From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A SITUATION HAS DEVELOPED IN HOUSTON I PROBABLY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO INFLUENCE

A legal situation has developed in Houston, Texas which I have no part or personal interest involved in, and in which I probably will not be able in any way to influence the outcome of.  However, after a long and sleepless night, I realized, regardless of the outcome, I have a responsibility and obligation toward the woman involved, and her family, to make every effort to be an influence.  It is uncomfortable, and stressful to do so, and will require energy I really can't spare, but my own personal pursuit to live as honorable a life as I can, constrains me to speak out.  I cannot look the other way, with my own grasp of the possibilities of what really happened in this situation, and just hope it turns out well for her.  If this woman receives less than true justice without the information that I know should be contributed to the deliberations, I am not entitled to expect true justice for myself or my own family.   First for Ms. Martinez, and then for the three little dogs involved in this tragic incident, justice must prevail.




The first link in my post is one to the story of what has happened to Ms. Rosa Martinez, a principal at a private school in Houston, and three dogs she owned.  She is obviously a well educated and responsible person, as suggested by her employment, and the charges against her make no sense.  Too many unanswered questions arise in my mind, and glaring facts are seemingly ignored, and those facts are essential to determining justice in this case.  

Tragically, I believe had those facts been examined in the first place, this woman would probably never have been publicly humiliated by arrest, and all that demeaning process includes, if the facts had all been considered before actions were taken.  Her employment, according to innuendo by Foti Kallergis, the ABC reporter, is in jeopardy, and "could not be confirmed," by the school she works for, on Tuesday.  Certainly Ms. Martinez has a son who is suffering as well.  Again, I personally believe due diligence would have avoided these life altering assaults against Ms. Martinez and her family.  The following link is to ABC's site 


http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=9314313#

I made numerous comments urging restraint of judgment until all the facts were known, and I was so applauded by the remarks of those commenting, that it was fearful to me to realize the extent of damage already done to this educator without a single day ever being spent in court of law.  Remarks such as I bet she would notice "a baseball bat up the side of her head," took my breath away as others quickly joined in to agree.  Another particularly offensive comment against a woman who has not been convicted of anything, stated she should be "chained up in the backyard without water, and she could just wait for it to rain."

When I read the facts, especially that two other dogs at the home had sores, one on its' abdomen, which follows the usual pattern in the disease which has a strain of antibiotic resistant staph bacteria as the causative agent. I am certain those facts should have been considered before any charges were brought.    I immediately thought of the flesh eating bacteria caused by the staph organism known as MRSA.

No amount of facts, or alternative scenarios would entice anyone commenting on the ABC to decent respect on the site with the exception of one woman, who knows the principal as a very good person, and an undertaker, who has dealt with the human victims of the flesh eating bacteria known as MRSA, upon those individual's deaths. That perhaps she has been accused of animal abuse for not noticing that her dogs legs were rotting off in the presence of this often fatal within 24 hours infection,  when most ordinary citizens would not have either, was something the numerous commentators vehemently refused to consider.

I quoted professors at major universities doing research on the instances, which are on the rise, of Canine Necrotizing Faciitis, as it is scientifically known.  I cut and pasted information, and tried to form communication myself, which would sway the thinking of people obviously who absolutely refused to consider anything but guilt, based solely on the sketchy, at best, details presented by ABC News.

Sleep eluded me all of last night, as I considered what Ms. Martinez must be going through, all she has already suffered and lost, and I came to the realization that it was my responsibility to do what I can, and so I have undertaken to do just that.  I contacted LULAC of Houston, because some of the comments made were what I would consider "hate speech," and one was clearly racial in nature, beginning with "stupid Mexican," and it went downhill from there.  I hope these folks come to understand remarks such as those can be considered illegal to post on a public website, and some are a violation of civil rights, when posted in a public forum,  I don't think the commentators realized they could have legal action taken against them, as their words and tone reflected a physical treat toward Ms. Martinez, who may only be guilty of the lack of knowledge, which an ordinary untrained person would not have, to include the "local veterinarian," the Assistant D. A. and the young reporter for ABC News.  The following is a copy of the communication I sent to Assistant D.A. Goran Krnaich, hoping that additional facts will be examined.  I have received no response what-so-ever.

I think that as Americans, if we do not press for our justice system to work as  is guaranteed for others by the constitution so many have bled and died for in the recent past, we will see our own rights disappear as well.  Our justice system is only as just as those administering it are honorable.

The people commenting on ABC's News Site are extremely focused on protecting the dog's "rights."  Few I have found appeared to be focused on the rights of Ms. Martinez.  Please read what I sent to the D.A., and post comments as to your own conclusions after visiting ABC and reading some of the scenarios I suggested as not only plausible, but more probable that the assumption that the dog had suffered for weeks and its feet had slowly rotted of.  I think, based on the human cases I have seen in my nursing career, if a person isn't treated for an infection as massive as this one obviously was, the dog would have developed sepsis and died long before the animal's feet had exposed bone, that is, unless it was actually MRSA, and not animal abuse at all.

Even the expert veterinarian's  quote concerning another dog death in Texas, and his stating that the animal had died within twenty four hours of contracting the illness, along with references to images online of numerous dogs with skin sloughed off to the bone in one or more of their legs didn't sway those commenting on ABC.  I just have to shake my head and wonder, can something like this happen to anyone, to all of us?  The answer is yes.  A woman's life, her professional career, and her reputation are on the line here, along with the emotional trauma of her child.  I am amazed that the remarks of the veterinarian which began this nightmare for Ms. Martinez were not backed up by his professional identity, he was only referred to as a "local veterinarian."   Ms. Martinez did not have the luxury of being a "local woman," or "local principal." When the dust settles, should the principal be vindicated, will the public learn the name of the vet whose initial diagnosis of the, "the worst case of animal abuse he had ever seen," which is responsible for train wrecking Ms. Martinez's life?


