May 6, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Tawnis Ponies Strike Back At Santa Monica Protestors With Lawsuit:

Tawnis Ponies has struck back at protestors who spent five months campaigning to oust the business from Santa Monica Farmers Markets on Main Street, by hitting them with a defamation lawsuit.

Lawyer for Ponies’ operators Tawni Angel and Jason Nester, Don Chomiak of Talisman Law, said that he has compiled a strong case against the pony-rights activists.

Documents obtained from the City of Santa Monica show that the leader of the protestors, Marcy Winograd, a former congressional candidate and local political activist, was advised in writing twice in May 2014 by City officials that there was no evidence of animal abuse after three separate inspections of Tawnis Ponies And Petting Farm, Inc. by the Santa Monica Police, according to Chomiak.

“Animal abuse is a crime – a crime my clients did not commit,” Chomiak said. “Marcy Winograd was told repeatedly by the authorities that there was no evidence of animal abuse, but she and her fellow protestors kept publicly accusing my clients of committing this crime to sway public opinion against my clients and obtain signatures on their petition to shut down the pony ride and petting zoo. They must now be held accountable.”

Winograd claims that she was acting well within her rights.

She also said that using Tawnis Ponies operators’ personal Facebook pages to prove her point, as she did, should be expected by people who work with children.

“In consultation with counsel, I intend to file an anti-SLAPP motion to protect my freedom of speech rights – and those of others who might otherwise be deterred by coercive litigation from exercising their rights – and to defend the rights of suffering animals, sentient beings with emotional lives worthy of dignity and compassion,” Winograd said.

Chamiak said animal abuse was not a matter of opinion.

“It is a crime under California’s Penal Code and has specific elements that must be met,” Chamiak said. “The police told Winograd on multiple occasions there was no evidence of animal abuse. Thus, I think my clients are very likely to defeat an anti-SLAPP motion.”

As for Ponies owner Tawni Angel, she just wants to clear her name.

“It just saddens me so much that anyone would think that I would harm my animals,” Angel said. “There is just enough money in this business to cover our expenses. We do it because we love it. I love my animals and I take incredible care of them.”

Tawnies Ponies and Petting Zoo have been operating at Santa Monica Farmers Markets for 11 years.

The controversy and accusations surrounding the small business saw Santa Monica City Council vote Sept. 9 this year to end animal exhibits at the Farmers Markets effective May, 2015.

“By falsely accusing my clients of animal abuse and creating a controversy based on unfounded claims, the protestors may have put these animals at real risk if my clients can no longer afford to take care of the animals and are forced to sell them,” Chomiak said.

“These false allegations are the basis for the lawsuit,” he added.

Chomiak sited a July 13, 2014 report by Santa Monica Police Department’s Sergeant Mike Graham, the former head of the department’s Animal Control Unit and a former horse owner.

“The horses appeared to be in good condition – their body weight was normal, their fur was clean and brushed, their manes and tails were brushed and healthy, the ground around them was clean and evenly flat, they walked on sawdust shavings, and there was no visible urine or feces,” the report stated. “The horses were ‘quiet’ and well behaved. I saw nothing to make me believe the horses were ill-treated, unhealthy, malnourished, injured, or in discomfort. The horses did not appear hot, were not sweating, and were on a timed (30 minute alarm) water-break schedule.”

Angel said the ponies are her family.

“I work so hard so that children can enjoy animals, so they can get close to them,” Angel said. “It’s the opposite to what the protestors are claiming.”

The exact dates of the hearing will depend on subsequent filings in the coming days.

in News
Related Posts

Riviera Mansion on Market for $25 Million

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

 6 bedroom, 10 bathroom Riviera mansion hits market  By Chad Winthrop A nearly century-old Riviera mansion complete with a speakeasy...

Venice’s Fox Theater Revamp

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

A developer wants to revamp the historic Fox Theater building in Venice. Learn more in this video made possible by...

Edify TV: Site Work Begins on Nearly Billion Dollar LAX Station

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

Site work has begun for a nearly billion dollar light rail transit station coming to LAX. Learn more in this...

Nearly 50-Unit Affordable Housing Complex Breaks Ground in Santa Monica

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

Development combines retail and residential units  By Toi Creel A 50-unit affordable housing complex recently broke ground in Santa Monica’s...

Edify TV: Concert Capacity Rules Issue for Small Venues

May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021

Live music is back in LA County but the owner of a Westside jazz club says reopening will have to...

Santa Monica City Council Gives Green Light to Pursue Main Street Closures

May 3, 2021

May 3, 2021

Lawmakers instruct staff to develop proposal that would close Main Street to vehicles on weekends By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica’s...

Rents on The Rise In Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – May, 3, 2021

May 3, 2021

May 3, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Rents on The Rise In Santa Monica * Natural Gas Leak...

Woman Killed by Vehicle on 10 Freeway in Santa Monica

May 3, 2021

May 3, 2021

Victim struck at Cloverfield Boulevard on-ramp Sunday night By Sam Catanzaro A woman was struck and killed by a vehicle...

Santa Monica Police Use Naloxone to Save Overdose Victim in Park

April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021

SMPD save woman who has overdosed on Oxocodone By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica police used Naloxone to save a woman...

Edify TV: Could Penmar Golf Course Become Affordable Housing?

April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021

Under a state bill facilities like Penmar golf course could be converted into space for affordable housing. Learn more in...

Hard Kombucha Tasting Room Opens on Main Street

April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021

JuneShine opens on Main Street in Santa Monica Toi Creel A hard kombucha tasting room has opened on Main Street...

Italian-Style Raw Seafood Bar Comes to Santa Monica

April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021

Crudo e Nudo, a new Italian-style raw seafood bar on the Westside offers sustainably sourced fresh fish, shellfish and crustaceans....

Film Review: The Serpent

April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021

8 One-Hour Episodes Miniseries Released April 2nd on Netflix The Serpent is an intense miniseries based on the horrific true...

Heal the Bay Aquarium Under Santa Monica Pier Reopens

April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

Aquarium opens with patio exhibits for weekends By Sam Catanzaro The Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier...

Santa Monica College Student Film to be Screened at Cannes

April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

SMC student film “Broken Layers” accepted into The American Pavilion at Cannes By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) student...