The arrests of a couple accused of running a dogfighting operation in Chester County has led Pennsylvania congressmen to renew calls for tougher laws.
Rep. Jim Gerlach, of West Pikeland, and Rep. Pat Meehan, of Delaware County, both Republicans, urged passage of a bill that would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight.
“As former prosecutors we know how crucial it is for law enforcement to have all of the tools necessary to deprive the organizers of these horrific events from receiving the financial rewards they need to continue the criminal enterprises,” Meehan and Marino said in a joint statement.
“With passage of this bill, we can give federal prosecutors more ability to crack down on animal fighting and the criminal culture that typically surrounds animal fighting events.”
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, was passed by the Senate last week, but remains in the House Agriculture Committee.
Despite bipartisan support, the bill could die if no action is taken before the end of the year.
Called the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, the bill would also institute harsher penalties for bringing minors to animal fights.
Shane Santiago and his wife Laura Acampora, both 33, were arrested last week for allegedly operating a dogfighting ring out of the home they shared with five young children in West Brandywine.
Officials accused the couple of contributing to the death of at least 10 dogs and the maiming of many more that were forced to fight in an arena in the basement of the couple’s home. Two of the dogs were found in Chester County, left for dead at the side of the road. One survived.
Santiago and Acampora are charged with over 30 counts of animal cruelty and numerous other offenses. Both remain in Chester County Prison, according to the Pottstown Mercury.
(Photo: One of the dogs seized from the West Brandywine dogfighting operation)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal fighting, arena, basement, bill, chester county, congress, couple, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogfights, family, house, jim gerlach, laura acompora, law, legislation, pass, passage, pat meehan, pennsylvania, senate, shane santiago, spectator prohibition act
Veterinarians and animal welfare workers today euthanized at least nine of the 300 pit bulls rescued from a dogfighting ring in the Philippines — and they expect to euthanize dozens more — primarily because of there are no facilities in which to rehabilitate them.
Anna Cabrera, of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, said 17 of the seized dogs had been put down a day after the raids.
Noting that some of the rescued dogs had been seized before from dogfighting operations, Cabrera said she feared many of them — if simply adopted out — could again end up facing “a fate worse than death.”
How many more will still be euthanized depends on their health, behavior, their potential to be rehabilitated, and the animal welfare group’s supply of drugs — reportedly only enough to euthanize 70 animals, the Associated Press reported.
Police arrested eight South Koreans suspected of running an illegal online gambling operations in which players outside the Philippines bet on dogs fighting at the compound.
Welfare society veterinarian Wilford Almora said many of the pit bulls had injuries from previous fights, including ripped ears and tongues.
He said his group had enough drugs to euthanize 70 dogs, and had put down at least nine Tuesday afternoon with 13 more planned before they finished later in the evening.
“We are not in a hurry. We just want to make sure that the ones we put to sleep are the ones that deserve to be put to sleep based on their medical condition,” he said.
Cabrera said it was not possible to care for all the pit bulls that were rescued and it would be irresponsible to allow the injured animals to be adopted.
Most of the dogs were seized from a 5-acre coffee plantation in San Pablo city, where they were kept in metal fuel drums and tied to heavy steel chains. Police also recovered 30 dogs from an arena in the nearby town of Calauan where a dogfight was about to begin.
More than 300 dogs were rescued in the separate raids. The eight suspects, charged with animal cruelty and gambling, are being turned over to immigration officials.
If convicted of illegal gambling, they face a maximum of 12 years in prison. The charge of animal cruelty carries a penalty of up to two years. No one in the Philippines has ever served time for animal cruelty, the Associated Press reported.
(Photo: Philippine Animal Welfare Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 300 dogs, animal cruelty, anna cabrera, arena, arrests, cruelty to animals, death, dog farm, dog fighting, dogfighting, euthanasia, euthanized, facilities, farm, fate worse than death, gambling, injuries, internet, lack, manila, operation, paws, philippine animal welfare society, philippines, pit bulls, pitbulls, put to sleep, raids, rehabilitation, ring, steel drums