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Tag: fighting

Six pit bulls seized in Baltimore drug raid

A drug raid at a home in west Baltimore Friday night led to the discovery of six badly injured pit bulls who had apparently been used for fighting.

The dogs — all with bite wounds, some scarred over, some still bleeding – were seized by police and were being cared for at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).

“It is heart breaking to see beautiful, friendly dogs with such severe wounds and knowing what they were put through, said BARCS Executive Director Jennifer Brause.  “The dogs will not be available for adoption until investigations have been resolved.  In the meantime, our dedicated staff will treat their wounds, shower them with love and attention, and provide the best possible care.”

The puppies, all seized from a home on Edgemont Avenue, in the city’s Druid Hill section, were all underweight, with their ribs and spines clearly visible, BARCS staff said.  One of them was a puppy, about three months old.

Police confiscated paraphernalia associated with training dogs for fighting, including a treadmill with attachments for a harness, a bite ball, and heavy chains.

BARCS is accepting donations to help provide veterinary treatment for these dogs. Donations can be made online at www.BaltimoreAnimalShelter.org, at the shelter, or through the mail:  BARCS Franky Fund, 301 Stockholm Street, Baltimore, MD, 21230.

According to WJZ, police were unable to say whether anyone was arrested in connection with the raid, or what, if any charges were filed. A neighbor told a WJZ reporter that she noticed different dogs at the residence, off an on, and that their caretakers allowed them to fight.  “One would hold a dog by the leash, a one would hold the other dog by the leash, and they would just let them go at it for about a minute or so.”

BARCS officials say they are hoping all six dogs recover, but that two of them are in pretty bad shape.

Roscoe’s ruse: Trading up to turkey

I finally got my Thanksgiving dinner, and while I didn’t bite the hand that fed me, Ace did bite the head of the dog belonging to the man who fed us.

My brother and his partner, James, knowing my travels had precluded me from enjoying a turkey dinner, invited us to come over Sunday for one, with all the fixings.

James, a master chef, put out quite a spread — numerous appetizers, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, yams, all followed by pumpkin cake.

During the preparation, Ace — having learned from previous experiences — was at his side every moment, followed every dish to the table, and as we ate, sat down and waited hopefully that a bite or two might be passed his way. Roscoe, too, approached the table from time to time, but didn’t seem obsessive about it, like Ace.

Though about the same age, they are two very different dogs, I’ve noticed in the time we’ve shared over the past months. Roscoe is the more goofy and dog-like of the two, more prone to barking, more likely to slather your face with kisses. Where Ace seems to have a desire to be a human, Roscoe seems perfectly content with his dog-ness. Where Ace seems to think “if I behave well, I will be rewarded,” Roscoe’s attitude is more “to heck with that stuff.”

I’d always considered Ace the smarter of the two. But now I’m not so sure. At dinner, Ace would sit and stare at whoever was chewing. He does that, almost as if watching a tennis match. He will sit and stare as long as a person is chewing, and even after that, probably until whatever is being masticated has cleared the esophagus. Then he’ll stare until every last plate is cleared, and loaded in the dishwasher, and the kitchen light goes off. Hope springs eternal.

Roscoe uses a different strategy.

He’s prone — not just during meals, but anytime — to grabbing household items with his mouth and not letting go. During my last visit, it was my underwear (not while I was wearing them). Sometimes it’s a pillow from the bed, or a pillow from the couch, or a camera bag, or a pair of socks.

He doesn’t destroy the item. Rather he just walks around with it dangling from his mouth, wagging his tail and absolutely refusing to let go until he gets a better offer — i.e. a treat.

At our belated Thanksgiving dinner, Roscoe grabbed a cloth napkin off the table, then paraded around, as if he wanted everybody to see. Not until some turkey was offered did he relinquish it.

This, while maybe not a perfect example of how humans should train their dogs, is a perfect example of how dogs train their humans. I think if we ever caught on, and tallied up how much our dogs manage to manipulate us, we’d be shocked. Fortunately, most of us are too busy to do that, and go on thinking we’re smarter than our dogs.

After dinner, we watched some TV — perhaps the only thing that manipulates us more than our dogs. If you need more proof that our dogs are smarter than us, ask yourself this question. When was the last time your dog tuned in to “Glee?”

After that, I was full, sleepy and gleeful enough to accept an offer to stay the night. Ace slept at my side until James woke up, at which point, I can only assume, he resumed his I-must-follow-this-man-everywhere-he-goes routine.

I was awakened by the sound of fighting dogs, then the sound of screaming humans, after a second or two of which all was quiet. Ace came back and took his place by my couch, and I went back to sleep.

It wasn’t until I really woke up, a couple of hours later, that I noticed Roscoe had a red mark on his head, and the side of his face. Ace, meanwhile, showed no signs of injuries.

Apparently, while James was in the bathroom, both dogs decided to join him there, and in those close quarters decided the room wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Their rare spat, seemingly, wasn’t over turkey, but attention.

Once it was over they were back to their normally peacefully coexisting selves. Roscoe, despite a slightly punctured head, seemed sad to see Ace leave.

Evidence of yet one more thing at which dogs just might be better than us — forgiveness.

Bear-Bear remembered in tribute

It started with some flowers and a dog toy left in his honor at the dog park, but by this evening a full-fledged memorial and tribute were underway for Bear-Bear, the Siberian Husky gunned down by a federal officer in Anne Arundel County this week.

