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Troops Who Searched Women`s Private Parts on Side of Freeway Suspended; Cheerleading Drama Hits Reality TV

Aired December 20, 2012 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news in the case of that female Texas trooper who searched two women`s private parts on the side of a freeway. That incident happened way back in July. Well, this morning, authorities finally took action. Could that have anything to do with the fact that we had those two women on our show live last night? TLC, which brought you "Toddlers & Tiaras" and Honey Boo Boo, brings us a look inside the very intense world of cheerleading. It`s a brand new show. We`re going to tell you about it. What`s going to happen for these young stars in the spotlight? And a father says he`s not being a Grinch when he says no presents, no material presents, for his daughters this Christmas. We`re going to talk to him and tell you all about this brand-new and growing, fast growing movement. He wants you to say no thanks to those gifts under the tree.

And it`s Thursday. We`re going to have another one of Rico`s rescues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what`s up? They`re both acting a little weird. The driver is who I`m more skeptical of.

ANGEL DOBBS: I was molested. I was violated. I was humiliated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angel Dobbs says she and her niece, 24-year-old Ashley Dobbs, were violated when this female trooper searched both their private areas while still on the side of the road in full public view.

ANGEL DOBBS: At this point, I mean, I`m in sheer shock. I can`t even believe that it`s happening. Turned me around. Goes down into the front of my pants, into my inner thigh, and at which point she comes up with two fingers, and I just looked at her and say, oh, my God, I`ve just been violated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got some breaking news to tell you about in this story that we brought you yesterday. And it definitely got the attention of our viewers yesterday. Calls pouring in. And they pour in now, because two women were pulled over on the side of a Texas highway for allegedly littering, and then subjected to a humiliating body search in full view of other drivers whizzing past.

Well, tonight, a huge new development. And it involves one of the troopers in this embarrassing search. That trooper, the female trooper who conducted the cavity search on these women by the side of the road, has just been suspended. Good evening.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live. An aunt and her niece, Angel and Ashley Dobbs, driving to Oklahoma back in July, get pulled over by a Texas trooper for allegedly throwing cigarette butts out the window. Then the trooper claims he smells marijuana. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much marijuana is in that car? And don`t lie to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t smoke marijuana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, how much marijuana is in that car?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I swear to God, I don`t smoke marijuana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not asking you if you smoke it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think there`s any marijuana in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. When`s the last time somebody smoked marijuana in that car?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, I don`t know. It`s my boyfriend`s car. So I just borrowed it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ultimately, the authorities did not find any marijuana whatsoever in that car. And Angel Dobbs, who was the driver, was subjected to a field sobriety test, and she passed. Nevertheless, the male trooper radioed for a female trooper. Angel and her niece could not believe what would happen next. Angel told us about her humiliating experience right here on this show last night. Listen.


ANGEL DOBBS: She said that she would be checking my bra strap and patting me down in this region. And I said, so you mean my body? And I turned around, and she went around my bra strap. She went down into my pants a couple of times. And then turned me around, went down to my inner thigh, straight up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Both women suing the male and the female state trooper and the head of the Texas Department of Public Service Safety. We reached out to that department, but never heard back. Anybody from that department is invited on our show anytime. We want to be fair, we want to hear all sides. We`ve been reaching out repeatedly.

We also want to talk to the troopers involved. They`re invited on our show anytime, and I want to hear from you. What do you think about this? 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1877-586-7297. Straight out to Charles Soechting, rather, attorney for Ashley and Angel Dobbs. Thank you for joining us, sir, out of Dallas. You were on our show last night. This incident happened back in July. You`re now getting national attention, and voila, suddenly, this female trooper is suspended -- with pay, mind you.

Do you find it odd? I mean, there was a reference to the Fourth Amendment, a protection against unreasonable search and seizure in the statement that was given out announcing the suspension. Certainly, the authorities were aware of the Fourth Amendment in July when this incident occurred. What do you make of the sudden suspension of this trooper?

