Tag: department of agriculture
Authorities in Hoke County, N.C., yesterday unearthed the remains of 15 dogs on the grounds of a “no-kill” animal shelter from which 600 animals were seized this week.
A day after Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA raided The Haven — Friends for Life shelter near Raeford, authorities on Thursday dug up the remains of 15 dogs that had been buried on the property.
Shelters owners Stephen and Linden Spears were released on bond after appearing in court on charges of neglect and possession of a controlled substance, but authorities says more charges against them are possible.
They’ve been banned from returning to the shelter.
Representatives of the ASPCA continued to remove some of the more than 600 neglected animals from the shelter yesterday, taking them to a warehouse near Raleigh where they could be checked by veterinarians and cared for.
ASPCA officials called the raid the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
More than 300 dogs, 250 cats, 40 horses and numerous farm animals were living at the 122-acre shelter in Raeford, the ASPCA said in a press release.
“What we found today at this facility — self-described as ‘North Carolina’s most successful no-kill shelter’ — is unacceptable,” said Tim Rickey, senior vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
“This is one of the largest animal seizures the ASPCA has ever conducted in our 150 years as an organization,” he added. “We have a team of nearly 140 responders on the ground to remove and care for these hundreds of neglected animals who have clearly not been receiving adequate care. Our goal is to help them become healthy and ultimately find them homes.”
The ASPCA’s assistance was requested by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, which began an investigation into the shelter after receiving complaints about sick animals and unsanitary conditions.
The Haven was operating without a license for about a decade, according to the ASPCA, and past inspections by the state Department of Agriculture had deemed the facility “inadequate.”
The population at the facility has fluctuated over the years, reaching more than 1,000 animals.
According to the shelter’s Facebook page, it was often seeking donations to improve the shelter, and had recently launched a GoFundMe drive to build roofs over the outdoor pens where dogs were kept.
The seized dogs, cats and other animals will be held at an undisclosed location, and the ASPCA will continue to care for them until custody is determined by the court,
“The condition of these animals is pressing and required immediate attention,” said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. “In addition to protecting Hoke County citizens, law enforcement has an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of Hoke County animals at all times. We cannot and will not allow this type of mistreatment to continue any longer. All persons involved will be held accountable.”
No deceased animals were found on the property Wednesday, but yesterday investigators found at least 15 dead dogs and “dozens” of animals buried on the property, according to WRAL in Raleigh.
(Photos of shelter courtesy of ASPCA; photos of Spears family courtesy of Hoke sheriff’s department)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, friends for life, hoke county, linden spears, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spears, the haven, unlicensed
Another North Carolina animal shelter has come under fire from the state Department of Agriculture — this time the county-operated shelter in Stokes County, where an investigation found dogs were being inhumanely euthanized.
The Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture released documents Friday showing inspectors found credible evidence that shelter director Phillip Handy and employee Darryl Sheppard “performed, participated in and/or witnessed the inhumane euthanasia of multiple animals that involved improper euthanasia administration.”
The allegations, now being investigated by the state Bureau of Investigation, include putting down one dog by gunshot, failing to confirm the death of an animal, and improper disposal of an animal. The report also accuses the two men of putting dogs down prior to the 72-hour holding period.
The shelter (pictured above) is located in a cinder block building in Germanton.
The division revoked both Handy and Sheppard’s certifications to perform euthanasia, and both have been relieved from duty, according to Stokes County Manager Rick Morris.
This summer has also seen the Department of Agriculture revoke the licenses of animal shelters in Guilford County and Davidson County, citing a “systemic failure to care for animals.” Both were run by the United Animal Coalition under contracts with the counties.
And last week, news surfaced of a dog at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter being mistakenly euthanized.
The Stokes County shelter was closed for two weeks in July, for what county officials said was state-ordered maintenance and repairs.
County Manager Morris assured the public then that animals housed there at the time would not be euthanized.
