On the night of 4/29/15 at 6:30pm, we were cited by Kern County Sheriff for criminal trespassing on Halliburton Corporation land. A Halliburton security guard asked us to leave. We said that we would, so we packed up and were walking off Halliburton land when a Kern County law enforcement officer appeared walking towards us and asked us if we would talk to him. We said no and continued walking off of Halliburton land when we were then forcibly stopped by the enforcement officer and eventually charged with criminal trespassing by Halliburton.
This is obviously an American corporation that has no regard or respect for what the Mules represent and live for respect and reverence for this planet and all its inhabitants. We had walked 20-miles. The mules were deserving a good nights rest. They had been carrying the energy of balance all day for people to feel and experience as only they could. There was no good reason for the mules to be treated like this by Halliburton Corporation.
Here are photos of the citation and the open, empty lot that we were told to leave.
A few days ago, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer stopped across the highway (Hwy 150) from the Mules and told us that CHP was getting a number of calls about us being in the middle of the road. We said when there is no other place to go but on the road, we are going to use the road. He said you can’t be on the road. We said Highway 150 is a public thoroughfare that all venues have the right to use it be they bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians or somebody in a wheelchair. He said if he gets any more calls about the Mules being on the road and he has to come back, there will be issues. We said that we have the same right to the public thoroughfare as any high speed motorist.
It seems the high-speed motorist and the CHP have made an unholy alliance. First the CHP collects a number of calls from the high-speed motorist claiming there is somebody with horses on the road, then comes out using those calls as a justification to remove the Mules from the public thoroughfare.
The high speed motorist is clearly breaking the law. The crosses (memorials) we see along the highways are not there because of The Mules. The crosses are there because of speed by the high-speed motorist. For the CHP and its ally, the high-speed motorist, to try and shift the responsibility of its deadly excessive speed over to the Mules moving at three miles per hour doesn’t work. It can’t pass the test of basic common sense.
These pictures attest to the fact that there is often no choice but to be on the road, which in this kind of circumstance, the high-speed motorist must slow down, obey the California Vehicle Code 21759, share the road, and not call the CHP to demand removal of the Mules from the road.
You see the “Share the Road” bicycle sign occasionally. A feeble acknowledgement by the state of California’s Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol, that yes, the Public Thoroughfare is not for the exclusive use of the High Speed Motorist (HSM). It must be shared by all venues. We saw the sign once on Hwy 150, and not at all on Hwy 33.
The sign on the left should look more like the sign that I drew, placed at the entrance to any and all dangerous blind curves and constricted passage ways! Keeping the HSM aware that it must reduce his/her speed and be ready to slow down or stop in these most dangerous areas. “You must share road with Bicycles, Pedestrians, Equestrians, Raccoons, Skunks, Deer and all others. Be read to stop or slow down.”
The HSM screaming to the CHP will not save anybody’s life. A concerted effort by the Department of Transportation to properly sign many of these and most dangerous roads traveled by the HSM will save many lives.
Getting rid of the Mules will not stop the carnage of the HSM. The crosses on the sides of the roads were there before the Mules and will continue to appear until the HSM is reigned in and made to obey the law.
Synopsis: On March 16, 2015, after buying a soda at Big Lots, Mule was eating lunch with the mules in a quiet, shady area of the Big Lots parking lot when five Ventura Police cars surrounded them. Ventura Police issued a $132 administrative citation for “Control of Domesticated Animals – Running at Large”. The Mules were not running at large. The Mules followed procedures to contest the citation. This contest was rejected by the Ventura Police Administrative Review Officer, after which the Mules contacted attorney Steven X. Schwenk who requested an Administrative Hearing. On June 15, 2015, Ventura Police Department sent a follow-up letter stating that the “Animals at Large” citation will be vacated, stating “This Department’s investigation has determined that there is insufficient evidence you were responsible for violation of the SBMC section as cited.”