CHARLES SOECHTING, JR., ATTORNEY FOR ANGEL AND ASHLEY DOBBS: Well, we`re happy to see that it happened, but obviously it happened too little, too late. We made this complaint back in July. We weren`t listened to. We weren`t believed. Angel Dobbs wasn`t listened to or wasn`t believed. And now the lawsuit`s been filed, that national attention`s been focused on the department, now they`ve taken action. With pay or without pay is the appropriate reaction, that`s someone`s else`s call. But we`re happy that the state has taken some action at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen to the male trooper as he talks to the female trooper about his suspicions concerning these two women that he has pulled over for allegedly throwing cigarette butts, a couple of cigarette butts out their window while they`re driving. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what`s up? They`re both acting a little weird.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which one do you want me to start with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver is who I`m more skeptical of.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst. I am a huge fan of law enforcement. Police officers and troopers put their lives on the line every day. We`ve seen the heroism just in the last few days in Newtown, Connecticut, when there were first responders who clearly put their lives on the line, not knowing what they would find. I`m a big fan of the police. I love being protected. But we have to look at this incident, because there was a huge leap here of -- these women are pulled over for allegedly throwing a cigarette butt out the window. They never get a fine, by the way, on that. They never get written up on that. And next thing you know, they`re on the side of the road, and this female trooper has been called in to give them cavity searches of their private parts with a latex glove on the side of the freeway with cars zipping past.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Should not have happened, period, end of story, Jane. Let me tell you, she should have been suspended when her supervisor -- or when the supervisor for the state troopers, VPS (ph), when they first saw this dash cam video. That is not what you do. First of all, that`s not how you conduct a cavity search to begin with. You do not touch someone when you`re conducting a cavity search. And then you don`t do searches like this on the side of the road. If you`re going to search like this, arrest somebody, take them into the station, and, still, when you get them to a station, in a private room, away from the view of everybody else.

This is not how you conduct a cavity search. Period. You do not touch anyone. You have someone manipulate themselves, you use a flashlight, that kind thing. But you do not run your hand and digitally penetrate anyone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to say, I don`t know if it`s relevant or not, but the ladies that we had on last night are attractive ladies. They`re pretty, OK. And I don`t know if that`s a factor. The male trooper was very interested, it would seem, and he`s invited on our show anytime. We`ve reached out to his agency where he works, and he is invited. But he seems very interested in these women, where they`re headed, why are they going there. Listen to him question these women.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you all going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were heading up to Oklahoma, a little road trip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to Oklahoma?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You have family up there or what`s the reason for going to Oklahoma?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going to go to the casino.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, the casino, OK.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for, author of "Swagger," which is about males and swagger. Here`s the interesting thing. The male trooper is not suspended. He`s the one who sets the whole thing in motion. He`s the one who calls the female trooper in to do the cavity searches on these women. Now, admittedly, she`s allegedly made a slew of mistakes, including using the same glove on both women, doing it on the side of the road, et cetera, et cetera. But I`m wondering why is the male trooper not been suspended.

LISA BLOOM, AUTHOR: Well, he should be, Jane. As far as I`m concerned, he`s a co-conspirator to sexual assault. I mean, if these facts are proven in court, the way that we`re hearing them now, this is an assault. Let`s call it what it is. Completely unjustified. There`s no probable cause for a search like this on the side of the road, at the station or anywhere else. And I would also add that this is a byproduct of our unfortunate war on drugs. This is all about alleged scent of marijuana in the car. Things like this are happening every day in America. People`s doors busted down. Improper searches. If we got rid of the underlying problem, we`d get rid of a lot of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, and here we are at a time where a couple of states have legalized essentially marijuana. And that`s the thing that I find very puzzling. First of all, this trooper allegedly had a cold, according to the lawsuit. And that might diminish his ability to smell marijuana. I don`t know. But it`s marijuana. He`s not suspicious that there is heroin in the car. Or maybe he is, but all he mentioned was marijuana. And why would he be suspicious of these women? It all hinges on something that nobody can verify, that he got a whip of marijuana. Well, it turns out there`s no marijuana in the car. So what exactly was he smelling if there was no marijuana in the car?

