Court Denies Burnell's Petition

Court Denies Burnell’s Petition, New Issue Arises

No horses returned

A California judge denied a petition Tuesday, filed by Jill Burnell seeking the return of her horses.

Four horses have been seized by Marin Humane Society Animal Services from the Gray Fox Farm owner’s property since late December. “The horses were suffering and in need,” says Bruce Wagman, counsel for the humane society.

Court documents say the stallion Romantic Star and a chestnut mare named Pokey were seized on December 27, 2012. The stallion was injured after a fight with another stallion reportedly the day prior. On January 4, two additional mares were seized and officials have “threatened to seize additional horses.”

Jill Burnell's Gray Fox Farm in Marin County

In the petition, Burnell says she pays “close attention to their condition and ensure[s] that they have adequate amounts of food and clean water, are blanketed as necessary and [receive] farrier and veterinarian care.”

The court filing states the “unwarranted seizure of horses… has resulted in significant economic and reputational injury to Petitioner and her business, both direct and indirect.”

Burnell’s attorney, Maggie Weems asked for the return of her client’s horses, and for an order keeping animal services from entering Burnell’s property, without a court order. The request was denied.

Burnell may also need a new place to live. Marin County’s code enforcement department notified her this week that she has 10 days to respond to a notice regarding her property’s code violations. The letter states that living in a trailer on the land and the storage of junk are violations of Marin County Codes Section(s) 22.08.030 and 7.52.020.

In order to correct the violations, a code enforcement official says the junk and camper trailer Burnell and her husband are currently living in must go. To make the property suitable for living, the housing, septic, and water must be approved. The property does have a source of running water, which is being investigated since water isn’t approved according to the official. If they don’t correct the violations, they could be fined $5000 a day plus costs.

The horses can remain on the property. The photos in the file from January 4, 2013, do show that there are multiple open-sided sheds on the acreage.

Burnell moved to her current location from Petaluma in the fall of 2012. Sonoma County court records show there are multiple outstanding judgments against Burnell for past unpaid bills – including one to a feed store.

There is also a bench warrant for Burnell’s arrest in San Mateo County, according to court records.

A warmblood breeder for years, Burnell’s Gray Fox Farm lists the stallions Redwine, Romantic Star, Federalist, and Aloha. According to Ronda Stavisky, she purchased Romantic Star prior to his injury and seizure from Burnell. She says she is unaware of the horse’s present condition. Weems is also representing Stavisky.

Gray Fox Farm Property Exposed

Raw sewage dumps on the Gray Fox Farm property

Jill Burnell Gray Fox Farm with debris, bikes, and trash littering the property

Jill Burnell Gray Fox Farm with debris, bikes, and trash littering the property