March 16, 2015
The Mules were peacefully taking a break in a shady spot yesterday when five Ventura Police cars surrounded us. Ventura Police issued a $132 administrative citation for walking in their city.
“San Buenaventura Municipal Code Chapter 8.050, Article 6 Control of Domesticated Animals Other than Household Pets, Section 8.050.660. – Running at large:
It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having control of any animals, rabbits, poultry or domestic fowl, other than household pets, to permit the same to run or go or be at large upon the premises of any other person, without permission so to do, or on the street or public places within the city.”
March 18, 2015 The Mules researched how to contest this citation. This is what is written on the Ventura website. The information on the website conflicts with what is written on the citation. However, we will meet the earlier deadline and hand deliver our paperwork to contest the citation.
March 19, 2015 Ventura County Star published an article today about Monday’s incident in Ventura. Article states that “Police said the managers of Wendy’s and Big Lots called to complain”. Mule went into Big Lots to buy a soda. While inside Big Lots as a customer, Mule was never told that he was not allowed to shop in the store. Big Lots accepted money for the soda.
After buying the soda, Mule returned to the parking lot to eat his lunch and was never approached by Big Lots or Wendy’s managers they could not be there. The mules were hitched in Big Lots back parking lot in an empty, quiet section to keep the mules safe from cars and not near Wendy’s. Google satellite image of where mules were at in parking lot as well as photos that Mule took in parking lot of location.) No sign in the parking lot posted that horses and mules are not permitted.
Article also states that “mules were leaving traces of their visit in the parking lot.” The police witnessed Mule clean up the droppings immediately after it happened.
Article quotes Brian Brennan, former Ventura City Council member, “In the city of Ventura, you can still tie up horses on Main Street – an old law never taken off the books.”
Mules were given an administrative citation for San Buenaventura Municipal Code Chapter 8.050, Article 6 Control of Domesticated Animals Other than Household Pets, Section 8.050.660. – Running at large: It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having control of any animals, rabbits, poultry or domestic fowl, other than household pets, to permit the same to run or go or be at large upon the premises of any other person, without permission so to do, or on the street or public places within the city.”
March 25, 2015
We the Mules left Montecito this morning on our way to Ventura, California to deliver our completed contest form and additional letter of evidence to Ventura Police Department, and Ventura City Mayor contesting the citation that was written against us the Mules for animals running at Large (SBMC) 8.050.660. We will probably arrive there Thursday. Below is what we sent.
Note: Not publicly sharing pages 5-7 to keep witness accounts private.
March 27, 2015 The Mules arrived at Ventura City Hall in the afternoon and presented the DOE, MCL and the Request Review Form (contesting the citation (SBMC 8.050.660 Running at Large written against us by the law enforcement arm of the Ventura Megatropolis) to the city manager Mark D. Walkins, who happened to be passing through and said he would see to it the Mayor, police chief and the Administrative Review Officer, each get a copy delivered to them that we provided in three envelopes. The Mules said thank you then left, got back onto the public thoroughfare (all city, county and state roads) and proceeded to travel north on our ages old migratory journey north.
The public thoroughfare in this country belongs to the Public. It is our freedom – the right to wake up in the morning and choose where you go, how you go, when you go – must be held sacrasank. It is the basis on which so many have given life and limb to protect and preserve. For any Megatropolis and its official, Ventura and others who make and pass laws, codes, ordinances that restrict any by denying the use of the public thoroughfare to any one of the citizenry are engaged in a blatant act of illegality.
While everybody is distracted and worried about issues that the officials tell the media to put in front of the public, the Megatropolis is sneaking through the backdoor using ordinances and codes to destroy the public access to the public thoroughfare. Watch the Mules. The Public Thoroughfare is our life blood for to lose it is our death we know this, so we will resist this all day, every day, one step at a time.
May 12, 2015
Ventura Police Department sent letter that our request to contest the citation was rejected.
Upon receiving this rejection letter, we contacted attorney Steven X. Schwenk located in Mill Valley, CA to represent The Mules.