We`re going to continue our analysis of this on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have anything hidden on your person?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your person, in your shoes, in your underwear, anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It`s like I`m being treated like a criminal right now. What`s going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got a female trooper up the road. She`s going to come down here, and we`re just going to check a little bit more.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This trooper seems to jump to this issue of underwear. Why is he jumping to underwear, not pockets? Does this trooper have underwear on the brain perhaps? I don`t know. We`re just asking the question. He`s invited on to answer that.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Christine, North Carolina, your question or thought, Christine.

CALLER: Yes, hey, Jane, I love you, and I love your show.


CALLER: I just want to tell you, I have been strip searched, and it is a very embarrassing situation. I don`t care if it`s behind closed doors or on the street, but it is very invasive. And it`s just very, very embarrassing. You know, I had it when I had a DUI. I was an addict, like you. I`ve been clean 16 years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Congratulations.

CALLER: And it`s just -- it can be very -- it`s awful, you know, and being a sexual abuse survivor, it`s even more embarrassing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my gosh, well, listen, I`m so happy you`re sober. And thank you for calling in and sharing your experience so that -- Mike Brooks, here`s the thing. I remember covering the Michael Jackson case for many years. And remember that infamous time when he was being investigated. And they did search his private parts because one of his accusers had pointed out to certain markings that would identify whether he was making it all up or not, but they had to get a body search warrant.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it was a big rigmarole. What are the laws here?

BROOKS: No. 1, on Michael Jackson`s case, they had to get a search warrant because it was certain identifying marks that they wanted to take pictures of. And you need a warrant for that.

Now, if they wanted to search these women, they would get a female trooper, like they did, but, Jane, it would be -- basically be like a search that they do when you go through TSA. Because if they were trying to hide any large amounts of marijuana, you could feel it -- you could hear it, you could feel it, from the outside. But there`s no reason -- there`s no reason whatsoever that that trooper, that female trooper, had to put her hand down the front and down the back of that woman. There is no reason for that. Plain and simple. It should not have happened. And again, she should have been suspended when someone first saw this videotape.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines. Darlene, Tennessee, your question or thought, Darlene. Darlene, are you there?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, how are you doing?

CALLER: I just want to say that I don`t think that that was so horrible for that lady. And I think they should have not suspended or fired those troopers. Because I believe they was in cohorts together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You got to wonder, Charles Soechting, you`re the attorney for both of these women, have you investigated whether these troopers have ever worked together before or if anything has ever happened like this before involving either of these troopers?

SOECHTING: With respect to both of the troopers, we`re currently investigating everything and discovering everything we can about them. We received very limited information from the state through public information request act. Now that we`re in full-blown federal litigation, we will have access to discovery materials that the state would never have produced otherwise. So we will find out what other -- when they`ve worked together, what they`ve done together, and the relationship between the two.

Another interesting point -- we believe that there`s more to the audiotape, the video and audiotape, than what was produced to the public information request. Simply because the video shut off the second the trooper sat in the vehicle. Those systems generally run several minutes longer than when the stop ends. And so we believe that there could be more information there, such as a post-incident recording or a statement between the two troopers, and we`re definitely looking forward to getting that information.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what`s so fascinating is that the female trooper -- and she is invited on our show as well, anytime, or her representatives or attorney. She doesn`t seem to feel she`s doing anything wrong because she`s standing right in front of the dash cam. And it would appear she`s very aware she`s in front of the dash cam. She is the one who ends up suspended, but the male trooper, who told her to come in and brought her into this and who is the one who flagged down these women, he`s not suspended. So that`s interesting.

It`s a fascinating story. Stay right there. We`ve got more.



