Tag: dog fighting
Or it could have been the love.
Misty, only nine months old, was found on a Brooklyn street corner earlier this month, covered in wounds and bites from being used as a bait dog.
She was placed in a city shelter, then pulled by Second Chance Rescue, which moved her into a foster home. On Friday, she escaped from the backyard of that home.
Friends and neighbors joined in on the weekend-long search. Thousands of flyers were posted, and a $2,000 reward was offered. More than $4,500 was quickly raised to help in the search, and more than 14,000 people had, by Monday, “liked” her Facebook page.
But it was bacon — not social media — that apparently led to her safe return.
“The whole thing is unbelievable,” Misty’s foster mom, Erin Early-Hamilton, told NJ.com.
When someone suggested slapping some bacon on the backyard grill to lure the dog home, Early-Hamilton — despite being a vegan — was willing to give it a try.
She was sitting in a chair, and her husband was at the grill, when Misty came wandering home around 2 p.m. Monday.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, backyard, bacon, bait dog, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, foster, grill, lost, missing, misty, new jersey, new york, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, rescue, return, runaway, scent, second chance rescue, shelter, smell
A dogfighting suspect awaiting trial was ordered Friday to help pay for the care of more than two dozen pit bulls seized from his property in Charlotte.
Lefonze Williams, 42, was ordered Friday to pay more than $13,000 to help feed and house 26 dogs and eight puppies, five of which are still being weaned by their mother, the Charlotte Observer reported.
If Williams doesn’t pay for the care of the animals — now being kept at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg animal shelter — his ownership will be forfeited, and the dogs, if unable to be adopted, will be euthanized.
During Friday’s hearing, Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Nathan Brooks told the judge that at least 11 of Williams’ dogs had injuries consistent with dogfighting, adding, “He has no business owning that many dogs… He’s not properly caring for them.”
Defense attorney Kevin Barnett said Williams could not afford to pay the fee, and asked the judge to allow the pit bulls to be returned to their owner.
“He loves his dogs,” Barnett told Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis. Barnett said Williams is a not a dogfighter, just a dog breeder, and that some of his dogs were bought from Russia and Europe.
Judge Lewis noted the fee for the dogs’s care “seems large,” but said anyone who can pay to bring dogs to North Carolina from Russia should be able to afford it.
Prosecutors had asked permission to move the dogs out of the shelter and into a private kennel, and argued that Williams should be held responsible for paying for the care they would receive there.
Animal advocates have voiced concerns that the dogs seized from Williams — and 14 other pit bulls being held at the shelter in connection with another dogfighting bust — could lead to increased euthanization of the shelter’s other residents because of limited space.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeder, care, charlotte, courts, dog fighter, dog fighting, dogfighter, dogfighting, dogs, food, judge, lefonze williams, mecklenburg, order, pay, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, seized, shelter, trial
A hearing on the request to move the dogs out of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control’s shelter is scheduled for Friday.
Prosecutors want to place the dogs in a private kennel, which they say would be better equipped to provide long term care until the court case is resolved.
The dogs were seized two months ago in what local authorities described at the time as one of the largest dog-fighting operations they’d ever encountered.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they found 27 pit bulls, tethers and a fighting arena in east Mecklenburg County, and they arrrested two men.
Lefonze Williams, 42, was indicted on 36 counts of dog fighting, and Melvin Smith, 46, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit dog fighting, according to the Charlotte Observer. Both were identified in court documents as the dogs’ owners.
Police said the property, near J.H. Gunn Elementary School, was used for training and fighting dogs.
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Cole says the city’s shelter “is not meant for long-term placement of animals, and seized canines may suffer behavioral and physical harm if maintained in this space.”
A court hearing on what to do with the pit bulls is set for Friday.
Prosecutors are also asking the judge to order Williams and Smith to pay for the cost of shelter, food and care, according to court documents.
If Williams and Smith decline to assume responsibility for the animals, prosecutors have asked that the dogs be forfeited. In that event, it would be up to the animal shelter to determine whether the dogs are suitable for adoption or will be euthanized.
(Photo: John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, care, charlotte, dog fighting, dogfighting, euthanasia, expense, forfeit, health, investigation, judge, kennel, mecklenburg county, moving, operation, ownership, permission, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, private, raid, responsibility, seized, shelter, well being
Vick was set to tour during the off-season to promote his autobiography Finally Free.
But online threats, made on bookstore websites and on Facebook, led the publisher to reconsider.
“While we stand by Michael Vick’s right to free speech and the retailers’ right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances,” Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, said in a statement.
“We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities,” Williamson added.
The publisher canceled planned signings in Atlanta, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Vick was convicted in 2007 and served 19 months in prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring
According to Philly mag.com, recent threats against him includes these remarks:
“I would go there to slit your throat knowing how you treat animals.”
“Hope your kids don’t fall in a pool with a battery.”
