This week I bring you something a little different:
Sometimes Skippy and I go through dry spells here at Ask Us where the people of Fort Collins just aren’t writing in. Then sometimes we get a lot of people writing in, but not really writing anything worth publishing. Sometimes we have good questions, sometime we don’t, and sometimes we come up with things like Robyn’s Rant just to make sure we have content. This is different. This man reached out to us because he wanted his story heard. I believe he deserves to be heard. Please read what he has to say and I will give my two cents at the end of his story. Believe me, it is gut wrenching.
I’m medically disabled (chemically burned eyes, primary immune dysfunction, chronic neuropathic eye pain). I’m a former VP of Chico’s (ladies’ clothing) and Mothers Work (maternity clothing), and a former Director of Proflowers.com (e-commerce).
Moved into a brand new house in 2009, only to find that … the neighbors … mere feet away … had chronic, horrible, LOUD barking dogs.
The barking began to take my sleep and my health.
Repeated civil requests to the dog-owning neighbors got me nowhere.
Similar pleas for help to Animal Control, the Police, and the HOA property manager got me nowhere.
Once I reached out to the HOA, everything went downhill. They engaged in an ad hominem campaign, instead of looking into the problem.
And the barking wouldn’t stop.
The City Mediator … turned out to be friends with the dog owners. She scheduled a mediation. My wife and I showed up at the mediation. Apparently, she had canceled the mediation but never told me.
My health … went rapidly downhill. Insomnia, repeated infections that wouldn’t respond to medication, medication reactions, exhaustion…..
Hired an attorney. Asked her if my status as a disabled person meant there were federal (FHA/ADA) issues. She said no.
[She was wrong … as it turns out. HUD and a housing attorney later told me that. Too late…..]
Court ordered mediation. The HOA wouldn’t budge an inch or give a dollar. The judge-mediator assured me … we had a strong case — at least, one that would NEVER be thrown out in a Motion for Summary Judgment.
But it was thrown out … in a Motion for Summary Judgment … by a Judge who — I later found out — was married to a residential real estate developer’s sister, and whose daughter WAS the property manager FOR that family’s HOA’s.
The Judge awarded the HOA its legal fees. That took the rest of my life’s savings … and my health was in big trouble.
The Judge tossing my case also ’emboldened’ neighbors, who began to torment and harass me. I filed several police reports against them. No action was taken by the Police.
In fact, when I told the police that I am “medically disabled, have a primary immune dysfunction, am in chronic pain,” and that “my health has been declining since this all started,” the officer — literally — laughed at me on the telephone, saying that it was “the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard.”
I was afraid of further retaliation, and the Police weren’t going to help me.
I rarely left the house. When I did, I legally carried a gun that I had legally purchased. I had taken a 10hr course to train in its use. I’d never owned a gun before, but I was in fear for my safety.
Apparently, this didn’t sit well with the neighbors who began calling the Police, having seen me carrying a gun on my property.
One day … certain that nobody was around … I dared step outside to tend to my yard, openly carrying my pistol — legal in this town.
For several seconds, after the garden hose began leaking all over me, I had the pistol out of its holster, pointed at the ground, finger NOT on the trigger.
I looked down. I looked up. I set the hose down. I walked in the house, set the gun down, came back outside, turned off the hose, reeled it in, and went back inside.
Apparently, the prime villain in this story … had been hiding behind his house and his bushes, and snapping pics … with an eight-power telephoto lens … from over 150 feet away.
The pics describe exactly what I say.
BUT … we later found out … the Police TOLD this man to delete some of the pictures that he had taken. The District Attorney told my attorney this. The Police had suborned the destruction of evidence.
So … what was in fact perfectly innocent, looked incriminating. The pictures stop when I looked up for a brief second, with a pistol pointed down, at the ground, NO finger on the trigger, and NOT aware of another soul in sight.
I was arrested … by an entire SWAT team, including an armored vehicle and a sniper. I was jailed. I have never committed — nor been charged with — a crime, and they — in effect — sent the National Guard out to arrest me.
A Deferred Prosecution Agreement was reached. Among its conditions was a Gag Order, preventing me from speaking publicly about what happened to me.
For two years.
The Deferred Prosecution Agreement was lifted in September 2014.
But I’ve lost absolutely everything — my health, my functionality, my life’s savings, my house, and my marriage.
The blog post describes it in greater detail, AND links to a pile of relevant documents.
The story is worse than I can even tell it. The documents do a better job of laying out just what a horrible, orchestrated, years-long nightmare this was, how hard I tried, how civil I was, and how my health fell apart.
The medical files are NOT public, but I’d gladly send you a link to them. It’s heart-breaking.
I never did anything to anybody. Ever.
As the Court-ordered Forensic Psychologist concluded, I was civil, reasonable, and appropriate in pleading with them to quiet the dogs, just so I could sleep in my new house.
Mine is a story of corruption, civil rights abuse, judicial misconduct, prosecutorial overreach, legal malpractice, and … I’ve lost track of how many other things.
If you look up Fort Collins, you’ll find it has its own history of such stories.
This time, though, they had leverage — a mechanism by which to silence the real victim (the Gag Order): the threat of Felony charges.
And the local newspaper — not surprisingly — won’t tell the REAL story.
I lost everything. I’m in big trouble … on numerous fronts. I need help.
My Two Cents:
The bottom line here, the foundation of this story, is bad pet owners; pretty simple for such a complex story that got WAY out of hand. What is so hard about training your dogs? So, not only is your dog not on a leash, but now we have to deal with people going against the dog barking ordinance. It is not that hard to be a responsible pet owner, people!!! And if it is that hard, then you shouldn’t have pets. PERIOD. This conflict could have been resolved so simply; but it got way out of hand instead, and ruined a man’s life. Wonderful. WHAT THE FUCK.
The rest of the story weaves a complex tale of how horrible human beings can be and makes me not want to live on this planet anymore. To go so far as to carrying a gun, I don’t quite understand; but then again, I have never been that threatened before.
I believe that people who lash out like these people did to Neil are actually dealing with something else in their lives but find a victim to take it out on. This doesn’t mean it is OK. In fact, it is far from it. Selfish, bastard human beings make me sick; and to have them as your neighbors is even worse.
There are two sides to this story to be sure, but I can’t imagine the motivation behind ruining this man’s life could hold any merit against what he went through.
I literally feel sick to my stomach.
What lessons can we learn here? What can we do? Can we show a little compassion? Can’t we think before we act? How many more victims of bad neighbors are out there in Fort Collins? Who are these people who ruined this man’s life? What justice can be done now?
I would like to know more. And I would like some justice and relief to come to this victim of deplorable neighbors. What do you think? What can we do to help?
Please comment below, and then SHARE this post as much as possible. Let’s get the word out about this and find out what others think!
And don’t forget to check back Friday to see what Skippy has to say.