Equine Law Matter - Closed - Get Information, Read Court Documents


No. CIV 1300669


No. CIV 1300072

No. CIV 1300875


1. This case concerns the wrongful seizure of a muddy stallion and pastured broodmares

from a well-known and successful American breeder of sports horses, Petitioner Jill Burnell, by the Marin Humane Society (Respondent or “MHS” or the “Society”) and the improper and inadequate hearing procedures that followed.

2. Prior to the Society’s first hearing related to the seizure of horses from Ms. Burnell, Petitioner sought to compel the return of the horses in her care and to avoid the burden costs and expense of a proceeding denying her fundamental due process. See, Burnell v Marin Humane Society, Case No. CV 1300072 (Marin), which alternative writ was denied, which denial is the  subject of reconsideration under Code of Civil Procedure § 1008, on the following grounds:


Burnell won in trial court.

Marin filed an appeal.

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.115


The Marin Humane Society (MHS), as the designated animal services agency for Marin County, took possession of three horses from Jill Burnell’s property, believing seizure was required to protect the animals’ health and safety. After a hearing officer chosen by MHS reviewed and upheld the seizures, Burnell filed two petitions for writs of mandamus seeking to overturn the hearing officer’s decisions. The trial court granted the petitions in part on the grounds that Burnell was denied a fair hearing by an impartial hearing officer. The trial court went on to find the evidence presented to the hearing officer failed to support the hearing officer’s findings and ruled the seizures were unjustified. We hold the trial court was required to remand the matters back to MHS for a new hearing and erred in proceeding to reweigh the evidence in the administrative record on the merits.

Read full appellate decision at the link below.

October 9, 2014 – Appellate court reversed decision regarding Romantic Star.

“Pookie” Devil’s Sis died during waiting for appeal so the issue is moot.

View full court document (A140246, A140247)

New administrative hearing in March 2015. The parties are awaiting a decision.


View Court Document

View Post Seizure Hearing Report Regarding Pookie & Romantic Star