ANGEL DOBBS: I feel that these people need to be taken off the street. I also feel that, you know, it`s a huge misconception with a lot of people. I`ve been reading a lot of the comments regarding our case. And I want the public to know that when that happened to us, that evening, I did call the sergeant. And when the sergeant was on vacation and didn`t get back to me and I didn`t get to -- I was livid by the next day when the initial shock wore off. I just was devastated. Couldn`t believe what had happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This all started when the male trooper apparently saw the women allegedly throw cigarette butts out their car window as they were driving.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re both going to receive a citation for throwing trash out on the highway. They have to pick that trash up and it`s really unsafe. They have to do that on the highway.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re 10-8, I might use your help to search a couple of females.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10-4, where you at?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it jumps, Lisa Bloom, from you`re throwing cigarette butts out the window, you`re going to receive a citation, but they never got one apparently, to I need to search a couple of females. There`s a leap there that doesn`t seem to make a lot of sense to me anyway. Now, explain in people terms simply why the Fourth Amendment -- the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. And you have to have something called private probable cause. Explain that.

BLOOM: That`s right. So that`s our constitutional right for all of us, everywhere, in all 50 states. No unreasonable search and seizures. And what does that mean? That means the police have to have probable cause. They have to have a very good reason to search you.

Now, when police are doing something bad like looking for a fake reason, they`ll say something like, I smelled marijuana, I thought I saw something in the back seat. And they`ll use that as an excuse to do things like this. Those are the bad guys. The good guys, the cops who are doing their job, which is most of them, I hasten to add, you know, will have a good reason. They`ll see something in the car, you know, somebody will be acting strange. When you listen to the woman on that video, she sounds perfectly normal, doesn`t she, Jane? She doesn`t sound like somebody who`s stoned. So there`s a big leap here. There`s a big disconnect. And to add insult to injury, the sergeant not calling her back, being on vacation, wow, I mean, what a mess they`ve created for themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, now, Mike Brooks, the trooper, the male trooper says to the female trooper, they`re acting weird, or words to that effect. There`s no real evidence that I could see that they were acting weird or intoxicated. What should a citizen do if they`re in a situation like this? And, again, 99.99 percent of officers are heroic people who put their lives on the line. But what should a citizen do if something like this happens? Oh, my gosh, well, I`m going to have my lawyer, not that I even have a lawyer, but have a lawyer on speed dial or something.

BROOKS: Call Lisa Bloom. You know. But I you know, I would, right there, if you feel something is out of the way, you can ask -- because it will be on tape, you can ask to have a supervisor come there to the scene. And you can make your formal complaint right then and there. If you think that something is out of the ordinary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim, Georgia, quick question or thought. Kim, Georgia.

CALLER: Hey, gang.


CALLER: He love you down here in south Georgia.


CALLER: But I have a comment and a question. OK, the comment is, how did this police officer know that when she`d done that search, that that woman did not have a sexually transmitted disease and could have passed it on to the other woman?


CALLER: -- her glove.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim, you are raising an absolutely vital question here. And we`re going to stay on top of this story. But yes. What the lawsuit alleges is that this female trooper used the same latex glove to search both women, do complete cavity searches of both women`s private parts. Enough said. I think we can all do the math on that. That is a potentially dangerous, potentially unsanitary and dangerous. And that`s another issue here. Wow. We`ll stay on top of this. And we`re not letting it go. We`ve got so much more to tell you about. Including -- well, move over, Honey Boo Boo, there`s a new kid in town.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: A brand-new reality show on TLC "Cheer Perfection," is stirring up a lot of drama-rama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two. Three, four, five, six, seven eight, down one two. This is a hard, hard team, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you want Tara to fall?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she`s trying to bully everybody and--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you do. You try to intimidate everybody. It`s ridiculous, Ann.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to cheer or not? Then know what you`re doing, Pambry (ph). Start over.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, is America about to see a brand-new star burst forth from the latest big development in reality TV? Put another way, is somebody about to say move over, Honey Boo Boo, there`s a new kid in town. From the makers of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," and "Toddlers & Tiaras," TLC`s unleashing its latest guilty pleasure show, "Cheer Perfection." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can yell at my kid --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you fall, again, I`m going to replace you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t see anything wrong with living through your child.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This brand-new show follows the colorful to say the least antics at a cheerleading studio in Arkansas. And the tumbling mat isn`t the only place there`s serious drama. The cheerleaders` moms aren`t pulling any punches. Listen to this from TLC.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ann and Bonnie don`t like each other. They compete over everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You try to bully everybody and intimidate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you do, you try to intimidate everybody. It`s ridiculous, Ann.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is reality TV in general a good influence on our kids? Does it inspire them, for example, to become the very best cheerleaders? Or does it showcase behavior we don`t want our kids to emulate or parents for that matter? I want to hear from you. Call me. 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Alexis Tereszcuk, entertainment editor for RadarOnline; you`ve been tracking this new show. You spoke exclusively with some of the mothers on "Cheer Perfection". We know a star will emerge. Is this new star likely to be the Honey Boo-Boo or the Snooki of 2013 and how will that star emerge?

