Two practitioners of one of this country’s most despicable occupations — even though it’s legal — entered guilty pleas yesterday and admitted they had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by research facilities for fraudulently obtained dogs.
Floyd and Susan Martin of Shippensburg, Pa., were what’s known as Class B, or “random source,” dog dealers, and between 2005 and 2010 they sold hundreds of dogs to some of the nation’s leading medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins and Columbia Universities.
There’s nothing wrong — at least in the legal view — with that, assuming one has a license, which the Martins did.
What the Martins got in trouble for was buying too many dogs from individual sources, and lying about it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Class B dealers may purchase dogs from unlicensed individuals — often called “bunchers” – who collect dogs from various sources. But, under the law, Class B dealers are not allowed to buy more than 24 dogs a year from any single individual.
According to the indictment, the Martins purchased hundreds of dogs from just two individuals while falsely certifying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they had purchased no more than 24 dogs from any single source.
Two co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment — those who supplied the dogs to the Martins – have not been charged.
Class B dealers have traditionally purchased dogs from “bunchers,” who often collect dogs from auctions, shelters, the street, and through responding to “free to good home” pet ads.
According to prosecutors, the bunchers working with the Martins procured dogs from sources in 10 states and sold them to the Martins for $50 to $75 each. The Martins then sold the dogs to hospitals and other research labs for hundreds of dollars in profit per dog, the indictment said.
In federal court in Harrisburg yesterday, the Martins, who operated Chestnut Grove Kennel, entered guilty pleas to reduced charges
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, under a deal with prosecutors, Floyd Martin pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, for which he will serve a year in prison, while Susan Martin pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy, for which she will be placed on probation.
The sentence, which also requires the Martins to to pay $300,000 in restitution, will not be official until U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III reviews a presentence report before their June 26 sentencing hearing in Harrisburg.
The case provides a glimpse into the shady world of dog-dealing, which first came to light in Pennsylvania in the 1960s after a stolen pet ended up in a research hospital in New York. Pepper, a dalmatian, was taken from her yard in 1965 and ended up being used in a cardiac pacemaker experiment, which killed her.
Her story helped lead to the passage of the federal Animal Welfare Act in 1966, establishing humane standards for animals in laboratory settings and regulating dealers that sold to them.
Despite those regulations, there was still plenty of room for sleazy behavior.
“We’re talking about an abuse-ridden system of acquiring animals for research,” said Nancy Blaney, senior federal policy adviser for the Animal Welfare Institute, a national advocacy group. ” ‘Random source’ is what it sounds like it is. They can get animals from individuals who respond to ‘free to good home’ ads or animals being stolen. We know because they have been traced through micro-chipping.”
Only six licensed random source dealers remain in operation in the country, and half of them are under federal investigation, the Inquirer reported. The National Institutes of Health said in 2011 that it would phase out use of dogs from Class B dealers by 2015.
In the 1990s, tens of thousands of dogs were being supplied to universities and other medical research institutes. By 2010, the number had dipped to 3,100.
About 3 percent of dogs used in biomedical research in the United States come from random-source dealers, with the rest being supplied by breeders who raise dogs for that specific purpose.
(Photos: Top, Chestnut Grove Kennel, by Dan Gleiter / The Patriot-News; bottom, Pepper and the Lakavage family)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, chestnut grove kennel, class b, dalmatian, dealers, dealing, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, experiments, floyd martin, free to good home, laboratory, labs, licensing, medical, pennsylvania, pepper, pets, random source, research, supply, susan martin, universities
Shot in the face, tossed in a trash bag and tied to a fence post on the side of the road, a dog in Conroe, Texas was rescued, treated and — though he’s expected to have lasting damage — is mostly recovering.
Rescuers named him Buck — after the buckshot left in his face by a shotgun blast.
A driver spotted the bag on the side of the road Saturday on Bulldog Lane, and saw that it was moving.
Once it was was opened a bloody dog crawled out and collapsed on the ground.
When a call to animal control produced no immediate results, Tami Augustyn — known in the area for helping animals in need — was called.
Augustyn took the dog to Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe, where it was determined he’d been shot in the face with buckshot, according to the Mongtomery County Police Reporter, which broke the story.
