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Smiley gets another reprieve after judge sides with WAIF

WAIF’s lawyer, Mark Theune, objects to Adam Karp’s request for the judge to issue a stay. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
WAIF’s lawyer, Mark Theune, objects to Adam Karp’s request for the judge to issue a stay.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Smiley’s life is spared again, at least for a little while.

Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill spent 45 minutes Friday explaining why Barbara Moran and Bob Baker’s 14 claims of action against Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation are not likely to prevail in a court of law.

“The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their various courses of action,” she said, effectively lifting the temporary restraining order that has kept Smiley safe from euthanasia since mid-November, 2008.

Baker, sitting next to his attorney, Adam Karp, shook his head and put his face in his hands. Moran did not attend the hearing.

The couple, former WAIF volunteers, went to court to save Smiley’s life after WAIF declared him dangerous and unfit for adoption. After keeping him two years, the “minimal kill” shelter planned to euthanize him.

Following Churchill’s decision in WAIF’s favor Friday, Karp asked her to issue a stay, which would bar the animal shelter — again — from euthanizing the dog.

An audible sigh of frustration came from the courtroom audience as Churchill agreed to issue the stay. Her decision bars WAIF from euthanizing the dog until a final decision is reached in the matter of Moran and Baker vs. WAIF. Karp can file a motion for Churchill to reconsider her decision, or file with the state Court of Appeals.

“The dilemma, of course, is that there will be no case without Smiley,” Chuchill said prior to issuing the stay.

The last-minute decision to issue a stay came as a shock to Mark Theune, WAIF’s lawyer, who objected to it based on Churchill’s decision that Baker and Moran were unlikely to prevail.

Yet Baker and Moran are not the only ones who filed claims with the court.

WAIF submitted a counterclaim against them, alleging malicious prosecution, conspiracy to misuse process and frivolous action, although Churchill has yet to hear the claims in court.

Karp calls WAIF’s counterclaim “frivolous on their face.”

“I may seek attorneys fees ... if I believe their counterclaims are baseless,” he told the Whidbey News-Times. “The statutes don’t even support their claims.”

Karp’s reply to WAIF’s counterclaims states that “they are vague and ambiguous.”

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