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, RADARONLINE: Well, what happens is you fall in love with these little girls. Whether they`re outrageous or they`re sassy. But you know what; the stars of the show might not be the little girls. It might not be another Honey Boo-Boo. But it`s going to be Mama June because the moms on the show are stealing their children`s thunder.

They`re the ones that fight with each other. They`re the ones that are the bullies. Bonnie, right there -- I had dinner with her. She is absolutely not afraid to go to town on the other moms. She says it doesn`t affect her daughter at all. But I think she`s going to be the breakout star of the show actually.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: These little girls aren`t even teenagers yet. But they are worked so hard by their mothers and their coaches. Watch this from TLC.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t necessarily push my child. Point your toes, Camilla. Come on. Let`s just do one bridge up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moms that come here, they like to win more than I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Alana, do it, do it. You can do it, baby, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re going to be lucky to get on any team.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re delighted to have on our show tonight Melanie Snare, who is host of "Falcons 360"; also a mom of two from Atlanta but also a former NFL cheerleader. So this is my question. Are they pushing these girls too hard?

MELANIE SNARE, HOST, "FALCONS 360": I think they`re pushing them too hard. I definitely have a healthy respect for competition and for striving to be your best. But I think the drama that`s unfolding with these parents they`re not putting the focus on their kids. And that`s what it should be.

And I think they`re just taking away from the experience that these kids should have the opportunity to experience. You know, cheerleading and dance was such an incredible part of my life. Like you said, I took it on to collegiate as well as professionally in the NFL. And I can`t say enough positive things about that world.

And I hate that shows like this put it in such a negative light because it`s not all about that all of the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I don`t know if it`s putting it in a negative -- I mean, for you it seems like a negative light. Some other people might say, well, this is just the way it is.

You know, here`s a reality check. People in real life with real cheerleading take their cheerleading very seriously. Melanie, I don`t know if you remember the case of Wanda Holloway. She was convicted of trying to hire a hitman to kill her daughter`s cheerleading rival`s mother. And they made an HBO movie about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who I`d like to see dead? Marla Hanes (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How would you do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I`d take some explosives and put it in her baton. Then if she dropped it, bam.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s not practical. How would you do it Buddy?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, that is a movie, but it was based on a real-life case. Isn`t the whole idea of cheerleading to encourage admirable values, team work, trust? But sometimes real-life parents -- I`m not referring to this show, I`m saying just in real life. This case, Wanda Holloway, she tried to hire a hitman to kill her daughter`s cheerleading rival`s mother.

I mean they`re skewing this into some kind of zero sum game where for their kids to win another kid has to lose or a parent has to lose or a parent`s got to lose -- I mean this is beyond comprehension.

LISA BLOOM, AUTHOR, "SWAGGER": Right. Now, listen, cheerleading is great. Dancing is great. Saying that it`s ok to live through your children is disgusting. Putting your children in a reality show is exploitative and in my opinion should not be allowed.

TLC for a long time has been engaging in a race to the bottom. And now we have some of the worst images of women on television on TLC including on this show -- moms screaming, yelling at their kids, at each other, bitchy, cat fighting. I`m sorry. This is not good role modeling for women. Nobody should be watching this with their daughters.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this. You and I are friends and I love dialectic with you. I don`t know that it`s all bad because at least girls are in the spotlight. You know, we`ve --


BLOOM: Jane, are we that desperate for female role models?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Usually it`s all about the boys, right. I mean they make movies to attract boys to the movie theater. What about girls being attracted to the movie theater? At least the focus is on girls.