Mr. Schwenk agreed and sent a letter as well as spoke with Ventura City Clerk requesting an Administrative Hearing to discuss the rejected initial Administrative Review
June 15, 2015 Ventura Police Department sent a follow-up letter stating that the “Animals at Large” citation will be vacated, stating “This Department’s investigation has determined that there is insufficient evidence you were responsible for violation of the SBMC section as cited.” Thus, no in person Administrative Hearing was required.
Thank you Attorney Steven X. Schwenk for stepping up to represent The Mules pro bono with willingness to travel from Mill Valley to Ventura to defend us in court for this citation that we did not believe was valid in the first place.
I was walking by the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles, when I saw two mules standing on the courthouse steps.
I had to investigate what this was all about.
It turned out that the federal government was prosecuting a man for disobeying a “lawful order of a government employee” and for “camping outside designated areas” of a National Park. In other words, John Sears and these two mules had been walking all day and needed rest. Mr. Sears found a resting place with no one else around and fell asleep. He had no notice that doing so was against the law, or that he was even in a federal park. When the park rangers woke him and ordered him to leave, he refused because traveling through the darkness would have been unsafe.
I further learned that, at that very moment, this man was defending himself at trial against these federal charges. I desperately wanted to watch this trial, but I needed to be at a hearing in another courtroom across town.
Instead, I gave my business card to one of the kind people watching the mules, and explained that I would be happy to provide free legal services to Mr. Sears if he ever needed my assistance.
I had just recently had my own dealings with the “Environmental Crimes Unit.” I defended a man accused of the federal offense of walking a dog without a leash in a National Park. In that case, I was fighting against the same Assistant U.S. Attorney who was prosecuting Mr. Sears and against the same park rangers who had arrested him. So I had a pretty good idea what Mr. Sears was up against.
In the dog-leash case, my client was convicted and given a suspended sentence of two days in jail, a case I am currently appealing based on various violations of my client’s constitutional rights. I had a feeling that the government was similarly violating Mr. Sears’s fundamental rights
I figured that I would never hear from Mr. Sears, but a couple of months later, I received a call informing me that he had just been arrested again, this time by Ventura County law enforcement. I agreed to help, but, as it turned out, Mr. Sears didn’t need any help because the case was almost immediately dismissed.
Soon after, Mr. Sears himself called me. After we spoke about his federal case, I told him that if he wished to appeal his convictions, I would be happy to represent him pro bono.
Instead of treating the Mules as criminals, the federal government should be hailing them as modern day examples of how to use and relate to our national parks. I found the Mules and the way they must live on this earth to be the embodiment of the American Spirit moving freely with the natural flowing energy of this earth. All he wants is to be free – free to roam the great, yet ever-shrinking, American outdoors. In its response to our appellant brief, the government wrote, “Allowing individuals to camp wherever they wish would create a free-for-all on public land” as if this were a bad thing. But freedom for all is what we are fighting for, and freedom is what Mr. Sears’s journey represents.
Daniel I. Kapelovitz 7119 W. Sunset Boulevard #999 West Hollywood, CA 90046 mobile: (323) 839-6227 e-mail: Dan@LegalServicesDivision.com
When we went to Rancho Cucamonga to deliver the Declaration of Emergency (DOE) to City Hall, we went to the mayor’s reception desk and gave the DOE to the receptionist. She said she would see that the mayor would get the document (DOE). Upon returning to my mules, a police officer and a lady approached us (very friendly) with the DOE in their hands, which I was assured would be delivered to the mayor. They handed us this pamphlet offering us many varied kinds of assistance.
From the above said, it said to us that the City of Rancho Cucamonga is not willing to recognize the legitimate right of a horseman/horsewoman traveling through Rancho Cucamonga to stop and rest for a night. Instead, we are seen and treated and put into the category of homelessness.
