Loxahatchee Groves discussing 'Big Dog' lawsuit

Posted at 8:54 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 00:19:47-04

The town of Loxahatchee Groves is discussing the next step in an ongoing legal dispute with Big Dog Rescue Ranch.

The fight is over whether or not they can keep the power on.

The town says the rescue doesn't have the proper permitting to house injured animals in trailers, as they work on building a new facility.

Big Dog, meanwhile, claims it is permitted.

The town threatened to cut power to Big Dog, but a court order stopped that.

The town council met Wednesday to discuss whether or not to have a closed or ‘shade’ meeting on Thursday.

In that meeting, the council will discuss how to move forward with the litigation against them.

Residents expected to share their thoughts on the dispute during public comment, but that wasn't the case.

“By Robert's Rules of Order, all parliamentary procedure, you only talk about the agenda item,” says Loxahatchee Groves Mayor David Browning. “And the agenda items tonight was establishment of the meeting.”

Residents say they left the meeting disappointed. 

“We read it in the paper, that's what we were told, and they wouldn't let us speak today so it's disappointing,” resident Sue Kope says.

“I think they closed us where we couldn't say what we should've said or been able to say and I think that was unconstitutional,” resident Norman Merkel says.

Lauree Simmons, Founder of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, says she’s hoping the town council comes around to see their point of view.

“We did the right thing - now that they have all the facts and they know what we have done out here, we are hoping they come around and allow us to continue saving lives of innocent dogs while we build our new facility,” Simmons says.

The council decided to move forward with the closed meeting.

It will take place at 3pm on Thursday.