BLOOM: These are the worst images of girls and women.


BLOOM: These are the worst images of girls and women. I know there are a lot of girls and women on TV. There`s Jane Velez-Mitchell who`s smart, who fights for justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s Lisa Bloom, who`s very smart.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know. Weigh in, Melanie. You know, you`re a former NFL cheerleader. You cheered for what, the Atlanta Falcons, right, for several years?

SNARE: Yes, for five seasons.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s tough. This is a tough --

SNARE: It`s tough, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Tell me about that.

SNARE: There is drama that goes on. But it`s not as much as -- all of the gyms out there are not like this one. This gym was chosen by TLC because there`s so much drama. They could have chosen a gym where we are putting girls in a spotlight but in a good way. In the way that it is healthy competition and that they`re supporting each other.

I will not have my daughter in a studio or a gym environment that is that kind of atmosphere. I will not live vicariously through my kids. Would I love my daughter to grow up and be a phenomenal dancer and a phenomenal cheerleader? Absolutely, because I lived that. But if she doesn`t want to do that, I will not force her to do that for me.

It is about the kids. These parents and these networks need to realize that. And put it more about the kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I never was a cheerleader. Nothing could be further from my reality. But I always found it very glamorous. One of my favorite movies is "Bring It On" from Universal Pictures.

SNARE: Oh, me too. I love it.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean take a look at that. You don`t get there by just doing it casually.

Alexis Tereszcuk -- I mean we`re having a healthy debate about this. It`s a tough sport. There is a lot of entitlement in our country. Where kids who grow up in comfortable surroundings feel sometimes like they can just waltz into a situation and they`re owed. Is there any good aspect to these moms being so tough on these kids and sort of giving them a taste of what real life is going to be like as they grow older?

TERESZCUK: Absolutely. And the thing is about these children, these moms work full time. They have full-time jobs and they`re there 100 percent for their kids. They drive -- one them drives three hours to this gym. They`re trying to give these girls a better life by giving them a professional sport to excel in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I will say one thing, Lisa Bloom. I think the moms need to exercise. There`s a couple of them in good shape but a lot of them are sort of living through their kids. And instead of making their kids literally do back flips maybe they should start doing push-ups or sit-ups.

Final word, Lisa.

BLOOM: That`s a good idea. I would say TLC should exercise some better judgment in choosing reality shows next time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, well, it is a guilty pleasure, Lisa, we do have those guilty pleasures.

Listen, Lisa, you should hang in, because on the other side of the break, something near to Lisa`s heart and my heart. We`re going to talk to a man who is changing up Christmas. If you`re tired of the same old, same old, doing it the same way year after year, we`ve got a totally new idea for you. Hang in there for one sec.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our incredible "Viral Vid of the Day" -- power lines sparking in the wind from Nebraska affiliate, KETV, where they are dealing with a huge winter storm. Look at that. It looks like the invasion of creatures from outer space. But it`s a wind storm. Wow.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know about you but I`m tired of buying gifts for all those events. And I`ve stopped.

Upcycle art and it`s taking stuff that is old and making it new again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re a shopoholic, you now can be a swapoholic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody want this?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it`s easy to get caught up in the presents. Excuse me. I`ve never sneezed on air before. But that`s one thing that happens. Christmastime - - it`s cold out there, and we sneeze.

I was saying that we get caught up in the presents and the parties but one man is determined to teach his daughters a very important lesson. That it isn`t material things that matter. This man, this American, wants his family to get back to what he feels the holidays are supposed to be about. Not material stuff. But spending quality time with the people you love.

And that`s why he has said no to gifts and yes to memories. It`s an idea that is catching on fast. I personally love it.

Joining me now is that man, Greg Hanscom, senior editor, Greg, tell us why you decided to do this. What was the reaction of your daughters?

