record speaks for itself."

He said the exonerating police report last May referred to activists as "very rude" and "argumentative" at a protest. The lawyer said though Winograd knew Angel had been cleared of any animal abuse "the entire time this woman kept spewing."

Winograd told Breitbart she'll keep fighting.

"I think it's a coercive lawsuit designed to bully and intimidate people who exercise their constitutionally protected free speech rights," she told the news outlet. "I think it's meant to silence me and the over 1,400 others who signed a petition calling for the closure of the animal exhibits at the Main Street Farmers Market."

According to a CBS News radio affiliate, KNX 1070, the ponies could be replaced with a a "non-animal activity" such as painting or cooking.

"Like many of my neighbors … who boycott this market because of the animal exploitation, I was not comfortable seeing ponies tethered and forced to plod in endless circles on hot concrete with band music hammering their ears and car exhaust in their face," Winograd told the radio affiliate in September before the Council vote.

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A woman whose pony rides at a weekly farmers market is being shut down is suing animal rights activists who helped convince officials to cancel her annual contract.
pony rides, shut down, Santa Monica, California, police
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 04:54 PM
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