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 National Fire Dog Monument, a memorial to accelerant-detecting dogs, is scheduled to arrive today in Washington.
Over the weekend, the sculpture stopped in Bloomington, about halfway through a 12-city, 2,000-mile tour that began in Denver, where it was created. The tour is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and the American Humane Association.
“From Ashes to Answers” is a sculpture of a firefighter looking down at his Labrador retriever. Its destination, and forever home, will be Fire Station No. 3 in Washington.
You can learn more about the monument, which acknowledges the work of accelerant-detecting dogs used in arson investigations, at the monument’s website.
The life-sized, 450-pound statue was conceived by Jerry Means, an arson investigator from Colorado, and sculpted by Denver-area firefighter Austin Weishel.
“The work that the dogs do really inspired me to create something where they can be recognized and so, four years ago, we started raising money,” Means told The Pantagraph. “We raised over $100,000 and are bringing recognition to these dogs who are so important in finding out who or what is responsible for fires.”
Weishel, a 22-year-old, self-taught sculptor, spent more than 1,500 hours completing the project.
“It’s something I enjoy doing and being a firefighter myself, I made sure I took the time and effort to get every detail exactly right,” he said.
Photo: Sculptor Austin Weishel of Colorado and Bruce Abbott, a member of the Bloomington Township Fire Department, next to the sculpture; by Lori Ann Cook-Neisler / The Pantagraph)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accelerant, animals, arson, austin weishel, bloomington, detecting, detection, dogs, fire, insurance, investigations, jerry means, memorial, national fire dog monument, pets, sculptor, sculpture, state farm, tour, washington
But you don’t see one representing the dog.
Katie Barnett, for one, doesn’t think that’s right.
A third-year law student at Kansas University, she’s establishing an animal cruelty prosecution clinic at the school — one she says is the first of its kind.
Barnett, 30, will work with animal control, animal cruelty investigators at the Humane Society, police and prosecutors to ensure that justice is served in cases of animal abuse.
“This is the chance for me to give the animals a voice and a place in the justice system,” Barnett told the Lawrence Journal-World.
Barnett started researching how to put together the clinic two years ago, after some high-profile animal cruelty cases in Lawrence. She did ride-alongs with the police and animal cruelty investigators and followed cases through the court system.
This spring, Barnett will develop a protocol for how future students can assist in the prosecution of such cases.
“I’m doing a trial run to see how everything works,” she said. “I’m getting out all the kinks and really tailoring the position so everyone knows what to do. There’s never been a person to collect everything.”
The program will begin taking in students in the fall 2011.
Barnett was one of three law students awarded The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships last year for their outstanding work in the growing field of animal law.
A graduate of Missouri State University, she has two pit bull mix dogs, including a three-legged rescue named Leonidas. Both are both Delta Society therapy dogs who visit schools, hospitals, and participate in community outreach programs.
Barnett and her husband, Anthony, also run Game Dog Guardian, a local organization that rehabilitates pit bulls and helps find them adoptive homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, attorney, clinic, court, delta society, dogs, game dog guardian, humane society, investigations, investigators, justice, kansas, kansas university, katie barnett, law, law school, law student, lawrence, lawyer, legal, mixes, pets, pit bulls, prosecution, students, therapy dogs
Subaru of America, Inc. has donated a custom-designed Outback to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to help them collect and process evidence at animal crime scenes.
The modified 2010 Outback has specialized lighting, a radio, computer, exam table, roof rack and refrigerator in which to store evidence.
“We created the Subaru Outback CSI vehicle to transport the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensics team to hard-to-access crime scenes,” said Todd Lawrence, promotions and sponsorship manager for Subaru of America, Inc.
“We needed a vehicle that allows us to reach some of the crime scenes where our larger unit cannot,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director for Veterinary Forensics at the ASPCA.
Dr. Merck said the older unit was primarily used to examine animals, but the new response vehicle focuses more on examining evidence from animal crime scenes. The new unit will be based out of Gainesville, Florida, home of the ASPCA’s veterinary forensics program.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animal cruelty, animals, aspca, car, crime, crime scenes, dogs, donates, donation, forensics, gainesville, investigations, news, ohmidog!, outback, pets, subaru, vehicle, veterinary
The Pennslyvania Department of Agriculture has revoked the kennel license of CC Pets, a Lancaster County puppy broker with a history of violations under its previous name.
Once known as Puppy Love, the kennel, owned by Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits for at least 20 years, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
CC Pets sold more than 2,000 puppies last year, making it one of the state’s highest-volume dog dealers.
In 2000, the kennel was fined $35,000 by the state for selling sick puppies and misinforming buyers about the health or breeding qualities of the animals. In 2001, kennel owner Joyce Stoltzfus was cited for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. In 2005, the kennel was the subject of a consumer fraud settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 171 customers in seven states.
One of the agreement’s conditions was that Stoltzfus, had to identify herself and the business correctly to customers rather than use an alias. Her failure to comply with that condition led to the license revocation, officials said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, cc pets, dealer, department, investigations, joyce stoltzfus, kennel, lancaster county, lawsuit, lawsuits, license, order, pennsylvania, puppy, puppy love, puppy mills, settlement
A sheriff’s deputy in Texas whose scent tracing dog has identified suspects in crimes has been named in two lawsuits arguing that scent evidence is often scant evidence.
The Victoria Advocate reported Sunday that the work of Fort Bend County sheriff’s Deputy Keith Pikett led to 62 days in jail for Calvin Lee Miller before he was cleared in the robbery of one elderly woman and sexual assault of another.
A swab of Miller and the scent from the assault victim’s sheets were sent to Pikett, whose three bloodhounds indicated Miller’s scent was on the sheets.