Dr. Ron Hendrick, a veterinarian at the clinic, said the mixed breed dog, about three years old, sustained damage to both eyes and also shows signs of hearing loss and brain damage.
The article about Buck — and a Facebook page set up to help him — led to nearly $10,000 in donations towards Buck’s medical care.
This week, the New York Daily News picked up the story.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, bag, bloody, buck, buck foundation, buckshot, conroe, cruelty, cruelty to animals, ears, expenses, eyes, face, facebook, fence, fencepost, medical, rescue, road, shot, shotgun, tami augustyn, texas, tied, trash bag
These scenes come from a rescue of laboratory beagles a year and a half ago, but they seemed a good way to start off a new year — and a touching reminder to appreciate the simple things we tend to take for granted.
Like grass, and fresh air.
The nine laboratory beagles shown here – like most beagles bred for lives in labs — had never been outside, seen or stepped on grass.
On June 8, 2011, they were rescued by the Beagle Freedom Project from an undisclosed research laboratory, and, with a six-hour drive ahead, allowed to romp in grass for the first time in their lives.
Watching them take those first uncertain steps is pretty moving.
The Beagle Freedom Project was started in December 2010 by Shannon Keith after he learned what beagles — the most popular breed for research because of their trusting personalities — go through in research labs.
Its mission is to rescue and find homes for beagles used in laboratory research.
Research facilities obtain beagles directly from commercial breeders, who raise them for that purpose.
According to the project’s website, university and other research facilities use the beagles for medical, pharmaceutical, household products and cosmetics tests. Some labs attempt to find homes for them when the dogs have finished serving science.
The project works directly with the labs, making arrangements to remove and transport beagles and place them in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.
Once rescued, laboratory beagles need to learn how to be dogs, and live as pets. Most have never seen children, cats, televisions, sunshine, or grass. They’ve not been house-trained, and are unfamiliar with toys and leashes.
The Beagle Freedom Project warns potential adopters that the dogs may be fearful of people initially, may have phobias from a lifetime in confinement or from being restrained, are likely to have been surgically de-barked by the breeder, and have an ID number tattooed in their ear.
Neither the project, nor those who adopt the dogs, know what specific kind of experiments the dog might have been involved in.
But dogs are quick learners and with time, the project says, “these dogs will learn how to become dogs, and their transformation will be amazing.”
Beagle Freedom Project is a service of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME). Founded in 2004, ARME is a nonprofit advocacy group created to eliminate the suffering of all animals through rescue, public education and outreach.
(Photo and video from the Beagle Freedom Project)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beagle freedom project, beagles, breeders, cosmetics, dogs, experiments, laboratory, laboratory beagles, medical, pets, pharmaceuticals, rescue, rescued, research, science, testing
As medical marijuana grows in popularity, so too does the chance that the dog is going to get into it.
It’s always been something that happens – dogs have been chowing down on their owner’s illegal stashes for decades, sometimes with fatal results.
But with the increasing use of medical marijuana, dogs are more likely to both have access to it and be tempted by it. For one thing, it doesn’t have to be hidden anymore. It can be kept in higher quantities. And, increasingly, those taking it for medical reasons are eating it instead of smoking it.
As a result, instead of a well-hidden bag of green leafy buds, dogs must resist the temptation of such things as rice crispy marijuana treats, cannabis oreo cookie cake, medical snickerdoodles and ganja lasagna.
In Colorado, there has been a spike in the number of cases of dogs getting sick from cannabis since medical marijuana was legalized.
Vets say they used to see dogs who had ingested marijuana a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up dogs as many as five times a week, CBS4 in Denver reports.
“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it’s become legal,” veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said.
Most of the time dogs get the medical marijuana by eating food laced with it — either that which their owners have prepared, or pre-laced foods purchased from dispensaries selling the products.
Dr. Stacy Meola, a veterinarian who coordinated a study looking at the numbers, say four times as many dogs have been getting treatment for ingesting marijuana since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
It’s not always fatal, but it can be.
Most dogs survive, experiencing symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, staggering and sensitivity to sound and light.
In addition to accidental cases, veterinarians say some dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned– and even post videos of it.
