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Animal-raid suit is moving to federal court

PROVO -- A lawsuit filed by a Pleasant Grove woman against the city for removing hundreds of animals from her property in February has been moved to U.S. District Court.

A scheduled hearing in 4th District Court Monday was cancelled because Sue Fox's suit was transferred to the federal court system.Benson Hathaway, legal counsel for Pleasant Grove's insurance carrier, Utah Local Government Trust, said Fox alleges her civil rights were violated when police and health officials cleared her property of most of the animals.

Hathaway said he made the request for removal last Thursday.

Fox accused officers in court documents filed in 4th District Court of mistreating her family and animals.

She also alleges officers entered her home and confiscated animals in the house even though the order did not say officers could search the house.

The documents claim Fox and her family members were not allowed to choose which animals she would keep. As a result, her daughter's favorite cat was taken away.

Police visited Fox's property in a residential neighborhood several times over a week's period and took away more than 500 animals.

Officers found cats, rabbits, chickens, roosters and a pot-bellied pig on the 2-acre property, far more than allowed by current city ordinance.

The roundup was ordered by Pleasant Grove Justice Court Judge Brent Bullock after Fox had been cited for violating the city animal ordinance and convicted in court in late November 1999.