Salem beagle breeder sues town, police over seizure of 22 of his dogs
BRENTWOOD — A dog breeder is suing the town of Salem and its police after he claims his 22 beagle were seized illegally and then quickly sent off to various animal rescue leagues.
John Kalamaras filed suit over the animal cruelty charges brought against him last year and were later dismissed.
In the eight-count suit filed in Rockingham County Superior Court last week, Kalamaras said Salem Animal Control Officer Corey Bliss arrived at his 104 Haverhill Road property in Salem on March 16, 2012, without search or arrest warrants and "acting under color of law" removed the beagles without his permission.
Within five days of their seizure and without his permission, the dogs were handed over to various animal rescue agencies, "casting them adrift on a sea of strangers," the suit said.
Salem police Chief Paul Donovan and the town were also named in the suit.
The 58-year-old Kalamaras said he faced "scorn, contempt and ridicule of the entire community" after Bliss released information about the seizure to media and painted him as an "abuser of animals," the suit said.
Kalamaras pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of animal cruelty in May 2012. Salem Circuit Court Judge John Korbey dismissed all of the charges in September 2012.
Following the publicity, the suit said Kalamaras "was humiliated and embarrassed and caused to suffer great emotional harm even to the extent of receiving hate mail at his home."
In addition to the alleged warrantless seizure, the suit accuses Bliss of failing to comply with and ignoring the state's animal cruelty law by not notifying him of his right to "promptly institute proceedings" in the Salem Circuit Court to stop Bliss from giving the dogs to the rescue leagues and having them returned.
The suit said Donovan was responsible for training his officers and that he failed to properly supervise and instruct Bliss in the proper procedure for obtaining a search warrant and the need to comply with state law. Donovan is also accused of failing to distribute a protocol dealing with the care of dogs seized by the animal control officer in cases of alleged abuse.
"The Defendant Donovan was negligent in the supervision of his subordinate officers resulting in the loss of the Plaintiff's beloved beagles," the suit said.
The suit describes Kalamaras as a longtime breeder known for the quality of his dogs and who has received many awards for their performance in trials and shows.
Kalamaras is being represented by Salem attorney Ralph Stein, who could not be reached for comment. Neither Bliss nor Donovan could be reached for comment.
The suit doesn't specify an amount being sought for damages.