“I would snap your neck if I met you, your [sic] a piece of trash.”
PhillyMag.com reports Vick has received an increasing number of threats since acknowledging he and his family had brought a dog into their home.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, autobiography, book, book tour, bookstores, canceled, cancels, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, facebook, finally free, football, internet, michael vick, nfl, online, pets, philadelphia eagles, publisher, publishing, quarterback, threats, vick, worthy publishing
It’s described as the first-ever facility dedicated strictly to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty.
The center opened this week as a partnership between the ASPCA and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J., according to a press release.
In addition to working to rehabilitate the dogs who end up there, the center’s findings will be the basis of a research study that will be shared with shelters and rescue groups across the country.
“For some animals, the reality is that after a lifetime of neglect and abuse, the rescue is just the beginning of their journey to recovery,” said Dr. Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team.
“The ASPCA recognized the need for a rehabilitation center that will provide rescued dogs customized behavior treatment and more time to recover, increasing the likelihood that they will be adopted.”
Dogs eligible for treatment at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center will be those rescued from animal cruelty investigations conducted by the ASPCA as well as by other shelters and rescue groups.
The ASPCA says dogs admitted to the center will undergo an intensive rehabilitation regimen, including customized behavior modification treatments to reduce fear and anxiety.
Treatment plans will incorporate the use of “scientifically sound techniques designed to reduce the dogs’ fear of people and other dogs, acquainting them to unfamiliar objects, sounds, living areas, and real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress among this population.”
The primary goal is to improve their well-being and help them become suitable for adoption.
Work conducted at the center will be featured in a research study evaluating successful methods and treatment protocols for rehabilitating undersocialized, fearful dogs. The findings will be shared with animal welfare organizations and scientific communities nationwide.
“Many shelters around the country are doing great work in terms of rehabilitation and behavior modification, but often times they are stretched thin and may not have the resources to work with animals who need more time,” said Kristen Collins, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation.
“Our goal is to not only rehabilitate the dogs we admit into the program, but to also collect data for our research study so we can share these findings with other animal shelters and rescue groups. We want others to be equipped to better treat those undersocialized dogs in their care so they can save more animals.”
(Photo: ACPCA photo of Musketeer, a five-year-old pit bull mix, with Pia Silvani, vice president of Training and Behavior for St. Hubert’s, at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, N.J.)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, aspca, behavior, behavior modification, behavioral, cruelty, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, evaluation, fear, hoarders, hoarding, madison, new jersey, pets, puppy mills, recovery, rehab, rehabilitation, rescues, research, shelters, st huberts animal welfare center, trauma
Spiked collars, break sticks and Michael Vick’s indictment papers are among items on display at a new exhibit at the Crime Museum in downtown D.C.
The dogfighting exhibit, put together by the ASPCA, is scheduled to run through September.
“We want the public to see that dogs used in dogfighting are the victims of the crime, not instruments of the crime,” said Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. “We want people to realize the brutality of dog fighting and see that it’s the greatest violation of the human-animal bond.”
Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer at the Crime Museum, told WTOP the exhibit seeks to expose the public to the brutality of dogfighting, but that attempts were made to keep it rated “PG.”
The exhibit features artifacts and evidence seized by the ASPCA during dog fighting raids, including the largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history, carried out in 2009.
The exhibit, “Dog Fighting: The Voiceless Victims,” also looks at the work of ASPCA veterinary forensic experts in investigating such crimes.
Among the artifacts in the exhibit is the indictment naming Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback who served time for his participation in dogfighting and has since worked to speak out against it and rehabilitate his image.
“Personally, I have difficulty in forgiving him, but if he can be helpful in the fight against dog fighting, we welcome whatever help we can get,” Lockwood said.
Also on display are a treadmill used to condition dogs for fighting; a “rape” stand used to immobilize female dogs for breeding purposes; breaking sticks used to force a dog’s release on another dog; a spring pole used to strengthen a dog’s bite, neck, and leg muscles as he pulls or hangs from the end, a handmade nailed collar used to antagonize fighting dogs; an electrocution device used to kill dogs who lost a fight or failed to show sufficient aggression; and a pit bull skull excavated from a dogfighting crime scene.
Lockwood says pit bulls have suffered most from dog fighting.
“Too often, pit bulls in general are demonized as the weapons of dog fighting, but from our perspective they are the victims of dog fighting,” he said.
The exhibit does have some upbeat notes, including the story of Dragon, a dog rescued from a Virginia dogfighting ring who has since been adopted into a new home.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, aspca, break sticks, crime museum, dc, devices, displays, dog fighting, dogfighting, exhibit, forensics, indictment, investigations, michael vick, mueseums, photos, pit bulls, pitbulls, randall lockwood, spiked collars, tools, torture, washington
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
Officials in Pennsylvania believe they have found the source of that pit bull corpse that turned up in Chester County — a dogfighting operation they say operated out of a home in West Brandywine.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrests of a husband and wife Wednesday.