The revocation notice from the state — instructing the shelter to cease all euthanizations — was issued two days before the temporary closure.
Animal advocates in Stokes County have been working to improve the shelter and are raising funds to open a new no-kill shelter, with around $180,000 raised so far.
(Photo: By Jennifer Rotenizer / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 31st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, cats, cruel, death, department of agriculture, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, gunshot, inhumane, inspection, investigation, licenses, north carolina, pets, practices, premature, revocation, shelters, stokes county, stokes county animal shelter
The largest of the country’s three remaining Class B dog dealers — those often unscrupulous sorts who scrounge up dogs and sell them to laboratories for use in experiments — is going out of business.
The Humane Society of the United States reported yesterday that Ohio-based dealer Robert Perry has cancelled his license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That means only two licensed “random source” dealers remain. Class B, or random source, dealers round up dogs from flea markets, shelters, auctions, Craigslist and other sources and sell them to research institutions.
“These merchants of cruelty are on their last gasps, and this announcement gets us one big step closer to the complete demise of this sordid trade,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, writes on the HSUS blog, A Humane Nation.
Perry has been supplying dogs for years to a number of institutions, including Ohio State University. Between October 2013 and October 2014, OSU purchased nearly 50 dogs from Perry, making him the biggest random source supplier of dogs used in research nationwide.
Of the two remaining Class B dealers, one had only four dogs in its most recent inventory and the other is facing formal enforcement action from the USDA, according to HSUS.
At one time there were more than 200 licensed Class B dealers in the United States. By 2013, as a result of a decline in the use of dogs in laboratories and opposition from groups like HSUS, Last Chance for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, and the Animal Welfare Institute, that number was down to six
Last year’s announcement from the National Institutes of Health that it would no longer fund research that used random source dogs served as a final nail in the coffin for Class B dog dealing.
The NIH decision stemmed from a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences that found random source dealers could not guarantee that people’s pets would not end up in laboratories.
Those dogs who are bred for laboratory research — commonly beagles — weren’t directly affected by that decision, but, as Pacelle notes, they are being used less often by laboratories, too.
“The continuing and rapid decline of these random source Class B dealers means the chances of pets ending up in laboratories are now very low,” Pacelle said.” And we’re perhaps closer to the day when fewer dogs of any kind are used in testing and research.”
(Photo: A “random source” dog that was used in dental experiments at Georgia Regents University that were the subject of an HSUS investigation; courtesy of HSUS)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, class b, dealers, department of agriculture, dog, dog dealers, dogs, experiments, hsus, humane society of the united states, laboratory, license, pets, random source, research, supply, usda, wayne pacelle
The United States Department of Agriculture, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, released hundreds of pages of new evidence last week from its investigation of NFL quarterback Michael Vick to Atlanta’s WSBTV.
The documents include summaries of interrogations by federal investigators with member of Vick’s dogfighting ring and confidential informants in the case.
Among the revelations:
• A confidential informant told investigators that Vick drowned dogs, shot them to death and killed others “with a shovel.”
• A Delta Airlines employee from Virginia was fired “when he attempted to get Vick around security” during the peak of the dog fighting operation. Vick “felt responsible” and went on to hire the employee.
• In 2003, Vick and two other men attended a dog fight in Blackstone, Va., bringing with them two pit bulls. Both lost so the dogs were left with the owner of the property. Vick did not keep dogs that lost matches.
• In April 2007, Vick tested several dogs to determine if they had the predisposition to fight. He ordered six or eight dogs destroyed because they did not meet his standards. The witness said Vick personally helped drown three or four dogs, a process that took two people to hold the animal’s legs while the dog’s head was held under water. Vick also hung dogs.
• The witness told investigators Vick “seemed to get an ‘adrenaline high’ when killing the dogs.”
Vick served nearly two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a federal animal fighting charge. He was released in 2009 and joined the Philadelphia Eagles.