Those saddened and upset with the dog’s death — he was fatally shot by a Department of Defense officer who felt Bear-Bear was playing too roughly with his leashed German shepherd — began gathering at Quail Run Park around 6:30 p.m. for a tribute that was expected to go until 8:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, at the recommendation of County Executive John R. Leopold, the Anne Arundel County Police Department will be investigating the incident — contrary to its earlier assertions — and receiving assistance in that investigation from the Humane Society of the United States.

HSUS representatives also plan to help the Severn community ensure that the Quail Run Community Dog Park is safe.

“I welcome the opportunity to partner with this national organization,” County Executive John Leopold said in a statement. “With our combined resources, I look forward to bringing closure to this egregious incident.”

Leopold said he was “outraged” and “deeply troubled” to learn about the killing. Police originally called the matter closed, but Police Chief James Teare called the case a “priority” Wednesday and pledged a full investigation, according to the Washington Post.

“The Anne Arundel County Police Department has taken this case seriously and is thoroughly investigating this incident that appears to involve the violent death of a beloved dog. We welcome the opportunity to work with Anne Arundel County on the investigation and to assist the community in making it a safer place for both animals and people,” said Justin L. Scally of the HSUS.

WBAL-TV reported that the unidentified, off-duty Department of Defense officer used his personal weapon to fire at Bear-Bear, and that he told officers he “feared for the safety of himself, his wife and their dog.”

Bear-Bear was taken to Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Annapolis, where he died. Since the incident Monday, police have not released the officer’s identity.

Four Missouri dogfighters sentenced to prison

A federal judge in St. Louis sentenced four Missouri men who admitted taking part in a multi-state dogfighting ring to more than a year of prison each today.

“These dogs were subjected to the kind of cruelty that is sometimes unspeakable for the purpose of entertainment,” U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson said during the sentencing hearing. “Most people would find it difficult to take pleasure in watching two animals tear each other apart. Unfortunately, there are people like you who facilitate this activity.”

Teddy “Teddy Bogart” Kiriakidis, 50, and Ronald Creach, 34, were sentenced to 18 months.  Michael “Missouri Mike” Morgan, 38, and Robert Hackman, 56, were sentenced to one year plus one day in federal prison, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The sentences exceeded federal recommendations.

All four men pleaded guilty in September to a charge of conspiracy to violate federal animal fighting laws. Kiriakidis and Creach received longer sentences because they both have prior felony convictions.

“Animals were severely maimed and killed as part of this conspiracy,” Jackson said. “I have to fashion a sentence that deters … and I hope people think twice about getting involved in this kind of activity.”

The defendants were among more than two dozen people in Missouri, Illinois and other states arrested this summer after an 18-month federal investigation into dogfighting. More than 400 dogs were seized and handed over to the Humane Society of Missouri in July in what has been called the largest crackdown on dogfighting in U.S. history.

Hackman operated Shake Rattle and Roll Kennel, Morgan operated Cannibal Kennel, and Creach operated Hard Goodbye Kennel.

In their pleas, Hackman and Creach said that after a Jan. 3 fight, Kiriakidis helped electrocute the losing dog, a female pit bull named Roho. Creach admitted that he killed a dog named Shady because she didn’t perform well in a practice fight.

“That face and their eyes tell the story”

Here’s a look inside the cavernous warehouse in St. Louis that has served as the emergency shelter for the hundreds of dogs seized in this summer’s massive five-state dog-fighting raid — the largest in U.S. history.

The Humane Society of Missouri, at one point, was sheltering more than 400 dogs, and 100 newly born puppies, at the emergency shelter, the first public access to which was granted last week to the Associated Press.

More than 120 of the seized pit bulls have been placed in foster homes, but about that many still remain in the temporary shelter. Another 160 dogs were put down because of injuries, illness or behavior.

“They are not a vicious animal. They are the victims of abuse,” said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations for the Humane Society of Missouri. “That face and their eyes tell the story. They only want to be in someone’s home, on a couch, or sleeping at someone’s feet, maybe chew up a rug or two for entertainment. They’re learning for the first time how to be a dog.”

Animal behaviorist Pamela Reid, who was part of the team that evaluated the dogs, said a surprising two-thirds tested well for nonaggression and adoptability. She’s fostering one puppy, although one of her favorite dogs had to be euthanized because he showed aggression toward men.

Dogfighting sees big surge in England

dogfightA new wave of dogfighting is sweeping England, resulting in a 12-fold increase in dogfights since 2004.

And most practitioners — about two of every three — are youths, the Royal SPCA says.

A BBC report quotes RSPCA officials as saying a ban on four breeds, including pit bulls, has done little to slow the spread of dogfighting, or dogs biting people, and that a change in the law is needed.

The new wave of dog fighting, known as “chain fighting” or “rolling,” involves fights held in inner city public parks, on private estates and even in apartment elevators where  ”young people, often gangs of young people … put two dogs in a lift at the top of the block of flats and will press the button and let the dogs fight until they get to the bottom,” the RPSCA’s Claire Robinson told BBC News. Read more »

Probation granted in bird fighting case

You don’t hear much about the scourge of finch fighting, or canary brawls.

But apparently, just like dogfighting, they exist.

A Connecticut judge has granted probation to 15 of 19 men arrested in connection with a bird-fighting operation in Shelton, Conn, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities arrested the Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey residents, all natives of Brazil, after a July 26 raid at a Shelton home that led to the seizure of 150 birds, mostly saffron finches and canaries.

Here’s a CNN story from back when they were arrested.

The judge agreed to drop charges of cruelty to animals and illegal gambling if the men stay out of trouble during a one-year probation period.

The homeowner, 42-year-old Jurames Goulart is due in court Thursday. Three other men’s cases are pending. The birds are now at animal sanctuaries.

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