He described their home as “a house of pain and horror for the dogs that lived there. The defendants’ dogs lived by one rule: Fight and win, or die.”
Hogan said five young children also lived in the home, one of whom was bitten by one of the dogs. In retaliation, that animal was hung with a coaxial cable, he said.
The Unionville Times reports that, according to the criminal complaint, the father, who referred to the animals as “livestock,” acknowledged killing at least 10 dogs by hanging or electrocution, and said the couple was “planning on making the training and fighting of pit bull dogs a family business.”
Six living dogs were recovered from the home and are in the custody of the SPCA, according to the York Daily Record
The investigation began after two abandoned pit bulls were found — one, who had been burned, dead in cage; another maimed and burned but still alive, alongside a road. That second dog, Radar, is recovering under the care of the Chester County SPCA.
The younger of the pit bulls was found on the same road the Santiago’s lived on, just miles away.
Santiago was first identified as a suspect when he was arrested on drug charges as part of Operation Silent Night, an operation aimed at curbing violent crime in Coatesville. Neighbors had complained about large numbers of people visiting the property, many from out of state and most bringing dogs with them.
“When we got into that home, what we found was a nightmare,” Hogan said. “This was a full-scale operation of not only dog fighting, but dog training, dog breeding and dog killing.”
They discovered a treadmill, tools used to encourage aggression, and an arena in the basement, with blood-spattered plywood barriers set up around the fighting area. Up to 16 pit bulls were kept in the home at one time, Hogan said.
Santiago and Acampora are charged with more than 30 counts of animal cruelty, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy to commit animal cruelty. Both were being held in Chester County Prison.
(Photos: Unionville Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrests, bodies, brandywine, burned, chester county, coatesville, corpses, cruelty to animals, district attorney, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, father, five children, injured, maimed, mom, mother, operation, pennsylvania, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, pop, spca, tom hogan
Dogs Deserve Better — the rescue organization that took over Michael Vick’s old house — has won state approval to reopen its shelter in Surry County, Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that, based on an inspection last week, DDD’s Good Newz Rehab Center can begin providing shelter again to chained and abused dogs. It had been operating without the required state permit since June 2011.
“The state’s approval on her facility doesn’t have any bearing on the local charges,” Surry County’s Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry told the Daily Press in Hampton Roads. ”They are not going to be dropped … If she is found guilty on the local charges, the state will have to revisit its decision to let her have dogs.”
Thayne was charged with one count each of animal cruelty and inadequate care of animals days after a state veterinarian and Surry Animal Control made an unannounced visit in August.
Surry County deputies removed nine cans of pepper spray from the house, along with two Tasers. They also seized a 1-year-old pit bull. Ten days later, the courts awarded custody of the dog, named Jada, back to Dogs Deserve Better.
Dogs Deserve Better, which seeks to helps dogs living lives on chains, is based out of the house on Moonlight Road where quarterback Michael Vick ran a dogfighting operation, known as Bad Newz Kennels.
Attorney Fred Taylor, who was representing Thayne on the permit matter, said Dogs Deserve Better initially believed it was in compliance with state regulations. The organization was not assessed any penalty for lacking a permit.
“I would argue that the state’s not filing any civil penalties … speaks volumes for the services that Dogs Deserve Better provides,” said Taylor, who is not representing Thayne on the criminal charges.
(Photo of former Vick estate by ohmidog!; photo of Tamira Thayne, from WAVY.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, agriculture, animal cruelty, bad newz kennels, chained, charges, department, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs deserve better, good newz rehab center, house, inspection, michael vick, moonlight road, property, rescue, shelter, state, surry county, tamira thayne, virginia
The U.S. Senate has passed an anti-dogfighting measure that prohibits attendance at organized animal fights, and another bill that improves care for retired military dogs.
While it’s already a felony under federal law to stage animal fights, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which the Senate passed unanimously yesterday, is aimed at cracking down on the spectators who finance animal fights through admission fees and making bets. It also impose additional penalties for bringing a child to those events.
Animal welfare groups commended the Senate’s passage of the act, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). Blumenthal also introduced the measure calling for better care for retired military dogs.
“The U.S. Senate has recognized the canine heroes who serve in our military as well as dogs victimized in underground animal fighting rings, passing legislation for both,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA applauds Senator Blumenthal’s brilliant leadership in the twilight hours of this Congress, ensuring that animals in need will not be forgotten by federal lawmakers.”
The Senate passed a provision to help retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.
Both measures still need to be approved by the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acts, adoption, animal fighting, animals, apsca, attendance, bets, bills, care, children, dog fighting, dog fights, dogfighting, dogfights, dogs, laws, measures, military dogs, pets, prohibits, retired, retirement, spectators, support, veterinary, wagers