Alice Wybert, president and administrator of Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, appeared in court Tuesday to enter a not guilty plea for two charges of animal abuse.
The charges stem from two cats that died while in her care at the animal sanctuary just outside of Jackson, Mo.
Wybert is due back in court May 26 at which time she can change her plea and accept sentencing, or a trial date will be set to determine her guilt or innocence of the charges.
Mediation in another case concerning Wybert and Safe Harbor is ongoing and leaves the sanctuary hanging in the balance.
That case is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Missouri Department of Agriculture that began in the summer of 2014. After repeated failed inspections conducted by the MDA and failure to comply with departmental recommendations, Missouri’s Attorney General filed a petition in October for a temporary restraining order that all but shut down Safe Harbor.
Under the order, Safe Harbor was prohibited from taking in or adopting out any animals except the dogs that were enrolled in the Pups for Parole program. To date, only a small number of those dogs have found homes and the order to halt intakes and adoptions (with the exception of the prison dogs) is still in force.
During the time between the petition and today, Wybert has been compelled to provide weekly disbursements to the court regarding Safe Harbor’s financial transactions.
In November, Wybert’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss but that motion was later denied and a trial was set for February 9.
February came and the trial was postponed due to pending mediation. The court appointed John Heisserer to act as mediator in the case. Mediation was scheduled to begin April 22.
March 31, the Attorney General filed for a preliminary and permanent injunction against Safe Harbor after it was discovered that 31 cats had died at the sanctuary since the October restraining order. The cause of those deaths remains undisclosed. The request for the injunction was withdrawn on April 3. That same day the AG’s office made a motion for change of mediator.
Just prior to the AG’s request it was announced that Safe Harbor would soon be allowed to adopt out animals. To date that hasn’t happened and the only animals known to be available for adoption continue to be the Pups for Parole dogs.
On April 13, new mediator David Remley was appointed to the case. Court documents show that correspondence surrounding the case was filed on April 15, 17, 23, 27, and 28.
As of today’s writing, no conclusive date for outcome on the case can be verified.
To read more details about these cases click the links in the article and those listed below.
Anyone interested in adopting one of the Pups for Parole dogs should contact Wybert as soon as possible at (573) 275-0917.