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Tag: investigator

When dogs descend on Mayberry

Ace’s herniated disc — steadily improving, it seems — has slowed our wandering ways, leading us to limit out travels for at least another week. So far, during our stay in North Carolina, we’ve mostly stuck around the mansion grounds, taking it easy.

But that doesn’t mean we still can’t go to Mayberry, one way or another.

There are those who will tell you there is no real Mayberry in North Carolina. They’re the same ones who will tell you there is no Santa. In truth, in North Carolina, Mayberry is never more than 30 minutes away from wherever you are. You just head down that country road, away from the city, past the suburbs, and stop in the first town big enough to have gas pumps and a barber shop. If you’re greeted with a smile, and it appears genuine, you’re in Mayberry.

Of all the smallish towns in North Carolina, Mount Airy is the one that makes the most of its link to Mayberry, and — it being just up the road — we’ll be going there once Ace is up for it.

For now though, we get there via the couch, with a remote control as our steering wheel. Usually, if you keep flipping, you can find it and, for 30 minutes, go back to a time and place where gigabytes didn’t exist, the pace was slow, things were black and white, and life had just the right amount of complications — enough to keep it interesting, but not so many as to overwhelm your hard drive.

That’s what I liked about Mayberry: Every problem could, in less than 30 minutes, be resolved with some calm and unrushed reasoning — even what to do with a pesky pack of stray dogs.

PART ONE: In which Otis gets his breakfast and Opie finds a dog …

PART TWO: In which Barney takes the dogs — 11 of them now — to a happy place …

PART THREE: In which the strays save the day …

The largest crackdown on dogfighting — ever

The most ambitious crackdown on dogfighting in American history has now led to the seizure of more than 450 dogs, with raids and arrests in eight states.

Following an investigation initiated by the The Humane Society of Missouri, officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in what was “the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

“This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. 

Pacelle reported on his blog: “Four United States Attorneys and a bevy of federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA, raided multiple dogfighting operations, and seized at least 450 dogs, in what was the largest single day of actions against dogfighting in American history.”

The Humane Society of Missouri is sheltering more than 300 dogs —  mostly pit bulls — seized in the Missouri and Illinois raids. The dogs will be housed, cared for and evaluated at an  emergency shelter in St. Louis.

Read more »

A new and worthy field: Animal forensics

merckMelinda Merck, the ASPCA’s forensic vet, has teamed up with the University of Florida to establish a new animal forensics program— the first of its type in the nation.

Merck, who has helped solve some of the most notable animal crimes in history, including the Michael Vick dogfighting case, is moving to Gainesville to teach at the University of Florida. Her class was the subject of a feature story Friday in the St. Petersburg Times.

As the Times story points out, crimes against animals have gained increasing attention in the past few years. Police are charging more people with animal hoarding, dogfighting, abuse and neglect. And there’s a growing recognition that  people who hurt animals often go on to commit more serious crimes against humans — Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler) and David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), to name a few.

While more law schools are offering animal law classes, the animal forensics program at the University of Florida will be the first of its kind, but likely not the last.

Florida, the Times report notes,  seems to have more documented animal cruelty cases than most states — or maybe it does a better job of bringing them to light. Just in the past few weeks, a man in Miami was accused of being a serial killer of cats; a Tampa woman was jailed after she left her puppy in a hot car while shopping at Ikea; and another man was arrested for leaving two dogs in the bathroom of his apartment while he went to Las Vegas for two weeks.

In her partnership with the University of Florida, Merck will teach at the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine and continue her animal forensic investigations. The school plans to establish an animal forensic degree program that likely will start online this fall. Read more »