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Ligertown owners prepare appeal

It might be a few months yet, but eventually 6th District Judge Randy Smith will hear an appeal of the conviction of Ligertown owners Dottie Martin and Robert Fieber.

The couple ran a ramshackle game farm one mile east of Lava Hot Springs until September 1995, when 19 African lions escaped and had to be shot.The couple was convicted of animal cruelty, public nuisance and violating zoning ordinances. The couple's compound was condemned by Bannock County as a public health hazard and was demolished in spring 1996 and the debris was burned.

Fieber and Martin later moved to Toledo, Ore., where Fieber's parents live. About 80 Ligertown wolf hybrids were sent to a refuge in Arizona, and the surviving lions went to a game refuge in Southern California.

Court officials said preparation of a transcript of their 1996 trial still is being prepared. Public Defender Kim Claussen said he understood that the transcript is nearly done.

"Once that happens, then we can start briefing our appeal arguments before Judge Smith," he said. "It will be a while before we get before the judge."