The Mules being a part of and belonging to this ages old and sacred relationship between man and horse traveling peacefully across this beautiful earth will never accept or legitimize this kind of treatment.
This morning the San Bernardino county sheriff woke us up that we were trespassing. We were resting along the canal trail (here) that many people jog on it all the time. It is getting very hard for us to go to sleep. We were informed that if we were caught sleeping again anywhere in San Bernardino county on private or city land, we would be subject to trespassing charges. Running off to the remote mountains is not an option for us either because we are also woken up in the mountains and told we can’t sleep for the night.
The mules are out here sleeping in a big vacant lot onE. Foothill and Laurel in Fontana. The police came by at 12:15AM and informed us that if we didn’t leave by the time they came back, we would be arrested for trespassing. I’ve decided not to leave as it is past midnight and dark with three mules to pack up. Police didn’t come back. We left shortly after sunrise.
For over a year, we’ve only been two mules (Lady and Little Girl) and the monk. Originally, Pepper, the third mule, traveled with us for 14 years, and did a very good job. Her tendon in one of her legs broke down and she was not able to do the job anymore. She had to be retired and currently lives as a pet on a property in Malibu with other horses and donkeys that she has for company. When Pepper retired, we were given another mule named Fred, who was injured and had to be put down. Thus for over a year, there has only been the three of us.
This past weekend, we got a third mule in a magical, mystical sort of way after we were invited to spend a few days at the horse arena in Norco. While grazing up in the hills above the arena, it started to rain. Then all of a sudden, some ladies appeared coming up from down below asking a few questions and we gave them a few answers. Then they said, “Do you want a mule?” We said sure, even though we really didn’t. Moving and living in the Megatropolis with two mules is enough. Denise had originally bought the mule to be a riding mule, but found that he was a follower and didn’t like to lead. As well, the mule doesn’t have a left eye and only sees on his right side.
We considered the complexity in adding a third mule to the pack (need to find a place to stay, food, water, more horseshoes, and the new inter mule dynamics to name a few things). As well, we considered the dangers of the Megatropolis of having a mule blind on one side by not being able to see cars, light poles, and other obstacles. At 11 years old, the mule is strong, healthy and full grown. We thought that we’d give him a try and see what happens. We renamed the mule Who-dee-doo (original name was 9-to-5).
We take Who-dee-doo back to the corrals and start having second thoughts. Why are we taking a mule that has only one eye? It is hard enough to move through the Megatropolis with mules that have both eyes! Well, we got him now, so we better find out what he can do even though the negative voice within says no way will never be able to do the job.
While in Norco, Julie introduced herself to us and wanted to learn more about 3 Mules. During our stay, she got gasoline for our stove. As Who-dee-doo was being prepared for our next journey, Julie asked where we were going. We responded that we had to go to Thousand Oaks to get a saddle. Julie said that she had a saddle for us and brought it back with cinches, saddle blankets, straps, and a brand new proofer. Another gentleman approached us on his horse and joined the conversation. Asked if I needed anything. More horseshoes. He brought back horseshoes with nails. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name or picture.
Tuesday morning, we left Norco on a bright sunny day filled with lots of energy acquired from the hospitality, kindness, and generosity of so many people, which we are very thankful. We met many people and we can’t remember everybody’s name to give them proper credit. We proceeded into the belly of the Megatropolis.
We walked along the river before arriving in Riverside where Who-dee-doo clipped a telephone pole and scraped a fence. Since those two occurrences, Who-dee-doo has been moving around getting around as well as you could expect from any two-eyed mule. So how is this possible? We didn’t know. The Monk was setting up and Little Girl was grazing a vacant lot taking a break when all of a sudden Pepper and Fred, the two mules that are no longer with us, appeared in our minds’ eye together.
So there’s the answer as to why Who-dee-doo is moving around and getting around so well. Pepper and Fred have come from the energy to be Who-dee-doo’s blind side. So when you see this place of one human being and three mules (3mules.com) walking through your neighborhood, Who-dee-doo the one-eyed mule has brought a whole new dimension to 3mules.com.
