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Petland Drops Defamation Lawsuit

Petland El Paso, legally known as Six Kingdoms LLC, accused one Humane Society employee and five volunteers of defamation in a lawsuit. Petland dropped that lawsuit Thursday.

According to an official statement released by the Humane Society, they’re not sure why the plantiff abruptly dropped the lawsuit in the middle of a january 24th deposition, but “they’re relieved the experience is over.”

In court Thursday, defense attorneys mentioned that during a lunch break at the January 24 deposition, the plantiffs, owners of Petland El Paso, left and never returned.

Their lawyer, Eric Darnell, said his clients were presented with confidential documents during the depositon.

He described the documents as undiscoverable and a tactic used by the defense to “harass his clients.”

Darnell told the courtroom his clients needed time to look over these confidential documents and therefore had to leave the deposition.

ABC7 was asked to leave the court leave the court during Thursday’s discussion of these documents.

For more than a year, the defendants had been vocal about their suspicions regarding Petland El Paso, questioning whether their for-sale pets come from humane breeders.

Petland saw these accusation as defamation. In court Thursday, the defense team described those same accusations as people excercising their right to free speech.

It’s an argument that’s now moot, in light of Thursday’s developments.

“The lawsuit has been withdrawn against all of the individuals in its entirety from the beginning the defendants in this case believed the plantiff’s complaint was without merit,” said Humane Society Executive Director Betty Hoover.

ABC7 approached Eric Darnell, who would not speak on camera, but said, “I wish I could tell you the truth. They don’t want to hear the truth.” Darnell refused to elaborate on his comment.

Petland El Paso initially announced it would close its doors on January 1, 2011, in the wake of a new city ordinance that appeared to outlaw much of its business. The store remains in business.

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