Fort Worth, TX, June 14, 2012 –
As you may be aware, the courts found that Bat World Sanctuary has been the target of a malicious and deliberate defamation campaign launched by Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates and Cummins Real Estate Services. This smear campaign lasted almost two years. We are happy to report that our battle is finally over, and we arose victorious.
Bat World Sanctuary and Amanda Lollar were represented pro-bono by Randy Turner, one of the best animal rights attorneys in the country. Turner was voted “Texas Super Lawyer” 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012, and has never once lost an animal rights case. Mr. Turner and his paralegal, Kelly Bozeman, worked tirelessly for Bat World Sanctuary throughout this ordeal.
Mary Cummins was accepted for an internship at Bat World in 2010, and left disgruntled only a few days after arriving. Shortly thereafter, she began posting horrific allegations of animal cruelty and neglect against our Founder and President, Amanda Lollar, and made repeated complaints to animal welfare groups and government agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the USDA, the Texas Department of Health, the Texas Attorney General, the Department of Justice, the IRS, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Veterinary Board, and the Mineral Wells Chief of Police, City Manager, Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement, Health Inspector, and District Attorney. Lollar welcomed investigations, and every agency that investigated found Cummins complaints to be completely without merit.
As she has done in previous lawsuits, Cummins represented herself throughout most of the case and during trial. Cummins’ former attorney, Neal Callaway, withdrew from representing her after she accused him of sleeping during her court-ordered deposition. Cummins went on to accuse Randy Turner of touching her hand inappropriately during this same deposition, despite the fact that seven people and two video cameras were present in the room (and no such behavior was either witnessed or recorded). Ms. Cummins was also found in Contempt of Court.
Cummins has been involved in over 20 lawsuits and has been sued four times for defamation.
The trial, which lasted four days, also included the testimony of two veterinarians who have worked with Amanda Lollar, as well as former Bat World interns. Both veterinarians testified that they would rather take an injured bat to Amanda Lollar than attempt to rehabilitate it themselves. One vet even testified that she would drive a bat from South Dakota to Texas so it could receive Amanda Lollar’s care. Lollar testified to Cummins history of victimizing others using the internet. Bat World Sanctuary and Amanda Lollar sought 4-million dollars in damages due to Cummins’ outrageous acts.
At the trial’s conclusion, Judge William Brigham compared Lollar’s reputation in caring for bats to that of Jane Goodall’s care for primates. The Judge stated that Cummins defamation of Lollar was egregious, intentional and malicious. He awarded a judgment of 6.1 million in damages. His verdict was read immediately after closing statements. Turner stated that it is rare for a Judge to deliver an immediate verdict at the end of trial.
While we prevailed in this fight, our cyber-harasser continues to post defamatory and false information on the Internet about Bat World Sanctuary, Amanda Lollar and Randy Turner. We doubt that we will ever see any portion of the 6.1 million dollar judgment awarded to us, however, our plans to raise the funds for a larger sanctuary, complete with indoor-outdoor flight cages and a teaching hospital, will continue. And, of course, we will share videos and photos of our progress.
Lollar, who has authored both scientific and popular literature, plans to write a book about her personal nightmare regarding this case. She hopes to bring about changes in the legal system regarding internet harassment and stalking as there are few legal remedies available to victims. This type of vicious behavior is on the rise and lifelong careers can be ruined with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Bat World Sanctuary.
Thank you, our treasured Bat World members, for supporting us throughout this ordeal.
Distasteful as we find this, we felt it necessary to create this page to counteract the defamation and harm Mary Cummins, of Animal Advocates, is causing to our organization. Ms. Cummins has been using the internet to harass and defame Amanda Lollar and Bat World Sanctuary for the past year. She also made false complaints to numerous animal rescue and wildlife groups, her Facebook pages, Youtube, Myspace, Twitter, Flickr, etc., as well as Texas Parks and Wildlife, the USDA, the Texas Veterinary Medical Board, the Texas Department of Health, USFWS, the Mineral Wells Department of Health, the City Manager, the Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement, the Chief of Police and the IRS. Every official who has investigated her complaints have found them to be without merit:
From USDA: “ I have visited Bat World Sanctuary multiple times over the past three years. The facility has always been clean and well organized. I have never encountered a strong ammonia smell which is very common in many bat enclosures. The resident bats have always appeared healthy. The rehab bats and babies are housed in a separate quarantine area and this area has always been clean and the bats appeared to be receiving more than adequate care. I spoke with the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Agent in the area. He concurred with my assessment. The place is clean and well organized and the bats look happy and healthy. There is absolutely no evidence confirming any of the accusations made by the complainant. On the contrary, Ms. Lollar appears to be providing exceptional care as required under the Animal Welfare Act.“
Click here to review complete results of the investigations.
WE HAVE SUED MARY CUMMINS for the false and defamatory statements she has posted about Amanda Lollar, our Founder and President, on the Internet, and we won an injunction against her. We are extremely fortunate to be represented pro-bono by one of the best animal rights attorney in the country, Randy Turner.
May 11, 2011
Internet harassment is on the rise and, unfortunately, Bat World Sanctuary and our Founder and President, Amanda Lollar, have been recent victims. We have been harassed and defamed by an individual who has attacked one of our strongest commitments – the one thing we fight the hardest for – the humane treatment of bats.
We have an upstanding reputation. To counter her deleterious allegations, we welcomed inspections by the City of Mineral Wells, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the USDA, and the Texas State Department of Health. Every official who investigated our facility found her allegations to be completely without merit:
“ I have visited Bat World Sanctuary multiple times over the past three years. The facility has always been clean and well organized. I have never encountered a strong ammonia smell which is very common in many bat enclosures. The resident bats have always appeared healthy. The rehab bats and babies are housed in a separate quarantine area and this area has always been clean and the bats appeared to be receiving more than adequate care. I spoke with the local Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Agent in the area. He concurred with my assessment. The place is clean and well organized and the bats look happy and healthy. There is absolutely no evidence confirming any of the accusations made by the complainant. On the contrary, Ms. Lollar appears to be providing exceptional care as required under the Animal Welfare Act.“ Click here to review complete results of the investigations.
The false claims made by this individual placed every bat in our care in jeopardy, including over 200 rescued orphans, bats who have lived peacefully with us for almost 20 years, and over 50,000 bats at our wild sanctuary. Had it not been for our well-established reputation with government officials, every bat in our care could have been destroyed by inhumane decapitation due to her outlandish claims.
Ironically, this individual alleges to be an advocate for animals.
Rather than battle our assailant quietly, we chose to meet this assault head-on. We’ve been able to do so because we have the support of one the best animal rights attorneys in the country, Randy Turner. Throughout this ordeal we have also maintained the support of numerous animal welfare groups around the world. As one spokesperson put it, “This could have been any of us.”
While this malicious attack has severely affected our donations, we have persevered, continuing to provide the highest level of care for the bats in our charge. We have not wavered in our mission – not at all, and we remain strong.
Our fortitude is strengthened when we look into the eyes of the bats whose lives we have saved. The grateful eyes of a starving orphaned bat pup who finally has a full stomach; the relieved eyes of a suffering bat who is no longer in pain; and the joyful eyes of an abused captive bat who has led a miserable life before coming to us – that is where our strength lies, and that is why we will prevail.
Harassment and bullying over the internet is a growing concern and we are not alone in being victimized in this manner. For those of you who may be experiencing something similar, please allow us to serve as an example that you CAN rise above it if you remain strong, and above all remember that truth is proof.
Thank you for your support.
Bat World Sanctuary