“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baking, brownies, butter, coma, cookies, cooking, deaths, dispensaries, dog, dogs, eating, fatal, ganja lasagna, grass, health, ill, lethargy, marijuana, medical, medical marijuana, pets, pot, recipes, rice crispy treats, safety, sickness, smoking, snickerdoodles, survival, toxic, treatment, veterinarians, vomiting, warning, weed
The dog was on a paddle boat on Duck Lake with her owner, Ashlee Johnson, when a speed boat crashed into them.
Johnson and her younger sister received only cuts and scrapes, but Roxci was thrown from the boat, suffering a severe gash to the head and nearly drowning.
The dog was taken an animal hospital at Michigan State University, where she was kept on a ventilator in hopes she’d recover.
Ashlee, who adopted Roxci — her first dog — from a shelter about two years ago, visited twice a day for a week, and was encouraged when she saw Roxci’s eye twitch, a sign her brain might still be functioning.
“To me, she’s not just a dog,” Johnson, 28, told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “She’s a part of my family and you can’t really put a price on a member of your family.”
After Rocxi passed, Ashlee gathered with the rest of her family at her mother’s home in Battle Creek.
They read poems and the comments of friends and strangers who posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Roxci.
“I know it’s not my fault,” she said, “but I feel kind of responsible. I’m supposed to protect her.”
Through donations, about $1,800 had been raised towards covering Roxci’s medical bills, which could end up costing as much as $10,000.
The family is continuing to accept online donations. They can also be made through the mail (12954 11 Mile Road, Ceresco, MI 49033).
The driver of the speedboat, though sheriff’s department officials said he had been drinking, did not test above the legal limit. He was cited for reckless driving and not having valid registration.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, ashlee johnson, bills, boating, care, costs, crash, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, duck lake, expense, facebook, killed, medical, memories, mixed breed, mutt, paddle boat, pets, remembered, roxci, speedboat, treatment, ventilator, veterinary
Ellen, one of the oldest of the dogs seized from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, passed away earlier this month at Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in Utah.
“Ellen’s health is failing,” Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Patti Patterson, said of the 11-year old dog. “Although we do not know the cause of her illness and deterioration, we have exhausted all diagnostic and treatment efforts that we feel could help Ellen.”
An unknown disease was causing weight loss and muscle loss and preventing her stomach from emptying. Despite a barrage of tests, the medical team couldn’t determine the source of the problems. With her quality of life deemed no longer at an acceptable level, the decision was made to euthanize her.
During her final two days, Ellen had a steady stream of visitors, according to the Best Friends website.
“I’ve never had a dog who was so affectionate,” says caregiver Maddie Haydon. “She bonded with everyone she met.”
Most people Ellen met, though, were met from a distance.
In accordance with court orders, the former Vick dogs taken in by Best Friends were not allowed to interact directly with Sanctuary visitors, or even volunteers – at least not until they were upgraded from “red-collar” status.
For Ellen, that day finally came last month.
Some visitors were hesitant to meet Ellen, even from afar, but when they did, she generally altered any mistaken notions they had about pit bulls.
“You could just see them change their perception,” said caregiver Tom Williams. ”She went a long way toward helping not only the Vick dogs that are here, but pit bulls in general. She helped to dispel the myths about them.”
One volunteer figured out early that Ellen was a lover, not a fighter.
Betty Grieb, though a fence separated them, spent more than three years reading to Ellen.
When Ellen’s status was upgraded, and Grieb got to meet her in person, “It was like a dream come true,” she said. ”I really loved her. She was such a sweet girl, so full of life.”
(Photo and video courtesy of Best Friends)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, best friends, dead, dies, dog, dogfighting, dogs, eldest, ellen, euthanized, ill, medical, michael vick, oldest, passes, pets, pit bulls, red collar, rehabilitation, status, tests, vick, vicktory dogs, video
Andrew David Thompson, the former Michigan State University medical student who admitted killing about a dozen Italian greyhound puppies, was sentenced yesterday to probation.
Thompson, who admitted to beating, kicking and throwing the puppies against walls when he became angry with them — and buying new ones to replace those who died — will serve five years of probation.
At a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court, Judge Paula Manderfield rejected prosecutors’ request for a prison sentence of two to four years, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“I am disgusted and embarrassed and have so much remorse for what happened,” Thompson told Manderfield during the hearing, which his mother, father and other supporters attended. “I’m shocked I even let it get to this point.”