GREG HANSCOM, SENIOR EDITOR, GRIS.ORG: Well, you know, my wife and I have moved three times in the last five years. And each time we`ve moved, you know, you have to box up all of your stuff and ship it across the country, across town. And you just -- you have this realization of just how much junk accumulates in your life over the course of a couple of years. Young kids especially.

So this year we decided we were going to set out to have the best Christmas ever and I`m going to do it without buying any presents for my young daughters. The girls, the girls were a little skeptical at first but actually they`ve really gotten into it. I`m amazed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what, I did the same thing. I sent an e- mail to my relatives and said, I love you very much, and you don`t have to get me anything to show me that you love me. I love you. And hopefully you`ll understand that I`m not going to get you anything. And that the reason for me doing it was that I`ve been seeing more and more of the environmental destruction and the vast majority of our overconsumption that creates all the plastic showing up in the stomachs of birds and all the climate change that is responsible for making Hurricane Sandy worst than it had to be and hurting those people on Staten Island and the coast of New Jersey and Long Island.

I don`t want to be a part of that, Greg. I want to be part of the solution. And most -- a good percentage, something like 40 percent of our overconsumption, occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year`s, Greg.

HANSCOM: Yes, absolutely. Here`s a number for you. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate over 100 million tons of extra garbage. Just for the holiday season. So it`s absurd. There`s a study out of UCLA recently that found that three quarters of the garages in this country are so full of junk there`s not room for a car. Ok. It`s just -- it`s reached sort of, you know, absurd proportions.

You realize this stuff sort of day to day living with two small kids. You know, there are days when I need a broom and, you know, a linebacker to clear away through the junk just to get through my house. And I know these gifts are well meaning. And we love the folks who give them. But at some point you just have to say, you know, enough is enough. And let`s find more creative and meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Lisa Bloom, author of "Swagger". I think you`re going to like this idea. I know you like it.

I actually hit bottom, just like I hit bottom on alcohol almost 18 years ago, I hit bottom on gifts. Somebody gave me a cake cutter in the form of a high heel shoe. At that point, I said, I`m done. I am done. I do not want any more of this bleep in my apartment.

Also, I started thinking about what poor child or young adult in some third world country`s working 16 hours a day to put this stuff together. I just -- I was done. I don`t know. I hit bottom and I said no more.

BLOOM: Now you`ve got me smiling, Jane. Thank you for doing this story. This is indeed what we do in our family. Little kids get gifts after that and go for experiences. Let`s talk about the alternatives. My family, we go volunteering together at the holidays. Or we take a family trip together and we all have a great time and we`re connected and we spend time. We play games. We dance and sing and act like fools. We take pictures. And those are our holiday memories.

It`s so much more meaningful because let`s face it. Most of us don`t need the stuff. We don`t want the stuff. We don`t want it piling up. We don`t want it filling up our garages. Hats off to you, Jane, and you, sir, for doing this -- I think it`s so important.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to show you some of the video you`re seeing is upcycle art. We were showing you paintings that were made using garbage. I`m actually making my mother -- the one gift I`m giving is my mom, who`s turning 97, and I got stuff out of dumpsters in New York City and I`m putting together an ocean liner, believe it or not. I`ll show you guys when it`s done. Ok. I promise you. I will show you when it`s done.

But Greg, the last word -- I say you can have -- this is a no shop swap where people are swapping stuff that they don`t need. That way you still have the party, you still exchange gifts. But there`s no extra consumption. It saves money for people. I mean, that`s incredible. And I think you help discover the spirit of Christmas again.

Just your final thoughts.

HANSCOM: Yes, I would just say that at this year we`ve set out to sort of create the best holiday imaginable and to do it by rewriting the rules. We`ve got a writer here who`s going all non-corporate. She`s buying all of her stuff locally from local craftsman. We have one writer who`s actually doing a gift swap with her family and it`s all do-it- yourself stuff.

And then I`m doing the kind of no material gifts Christmas. And you know what; we`re having so much fun with this holiday. And -- like ultimately, I think -- I really think this is going to be a holiday that we all remember. Much more than we might have, had we just gone sort of the traditional route and played by somebody else`s rules.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, and there`s another alternative. Just carol. Go caroling. We wish you a merry Christmas. We wish you a merry Christmas. And I`ll stop singing now before I get into trouble.

