On Feb. 24, Edgington wrote a letter to Lancon explaining the dogs found at the camp site belonged to her and she wanted them back. Edgington also wrote, “It is my understanding that you or your agent do not have a court order authorizing you to euthanize my dogs, and I do not give you permission.”
Her letter also stated she tried to make arrangements for a payment plan, and informed Lancon of retaining Mason as her Criminal Defense Minden attorney. The suit asks for an injunction and a declaratory judgment in her favor.
Sammie L. Luckey Sr., director of code enforcement, said county officials were asked by the U.S. Forestry Service to pick up the dogs, and the sheriff’s department also was aware of the situation.
Luckey said Edgington previously notified someone about her dogs and tried to make arrangements for them to be taken care of. He said the forestry service had taken the dogs out of their cages before they arrived so they did not have to remain caged.
“It bothers me,” Mason said of the way Marion County has handled the situation. “A lot of things in this case can be debated.”
The lawsuit claims Marion County is illegally holding Edgington’s animals and that refusing to release them without payment is a violation of due process.
“I have pleaded with them, just give her back her dogs,” said Mason, who is representing Edgington for free. “Their position has always been ‘pay the money and we’ll give you the dogs.’ It seems to me it all comes down to money.”
A similar situation happened in Orange County last year, when Edgington’s cargo van broke down and left her stranded, unable to return to her companions. The 24 dogs were held by Orange County for approximately three or four months and were eventually released back to Edgington without fines or charges, she said.
Mason said the Orange County settlement came with the understanding that Edgington would find homes for some of her companions.
She describes the current situation as “bizarre” and “unreasonable,” but vows to fight to regain custody of the dogs.
“I’m going to be here until this is over,” Edgington said.