An anti-puppy mill activist has accused a small dog and cat rescuer of defamation in a lawsuit filed in Will County court.
Dolores Santucci of Naperville filed her lawsuit against Plainfield resident Brandy Gergescz last month.
In her suit, Santucci, who says she runs the Facebook page “No Petland,” accused Gergescz of posting defamatory statements online and sending an email to another person containing “false and defamatory statements.”
The dispute between Santucci and Gergescz stemmed from the “release of four dogs from a puppy mill in Yorkville,” the lawsuit said.
Gergescz, the founder of Annie's Little Angels Humane Ed. & Small Breed Dog Rescue “assisted in the placement of these released dogs in homes,” the lawsuit said, and Santucci “assisted with this matter by fostering and fundraising for” her.
Santucci’s “partner,” Jill Edelman, “took a photograph of one of the rescued dogs … that had a prolapsed uterus visibly outside of it, for purposes of education in the puppy mill fight and the project’s goals,” the lawsuit said.
“Almost immediately upon posting the image and caption, (Gergescz) publicly posted on (Facebook pages) written statements implying that (Santucci) was a thief and deceitful,” the suit said. Gergescz also allegedly sent Santucci’s supervisor an email accusing her of stealing the picture.
These “false and malicious statements caused (Santucci) to have to defend herself on Facebook, primarily regarding her reputation in the animal welfare community and her veracity,” the lawsuit said.
Santucci’s attorneys, J. Matthew Pfeiffer and Niciole Anderson of Wheaton, did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
Reached by telephone, Gergescz said she knew Santucci had a problem about the picture but had no idea she was being sued.
“There’s no lawsuit I’m aware of,” Gergescz said.
According to court records, a summons was issued last month but has yet to be returned as served.