Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Annemarie Lucas, ASCPA Cop and TV Star of 'Animal Precinct,' Forced Off Job, Eyed in Suit - by Lisa L. Colangelo and John Marzulli
An ASPCA cop whose model looks made her the public face of the organization has been forced off the job, the Daily News has learned.
Annemarie Lucas helped bring in big bucks with fund-raising drives and had a starring role on the TV show "Animal Precinct."
The ASPCA would not say why she left, but she's a defendant in a suit that claims her humane law enforcement unit performed illegal searches and seizures.
"She projects a warm and fuzzy personality on television ... but she uses the badge and gun as a sword, not a shield to protect animals," said lawyer George Dazzo, who represents pet owners whose animals were seized.
Sources said Lucas had clashed repeatedly with the chief legal counsel of the enforcement unit, Stacy Wolf.
Lucas, who earned more than $200,000 in salary and benefits in 2008, was paid more than a year's salary as part of a buyout agreement, sources told The News.
Meanwhile, Patrick O'Keefe, a top official at the ASPCA's Henry Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan, also abruptly resigned.
The ASPCA declined to say why, but a spokeswoman denied it was related to a Daily News report that probers were looking into the death of a Rottweiler allegedly kicked and choked by a vet at the hospital.
Dazzo also represents the Rottweiler owner, who is suing the ASPCA.
Lucas and O'Keefe could not be reached for comment.
I think it is a HUGE mistake for the ASPCA to force Annemarie off the force. She is an amazing hero for animals and she obviously LOVED her job. Whether she overstepped her authority or not, she was working for victims that can't defend themselves. She is a hero to me.