A Statment from the Wiltshire Family regarding a news report airing Wednesday, August 17at 11 p.m.:
The Wiltshires are disappointed to see that a spokesperson for Main Line Rescue (MLAR), an organization whose mission they continue to support and whose volunteers they admire in the main, has posted a statement that addresses only a small and one-sided portion of the entire story, and even that statement is factually incorrect in several important instances.
The handwritten note that Mr. Smith left for the Wiltshires was placed under a food bowl that had been left out for the missing dog, rather than taped onto the front door or placed in another more obvious location. Although Mr. Smith alleges that he contacted the Wiltshires neighbors (he would not have had to go far in a canvass of the neighborhood to identify someone who knew how to contact the Wiltshires), not one of the neighbors has any recollection of having heard from MLAR. Perhaps this is why MLAR stated “four days passed with no contact” from any of the Wiltshires’ neighbors (from Friday, June 3 until Monday morning, June 6.)
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Further, MLAR intimates that the Wiltshires were not picking up phone messages. MLAR personnel know full well that the Wiltshires were on vacation and that the substitute house sitter’s five-year old daughter had inadvertently locked them out of the Wiltshires’ house. This is what precipitated the whole incident in the first place. Further, the house sitter did, in fact, call, not only the Chester County SPCA, but also the Delaware County SPCA, the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department and the Cheyney University security office. MLAR states that Foxy Lady was picked up by a Good Samaritan who saw her running along a road. Sadly, MLAR would not give the name or contact information of the Good Samaritan to the Wiltshires so that they could properly thank him/her for picking up their pet.
The most telling distortion is that MLAR states the Wiltshires “… knew Sebastian had gone missing but didn’t even look in their own back yard…”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Wiltshires, who were out of state on vacation when Foxy Lady disappeared from the care of house sitters, forthrightly told Mr. Smith, in his brief phone call, the basic facts surrounding Sebastian’s death, including their search attempts on the premises and in the neighborhood, and their contacts with both the Delaware County and Chester County branches of the SPCA. They told Mr. Smith that Sebastian had died quickly on a Sunday morning about two years previously, and was found two and a half days later burrowed down under their overturned canoe in their fenced garden yard (the same yard from which Foxy Lady is alleged to have escaped) and that the Wiltshires’ veterinarian, Dr. Gray, believed the cause of death was, most likely, a twisted bowel. The Wiltshires asked for a necropsy, but were informed that, after twelve to twenty-four hours, the internal organs would be too badly decomposed to accurately determine a cause of death. The Wiltshires asked if poisoning could be possible and Dr. Gray said that, while possible, it was very unlikely, and informed Mr. Wiltshire that a twisted bowel is not that uncommon and can cause the death of an animal very quickly.
The Wiltshires related these facts to Mr. Smith and then said they would like to meet with him after their return home, to give Mr. Smith the complete set of facts and circumstances in an attempt to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Smith refused to entertain such a meeting, even with counsel present. As a result, the Wiltshires’ conversation with Mr. Smith became distorted into “…their vet said there was no way to confirm the cause of death because of the level of decomposition, but it was likely from being hit by a car or from being poisoned.” Dr. Gray is prepared to testify that this statement is not true. Dr. Gray contacted MLAR to discuss the issue with them, but they refused to return his, or anyone else’s, call. Sebastian was never hit by anything, and at no time did the Wiltshires or Dr. Gray suggest he was. (That would have required Sebastian escaping from the garden yard, getting himself hit by a car and then letting himself back into the fenced garden yard to die. That’s as preposterous as Mr. Smith suggesting that Sebastian was hit by a car in the first place. Betsy Legnini, on behalf of MLAR even wrote to the Wiltshires making a statement that demonstrates their unwillingness to even hear all the facts let alone consider them in making a sound decision: “…we do not believe that the dog in question, known to us as Foxy Lady, was in a safe situation, and nothing you can say can convince us otherwise.” (Emphasis added.) Sadly, this attitude perverts the otherwise noble undertaking that MLAR, and rescues like it, have taken on as their core mission.
MLAR suggests that “…this has been very upsetting…”. MLAR’s level of upset cannot begin to be compared with that of the Wiltshires who loved and spoiled Foxy Lady for four and a half years in their large home on seven acres in rural Delaware County. The Wiltshires have owned dogs all of their adult lives, and all (with the exception of Sebastian) have lived to ripe old ages. The mere suggestion that their home is unsafe is an absurd and unkind cut with which the Wiltshires and the people who know them best and have observed them with their pets over the years, take vehement exception. Despite that, the Wiltshires did everything they could to avoid litigation in this matter. The steadfast refusal of MLAR personnel to even entertain a meeting left the Wiltshires with no choice. Unfortunately, some lawsuits are born when otherwise well-intentioned people take snippets of information and misinformation, refuse to consider all the data, make assumptions and snap judgments, then reach poorly informed conclusions which lead to hurtful and harmful decisions.
Finally, the Wiltshires find it very ironic that MLAR states it “…refuses to be bullied…”.
The unfortunate fact is that it is MLAR’s behavior that is bullying. They are represented by one of the most powerful attorneys in the state in Bill Lamb, and continue to bludgeon all who cross them with the virtually unlimited resources of its very wealthy financial backers.