Thank you, fantastic panel. We just want to open people`s minds and give them options especially if you`re struggling and have a hard time. This is a great, great alternative. And it`s fun.

On the other side, "Rico`s Rescues".



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time now for Rico`s Rescues. Right, little Rico?

Let`s save some lives, huh, Rico? Rico. Rico. Hey, Rico. Rico.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And my little buddy, Rico, is back with me to introduce his new pal Rocky. This adorable Pomeranian survived a whole lot of strife in his very short life. Fortunately he was rescued and just like little Rico here, Rocky needs a good home, a family to welcome him in.

Straight out to my dear friend and animal welfare expert Jane Garrison -- tell us about the secret turmoil in this beautiful, beautiful little guy`s life.

JANE GARRISON, ANIMAL WELFARE EXPERT: He is beautiful. He`s a handsome little guy. He actually had a terrible, terrible experience. He was hit very badly by a car, and he broke his pelvis. He broke his legs. And the wonderful Santa Rosa Animal Rescue Center in Ventura, California they did not give up on him. They put him through thousands of dollars worth of surgery. They fixed his pelvis, fixed his leg. Then he went through rehab. He`s a great little dog. And now he wants a home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God, he`s so beautiful. And he`s so happy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The thing about animals is they bounce back. You know, this little guy, I took him to the vet today and he got a chip so that if he ever gets lost, God forbid, that he would be scanned and easily found. It`s something I would recommend for everybody. But he was sort of traumatized by the experience but five minutes later he`s back wagging his tail, having a good time, like it never happened.

If you want to the adopt Rocky, contact the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center by calling 805-525-8609 or email them at Now, that information we`ll put it up, there it is on your screen. you can also go to my blog at, or go to my Facebook page. It`s all there.

And the thing is, since we started doing these "Rico`s Rescues, Jane Garrison has seen a lot more interest. Tell us about that.

GARRISON: Oh, yes. After the show, they`re seeing a 30 percent increase in the number of people searching for rescue dogs, which is wonderful. It means that we`re actually educating people they`re learning that these rescue dogs are so wonderful. You can go to, search for a dog in your area.

But don`t forget about little Rocky here. He wants to be in someone`s home for the holidays, that`s for sure. And please don`t buy. Don`t go to a pet store. A pet is not a gift. Going to a pet store is not a gift for someone. Go to a shelter. Go to and give a wonderful gift this year, the gift of life.

You were talking about not giving gifts. The best gift you can give is to save a life. Go to the shelter, save a life and bring one of these little cuties home for the holidays.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and so often they are so loveable. People just fall in love with them. Last week the dog we profiled, well, the person who was just going to pick him up to move him to a rescue center fell in love with him on the ride and took him home.

So we`re really happy, Rico, that we`re getting dogs adopted and also, spread the word, people. This holiday season, adopt, don`t shop. Thousands of animals are in shelters. We`re going to talk a little bit more about that on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This holiday season, definitely adopt, don`t shop. Millions of animals, dogs and cats, in shelters across the country, and you know, eventually a lot of them are put to sleep.

Jane Garrison, briefly tell us why sometimes people say oh, well, I didn`t really get to a puppy mill. They only had one litter. That`s often a scam.

GARRISON: Exactly. There`s so many places that will make you believe that you`re actually rescuing an animal when in fact, they are a breeder. If you want to rescue, you go to a shelter, you go to a rescue group. Don`t go to anyone who is breeding dogs or cats in their backyard or in a pet store. Remember, four million to five million animals are killed every year. The solution begins with you. Spay and neuter your animals and prevent more.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s see that little guy one more time. Hold him up. And again, you can go to Adopt a Pet or you can go to my Facebook page and find out all about this little guy.

What a sweetie. He needs a home. We hope he gets one.

GARRISON: He wants a home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Happy holidays.

And Nancy is up next.