WSBTV.COM submitted the request for the records in March 2008. The information was delivered by the USDA last week.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: act, adrenaline, atlanta falcons, department of agriculture, documents, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, drowned, freedom of information, high, killed, killing, michael vick, philadelphia eagles, ring operation, usda
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is reminding Oregonians that dogs aren’t welcome in grocery stores unless they’re providing a service to the disabled.
“Of all the complaints we receive … pets in a grocery store — especially dogs — is by far our number one issue,” said officials said in a press release on the DOA website. “We’ve received complaints about dogs urinating in the aisle of a grocery store, jumping up and licking packages of meat, or sniffing food items on the shelf.”
The new public awareness campaign uses dog-shaped posters that will provide definitions of service animal and “tips” for consumers who see pets inside stores. Pamphlets will also be distributed to business owners to help them “know what to ask” and “when to ask” when an animal enters a store.
State officials say it is against state and federal law for live animals to enter establishments selling or preparing food, unless the animal falls under a specific exemption of the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA defines a service animal as “any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.”
Citations will be issued to businesses in violation, not animal owners, according to the DOA website.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: americans with disabilities act, assistance, banned, campaign, complaints, department of agriculture, disability, disabled, dog, dogs, grocery stores, guide dogs, illegal, oregon, pamphlets, posters, service
The owner of the Almost Heaven Kennel in eastern Pennsylvania has been fined more than $150,000 and is facing over 230 charges of violating the state’s dog laws.
Breeder Derbe Eckhart has 15 days to appeal the $152,900 fine from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, according to the Associated Press.
The fines and charges stem from a raid on Almost Heaven Kennel in Emmaus last month by the department and the Humane Society of the United States .
A Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture spokesman said Eckhart failed to get rid of 216 dogs after he lost his kennel license. Almost Heaven was also raided in Oct. 2008. At that time, animal welfare officials said hundreds of animals were living in filthy conditions. Eckhart faces animal cruelty charges from that raid.
(Photo: A Humane Society of the United States staff member removes two of the hundreds of dogs seized from Almost Heaven; courtesy of HSUS)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: almost heaven, charges, department of agriculture, derbe eckhart, dog, dogs, emmaus, fines, hsus, law, pennsylvania, puppy mill, raid, video
Despite easily available alternatives, more than half of American colleges and universities are using live and dead dogs and cats for teaching and training purposes — including animals that were once pets, according to a new report.
The report, “Dying to Learn: Exposing the Supply of Dogs and Cats to Higher Education,” is the result of a two-year investigation by the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS). The report was released today by Animalearn, the education division of AAVS.
You can download the full report, learn how to take action, and explore alternatives to animal dissection at the new AAVS website, dyingtolearn.org.
The report says 52 percent of the colleges and universities covered in the study still used dogs and cats to teach and train students in life science, veterinary, and medical education.
According to the report, former pets are also ending up in the mix — either obtained by universities directly from shelters, or sold to universities by an animal dealer. With more pets ending up in shelters due to the economic downturn, the likelihood of that happening is growing.
“The numbers of pets being relinquished to shelters is drastically increasing. This puts an ever increasing number of former pets at risk of ending up in labs,” said Animalearn Director Laura Ducceschi.
The report traces the route that sent dogs like Cruella, a shepherd-mix from Michigan to end up being used in a college laboratory. Once someone’s pet, she was purchased from a shelter and sold to a university. The dogs and cats are used for live surgeries and other procedures.
The reported looked at animal acquisition procedures at 92 public colleges and universities in the U.S.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, american anti-vivisection society, animal welfare act, animalearn, animals, cats, class b dealers, colleges, cruella, dealers, department of agriculture, dissecting, dogs, dying to learn, education, experiments, higher education, investigation, labs, medical, pets, science, shelters, student choice policies, surgeries, surgical simulation, teaching, tracie letterman, training, universities, veterinary, virtual dissection