The other lawsuit involves a former Victoria County sheriff’s captain who became a murder suspect based on scent evidence, the Associated Press reported.
No laws or regulations govern scent lineups, and critics say they are often imprecise, but they’re admissible in courts across the nation.
“This is junk science. This isn’t even science. This is just junk,” said Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas. The group works to free wrongfully convicted inmates and started to investigate Pikett recently.
While dogs have a keen sense of smell — sometimes 10,000 times more sensitive than humans — and while every human exudes a different scent, critics of scent line-ups say are easily influenced by human involvement such as the use of a leash , the presence of many scents on evidence or in lineups and the fact that humans must speak for dogs in court.
Pikett’s scent work led to a search warrant for the house of former Victoria County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Buchanek during the 2006 investigation of the murder of Child Protective Services worker Sally Blackwell in Victoria.
The deputy’s dogs walked from a spot where Blackwell’s body was found to her home about five miles away, then to Buchanek’s home nearby. Through a scent lineup, authorities obtained a search warrant. Another man eventually pleaded guilty in the case.
The lineup was “the most primitive evidential police procedure I have ever witnessed,” said Bob Coote, who worked with police dogs in the United Kingdom. “If it was not for the fact that this is a serious matter, I could have been watching a comedy.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: courts, dogs, innocent, investigations, K-9, law, law enforcement, lawsuit, lawyers, legal, line-ups, lineups, police, scent, smell, tracker, wrongful convictions
Reminder: A Baltimore City Council committee takes up the subject of leash laws at a 9 a.m. meeting in City Hall tomorrow (Tuesday).
The hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, was originally scheduled for April 28, but was postponed after a water main break forced City Hall to be emptied.
The council is reconsidering the $1,000 fine it approved for unleashed dogs earlier this year, leading to an outcry by some dog owners who say it’s excessive, especially in a city with only one small dog park. (A second, and the first the city has helped fund, is expected to open by fall.) Also to be presented at the hearing, before the council’s Judiciary & Legislative Investigations Committee, is an amendment to allow the city’s director of Recreation and Parks to enact off-leash hours at city parks. The meeting is in the City Council Chambers on the 4th floor of City Hall. (A picture ID required for admission to City Hall.)
As of this weekend, an online petition calling for a reduction of the fine had more than 1,500 signatures.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, city council, committee, designated hours, dog, dogs, fines, hearing, investigations, judiciary, leash, leash free, leash law, leash laws, legislative, off-leash, one thousand dollars, parks, penalties, unleashed
Animals seized from dogfighting operations and other cruelty investigations deserve a right to be independently reviewed, instead of being automatically euthanized, a coalition of animal welfare groups has agreed.
After a meeting in Las Vegas last week, The Humane Society of the United States has revised its policies and now recommends that all dogs seized from fighting operations be professionally evaluated, according to agreed upon standards, to determine whether they are suitable candidates for adoption.
Under the new policy, dogs deemed suitable for placement should be offered to adopters or to approved rescue organizations. The HSUS will update its law enforcement training manual and other materials to reflect this change in policy.
In addition, groups participating in the meeting have vowed to work together to help the canine victims of organized violence.
The meeting was prompted by the recent mass euthanasia of 145 dogs — including newly born puppies — that were seized from North Carolina Ed Faron, who bred fighting dogs at his Wildside Kennels.
The dogs were killed at the conclusion of his court case in Wilkes County, where authorities said their laws mandated the action. Unlike the dogs seized in the higher profile Michael Vick case, no efforts were made by the government, lawyers or major rescue organizations to save the Faron dogs, at least not until it was too late.
Lat week’s meeting was convened to address the matter of dogs seized as a result of cruelty investigations, particularly due to the increase in HSUS-led enforcement actions against dogfighters.
Participants at the meeting included Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, BAD RAP, ASPCA, National Animal Control Association, Maddie’s Fund, Nevada Humane Society, and Spartanburg Humane Society.
The groups agreed that all dogs should be treated as individuals. They also agreed to support law enforcement and animal control agencies when decisions must be made regarding the dogs deemed unsuitable for adoption, and in cases when rescue organizations and adopters are unable, within a reasonable timeframe, to accept dogs from such raids that have been offered for adoption.
The organizations will form a working group to develop future protocols for cooperation in addressing the needs of dogs seized in raids, such as how to assist with the housing of fighting dogs, how to conduct professional evaluations, and how to screen potential adopters.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoption, aspca, assessments, bad rap, best friends, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, euthanized, hsus, investigations, las vegas, maddie's fund, meeting, national animal control association, nevada humane society, north carolina, pit bulls, policy, rescue, review, seized, shelter, spartanburg humane society, vigil
The Maryland State Police confirmed this week it will investigate allegations of misconduct and animal cruelty at the SPCA in Cecil County, where two other state agencies have also launched inquirires.
Both the Maryland attorney general’s office, which has assigned an attorney to look into the case, and the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, a division of the state Department of Agriculture, are also conducting investigations.
Nancy Schwerzler, president of the facility’s board of directors, said she welcomes independent investigations “so long as they’re fact-based and emotion-free,” the Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday. She said she has invited the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a national organization with no ties to Cecil County facility, to investigate as well. (The Cecil County SPCA also has no ties with the Maryland SPCA, based in Baltimore.)
Four former employees and four former volunteers of the Cecil County organization have submitted written accusations against the facility in Chesapeake City, ranging from animal cruelty and neglect to mismanagement.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, attorney general, board of veterinary medical examiners, cecil county, guns, investigations, killed, maryland, neglect, protest, protesters, shelter, shot, smigiel, spca, state police