Word Warriors Public Speaking Club

Thursday, June 5, 2008

PI's Join Hunt for Dog Killer

PIs join hunt for dog killer

By Rebecca Unger / Hi-Desert Star Tuesday, June 3, 2008 11:47 PM PDT

PIONEERTOWN — Private investigator Jon Licher of Yucca Valley wants the citizens of the Morongo Basin to know that “the search for the heartless killer of a black Labrador retriever in Pioneertown is continuing.” He is joined in the search by another Yucca Valley-based investigator, Raymond Miller.

Licher and Miller are part of a team of private investigators who have been working pro bono for the dog’s owners since April 10, 2008. The private investigators have interviewed numerous people in the area and have conducted surveys of the crime scene for evidence.

Brody, a black Labrador retriever belonging to Sara Horowitz and David Littlepage, was found shot in the back of the head and left to die on Feb. 25 near a fenced area in Pioneertown. People have been questioned by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and private investigators, but no arrests have been made.

Miller called it a “very strange case” and speculated that “someone has to know something about what happened to the dog.”

Animal-rights groups, San Bernardino County and an anonymous donor have put up money for a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit. With a $20,000 reward at stake, there have been lots of calls into the WE TIP hotline.

Being close to the Yucca Valley and Pioneertown communities, Miller and Licher, both members of the California Association of Licensed Investigators, said they feel it is their civic responsibility to identify the shooter and bring that person to justice. They have also said that one of their next plans of action in the case may be to bring in a polygraph examiner to verify information given in statements by people of interest in the case.

“There is no obligation to take the test,” says Miller. “It’s just a tool that gives us something more to work with.” Miller adds the polygraph is portable, and can be done at someone’s residence.

“We haven’t given up and we will continue to work this case until it is solved, or until there are no more leads. We owe that much to the dog’s owners and to the Pioneertown community,” Licher said.

Anyone with information about Brody’s hooting should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department at 366-4175, Intelligent Ops International Inc. at 333-6978 or J.D. Licher Investigations at 365-7798.

“We don’t need that killer to be on the street,” Miller stated.

Don't get the wrong idea here regarding my agency providing a pro bono service. As you know, Intelligent Ops International, Inc. is a business and businesses are created to make money. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably not successful in the business world. I am bombarded with phone calls and emails from people who would like to retain my services with little or no cost on a daily basis and 99% of them I have to turn away.

Pro Bono is usually a service provided to those that don't have the financial means to acquire a service and most agencies require a credit check to prove the lack of funding. The American Bar Association recommends that all law firms perform a community service and have now allowed law firms who provide 500 hours a year of pro bono service to waive their membership fee. For more information on the ABA's Fee Waiver Program for law firms, go to http://www.abanet.org/about/yir/2006/sites/39.2.html.

There are many reasons that a business would agree to work a pro bono case. One of those reasons is that they are hoping to get some publicity or they feel that it is their civic responsibility and it is good public relations to work the case. The old adddage of, "You can't get something for nothing" is true. If someone agrees to work your case pro bono then feel very privileged because either you have a very interesting or high profile case and/or you are someone who is known in the community, i.e. a celebrity. Nobody does a service without expecting something in return, whether it be advertising, public relations or experience for a resume!

In this case, we were hoping for a little publicity and a little bit of public relations while providing a much needed service in a community where law enforcement is overwhelmed with crimes of a more serious nature. We are retained for this case by Sara Horowitz, the dog's owner, known as "Sara" on season 10 of "Hells Kitchen" and her husband, David Littleton. Pro bono work is done by many different people in the legal community but isn't done very often. Why isn't it done as often as the ABA and other organizations recommend? The main reason is the same reason why our agency doesn't normally take on pro bono cases. We, in the business community, are too busy taking on paying clients to work a case that essentially is free except for advertising or the result being good public relations.

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