That the possibility of MRSA had been investigated and ruled out, was nowhere in the story, and wouldn't that be a first significant fact that should have been first considered by the D.A.'s office, and then researched and questioned by the reporter on this story.  I suspect the vet was not familiar with this deadly disease being found in dogs around the country, particularly in Texas.  Texas ranks number nine in reported MSRA cases, and the waters of the Gulf Coast contain the highest concentrated levels of the stain of strep in the world, which most causes the flesh eating bacteria disease process in both humans and dogs.  Also, the Lower Colorado River, which lies thirty minutes from my door is a known contaminated water way, where at least one dog has contracted the disease and within hours died.   

I have made my plea to the D.A. in the following email.
 
Dear Sir,


I first learned of Ms. Rosa Martinez's indictment of animal abuse while watching ABC News Houston, yesterday on the four o'clock edition, and I have so much work to do here at the ranch, but I cannot ignore this situation.  My husband has been deployed to the Middle East first with the United States Army, and now with the State Department, and is an honor graduate of West Point, The Army War College, and Georgia Tech.  As supposed on the ABC article comments section, we do proudly live in a double wide, and certainly could be categorized as "church going, small town, rednecks,"  We moved to Sealy in Austin County almost seven years ago so that Randy could take a position with BAE Systems, on the civilian side of his career, as the Program Manager of the MRAP Second Generation Caiman, an up-armored vehicle.  Shortly after that, he was deployed to Afghanistan as the Commander of LOGCAP Afghanistan.  As I said, he now works for the State Department, in Baghdad, Iraq.  Soon I will join him in Kuwait as he stands up a new program in the Middle East for the Department of State.
I have some limited knowledge of the "flesh eating" bacteria in humans, and had very little knowledge of it in dogs, but the facts mentioned in the ABC piece were so in common to the human form of this disease.  I did have first hand experience of exactly  how quickly a human can lose a limb, as I documented in my comments on the ABC site.
My husband and I are animal lovers ourselves, have a great many rescued animals at our little ranch, all of which I interact with daily.  I must confess, I likely would have missed a case of Canine Necrotizing Fasciitis until it was too late during the course of a day. While I highly value animals, to me human beings are of much more value.  I seriously fear your office has indicted without all the facts, and  I urge you to investigate further before Ms. Martinez sustains further wounds, should it indeed be found that a mistake has been made.

I also am concerned that this bacteria has the potential to pass to human beings, it did in one veterinarian hospital case I found online on a government website.  Those individuals became life long carriers of this disease.  I believe there is a responsibility due to the public, and the three dogs involved, and as in the military, I think that the buck stops on your desk. With all due respect,  I am calling your findings and decision in this matter out Sir.  I will continue to contact Veterinarians who specialize in this disease, who have credentials which I do not, and post publicly all communications with you.  I just cannot sit by knowing what I do, wondering what some woman I do not know must be going through today, and suspect she has no idea what has potentially hit her.  I will also attempt to contact her, she has a right to know the possibilities of what has, without a doubt in my mind, train wrecked her life.
I will list here several references, many academic, peer reviewed research of similar cases.  There are many images online of dogs who lost limbs or died of this terrifying condition.  I have learned it is most prevalent in the Gulf Coast States, and Texas is ranked number nine in infectious cases in the United States.  Also the lower Colorado River, which runs within thirty minutes of my home is a known site of contamination with this bacteria. .
The remarks made toward this woman online are disgraceful,... and scary, one in particular suggesting someone take a bat "up the side of her head."  I believe that is a violation of the law to make such remarks publicly online.  The remarks on the site highly resemble hate speech to me.  I have flagged many, in particular the one which begins, "stinking Mexicans."  I urge your office to take action on those remarks as well.  Language toward an accomplished Latin American woman stating, "she should be chained to a tree without water, let her wait for the rain," could fuel something very tragic happening to her.  Again, I urge you take action. I have also considered the remarks made toward me as containing threatening suggestions, even before I began trying to influence a "wait and see stance."  It appears most of those folks are rather fanatical in their opinions, and they often refer to animals as a "person."  I considered the risk, and my own responsibility, and I have made the remarks anyway.  I would need it done for me should I find myself in the same situation.


I am counting on you to be a man of diligence and honor, and one to do the right thing.  I realize how rare that is in government at any level these days, but I am still a true believer in the American Justice System.  I hope you take the time to read my correspondence, click on the sites I list, and avail yourself of information which may  be highly relevant in this case.  Again, thank you for taking the time to address my concerns for this woman, and justice in Harris County.

Sincerely,

Debra LeCompte

The following links are just a drop in the bucket of more than 300,000 references.

http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2013/08/puppy-survives-month-long-battle-with-rare-flesh-eating-bacteria/

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/necrotizing-fasciitis-flesh-eating-bacteria

http://www.pawnation.com/2012/09/28/wyoming-dog-dies-from-flesh-eating-bacteria/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684055/

http://www.austinbassfishing.com/forum/conservation-ethics/33658-mercer-flesh-eating-virus-infesting-austin-waterways.html

Tomorrow I will contact the Centers for Disease Control in 
Atlanta with my concerns that a possible case of flesh eating bacteria in three dogs needs to be investigated.  We all are at risk, if indeed, this ravaging disease was contracted by the dogs of Ms. Martinez.