In August 2005, Burt and Tracy Ward and Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions filed suit against Barbara
Laird and Marc Sayer and 2 other individuals in the Orange County Superior Court, in an attempt to stop
them from speaking out to the public about their rescue operation and about how they have drastically
impacted other peoples' lives as a result of adopting Great Danes from their organization.
The suit alleges 7 separate Causes of Action.
Their attempts to intimidate and bully people will not prevent us from continuing to try to keep people
informed. That sort of behavior may have worked for them in the past, but they are dealing with a new
mindset now. We are careful to verify and document what we publish, or to clearly state when we are
voicing an opinion or theorizing, and we believe we are within our rights under the First Amendment to
speak out on these issues. Gentle Giants is a 501c3 public charity, and as such they are subject to public
scrutiny. What happens there is of interest to other adoptors, other rescues, to public shelters and other
agencies, and to the public in general. The public has a right to know how this public charity conducts
The Wards and Gentle Giants brought suit against their local newspaper, the Press Enterprise two years
ago, over a story about waste runoff. On July 23, 2004, the Riverside Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit
as a meritless SLAPP and the Wards were ordered to pay the defendants $51,000 in attorney fees and
In our investigations, we heard from many adopters and others that Burt and Tracy Ward often threatens
lawsuits, along with threats to "repossess" dogs adopted from Gentle Giants, as a way to intimidate
people and keep them from speaking out or taking action. In part, these intimidation efforts have been
successful, but only because people were not aware of their rights or were afraid of being sued. A rescue
may be able to sue you for breach of contract if you fail in some way to abide by the legally enforceable
portions of the contract, and thereby get a monetary judgment against you. But not all portions of a contract
are necessarily legally enforceable and failure to abide by an unenforceable clause or section should not
be grounds for breach of contract. Laws vary from state to state. So it is always best to consult a lawyer,
and to know exactly what your rights are. It is much harder to bully someone who knows their rights and
responsibilities under the law. Bullies do not want you to know your rights.
Our attorneys have filed "Special Motions to Strike" the lawsuit as a meritless SLAPP. This is a Meritless
Law Suit. !!!
• Click here to view a copy of the Laird's Special Motion to strick filed on Oct. 21, 2005
• Click here to view a copy of the Laird's Declaration to the Special Motion to Strick filed on October 21,
• Click here to view a copy of the Sayer & Broden's Special Motion to strick filed on Oct. 24, 2005
• Click here to view a copy of the Sayer & Broden's Declaration to the Special Motion to Strick filed on
October 24, 2005
• Click here to view a copy of Judge Moberly's Granting the Special Motion to Strick filed on
February 24, 2006
To learn more about California Anti-SLAPP Laws (Stragetic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) visit
www.casp.net (California Anti-Slapp Project)
The State of California has set up laws to protect individuals from being sued as a result of informing the
public of safety and public concerns
Update 10/27/05 - The Wards are back in court today trying to force Sayer to shut down his website.
Sayer has a hearing at 1:30 this afternoon on their emergency request for a temporary restraining order
pending a ruling on their request for a permanent injunction.
Update 10/27/05 1:30 P.M.- The judge tossed out Burt Ward's request for a temporary restraining order,
telling them he saw little to no chance they could prevail in their request for a permanent injunction so he
saw no reason to issue a temporary restraining order. They have requested and been granted a hearing
on the permanent injunction on Nov. 18th., but the judge said he was skeptical that Mr. Ward could
convince him to issue such an injunction.
Update 11/18/05 11:30 A.M. - Burt Ward appeared in court today to obtain an injunction against Marc
Sayer (producer of Rescue Watchdog website) and was denied AGAIN, after previously being denied on
October 27, 2005 of a temporary restraining order against Mr. Sayer.
February 21, 2006 1:45 P.M.
Court decision has been made!
The Judge has dismissed ALL actions against ALL of us (Barbara Laird, Marc Sayer & Renee Broden)
based on this case being a Meritless SLAPP Lawsuit because Gentle Giants / Burt Ward was unable to
prove to the Judge that they could prevail IF this case went to trial.