While eating breakfast in Oceanside, the Mules (kids) and myself (the monk) were greeted by Oceanside police officers informing us that they received a call about two horses next to the railroad tracks. We had a cordial respectful conversation. Oceanside police concluded that the kids were a safe distance from the tracks. The officers bid us farewell and went about their most necessary job of law enforcement.
After finishing breakfast, the Mules packed up, left, and went about their most necessary job of walking and moving freely in one of all four directions, the most basic identifier of human freedom. It must not be lost, given away, or compromised under any guise or scheme. The Mules know this so they do this one step at a time all day every day.
Synopsis: On January 22, 2015 at 4am, the Mules were woken up by San Clemente police officer who told us that we could not sleeping in this vacant lot . He asked us when we would be leaving. We said we would leave when it was light and he said okay and left. About 8:30am, we continued our journey south on the El Camino Real when Little Girl started to show a light lameness in her front foot. As we continued, her limp became pronounced. To prevent further injury, we stopped at another vacant lot to inspect her foot, which was quite sensitive. We knew that we needed to seek help with someone with a horse trailer to bring her to an equine vet to get checked. Took the pack off the mules and started making phone calls, leaving messages to people I knew to seek help. None of our contacts were able to arrive that day (January 22) with a trailer.
About 9pm, San Clemente police officer arrived. We explained our circumstances as to why we were there and could not physically move due to Little Girl’s injury. The officer called animal control and we waited for quite a while before animal control showed up. Animal control officer took a very quick look at a distance, had Little Girl walk a few steps on soft dirt, and made a comment that Little Girl did not look lame to her, and then left. At that point the police officer decided to issue the citation based on her opinion.
The next day, friends arrived with a trailer to pick us up to bring us to San Juan Capistrano. We could not meet the vet immediately and rested Little Girl while we waited for our appointment on January 26. On January 26, San Juan Capistrano equine veterinarian Dr. Mark Secor gave Little Girl an exam, including x-rays. Dr. Secor wrote in his examination report: “Exam: mild LF lameness noted at walk, certain steps – tight circle to left more exaggerated, mild high lateral hoof well, mild ups DP’s, les palpates WNL. Moderate sensitivity to hoof testers… Suspect cause of lameness – resolving abscess.”
The Monk followed the instructions on the citation, submitted a check by the payment deadline and requested to contest citation via mail (submitting our letter and vet expert diagnosis with payment) instead of having an Administrative Hearing in person which would require mules to walk back to San Clemente. The Mules made several phone calls to request in regards to an appeal while we were nearby and was told that they were backlogged in processing citations. On March 2, we received a certified letter that stated “THIS IS THE SECOND HEARING DATE – IT CANNOT BE RESCHEDULE”. The Mules never received a letter informing us about a date for a first hearing. Also, we sent Dr. Secor’s exam as evidence that Little Girl was lame. Hearing is scheduled for March 25. We cannot walk back to San Clemente due to our distance.
The Mules find it unreasonable for San Clemente to cite us and retain our $100 citation fee as we had a valid reason for why we could not PHYSICALLY leave town by walking due to Little Girl’s lameness in her foot. We were waiting for friends to come with a horse trailer to pick us up, which wasn’t available to arrive until the next day. We submitted written letter of appeal with veterinarian diagnosis confirming Little Girl’s lameness due to abscess in hoof. San Clemente rejected our written request for appeal and is requiring us to appear in person back in San Clemente on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 even though we have indicated that we will not be able to walk back due to our distance. As well, after explaining how we live in our initial letter to San Clemente, it is unreasonable for the city to wait more than two months for an administrative hearing date when we called to inquire multiple times while we were within walking distance to appeal. San Clemente has not yet responded to our letter.
This is our letter that we sent with our $100 and request to appeal the citation via mail instead of in person. We included Dr. Secor’s diagnosis with this letter.