Thompson pleaded guilty in April to three counts of animal killing. Two of the charges were for killing two different dogs while he lived in East Lansing. The third charge was for killing nine dogs when he lived in Meridian Township.
Stacia Buchanan, Thompson’s attorney, argued that his offense was a ”property crime” and that he had no prior criminal record. She said he has mental health issues for which he hasn’t receive treatment.
Under the sentence, he will.
The judge ordered Thompson to undergo mental health treatment, perform 400 hours of community service and not own or care for any animals while on probation.
Technically, Manderfield sentenced him to a year in jail, but she gave him credit for the 107 days he has served and suspended the remainder of the jail term pending successful completion of probation .
Manderfield said she didn’t believe a prison sentence would serve anybody’s interests. Probation, she told Thompson, would allow her to “always hold the hammer of prison over your head… I’m not convinced society would be served spending thousands of dollars to incarcerate you for two to four years,” she said.
(Photo: Paul Henderson / Lansing State Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal cruelty, animals, cruelty to animals, dozen, five years, former, italian greyhounds, judge paula manderfield, killed, lansing, medical, mental health, michigan, michigan state university, pets, probation, problems, puppies, school, sentence, sentenced, student, torture, treatment
In a poor shanty town in Lima, Peru, a deaf and mute boy is helping dogs, and proving actions speak louder than words ever will.
According to this report, posted on Care2 by Rosemary Underhay, who works with Vida Digna, a Peruvian animal welfare association, they first noticed the boy in a line of people waiting to get medical care for their animals.
“In the line there was a small boy, deaf and unable to speak, who used sign language to tell us we needed to see something urgently,” she writes.
“He disappeared for a while and then returned with a small, cold, miserable puppy covered in an angry, itchy mange and with a nasty, festering wound caused by scalding water, probably thrown at him to scare him away from market stands.”
Every week, the neighbor and the deaf boy were back in the line with the dog, named Milo, so his progress could be checked.
Two months later, as the program came to an end, Milo had completely recovered. By then, many were interested in adopting him. He now lives in a happy home, not far from the boy who helped him.
The boy, meanwhile, continued to bring in other strays in need of help, Vida Digna says.
“We always see him on our programs because he brings us strays. He wants us to give him an injection along with the dogs (the anti-mange injection), and the vet pretends to get ready an enormous syringe.”
Underhay said they don’t know if the boy is in school. Half of all school-age children there are not, because their parents cannot afford it.
“… We always try to make it clear to him that he is changing his world, by turning suffering into happiness,” Underhay wrote.
“We feel that the message is very strong, that people who are living permanently with those terrible constraints still want their animals to be well-cared for. People love their animals. The animals of the poor are often ill-cared for simply for lack of information and money. We teach above all, but provide services at prices most can pay for, even if only bit by bit. That is our work.”
Click this link to make a donation to help provide care for the animals in Peru’s shanty towns.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boy, burned, burns, care, care2, clinic, deaf, dogs, happiness, helps, lima, medical, milo, mute, peru, pets, poverty, rescue, rosemary underhay, scalded, shanty town, shelter, strays, suffering, veterinary, vida digna
A racing greyhound found running down Interstate 75 in Florida last week continues to recover from dehydration and more than 20 wounds found on his body.
After reports of the loose greyhound being sighted on I-75 near Gainesville, greyhound rescuers went to the scene, stopped traffic and captured the dog, a two-year-old male.
“He was in shock, had a fever, and was severely dehydrated … He still had his racing muzzle on and his kennel collar. I have no idea if he was being hauled and escaped or is loose from a local kennel and frankly, don’t care. He has over 20 wounds on his body, some severe, and some pretty serious road rash,” volunteer Kendra Stauffer wrote on the Goldcoast Greyhound Adoptions Facebook page.
The dog, now named Freeway, was rushed to the University of Florida Veterinary School emergency clinic, where he was operated on and his wounds were treated, according to Examiner.com
After his first surgery, Freeway was taken home by Stauffer, who fed him pureed chicken through a syringe for the first few days.
Goldcoast Greyhound Adoptions says his medical expenses have grown to more than $3,400, and that donations to his care have come from Canada and 30 states.
More photos of Freeway can be found on this Facebook page.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, florida, found, freeway, gainesville, goldcoast greyhound adoptions, greyhound, medical, pets, racing, rescue, surgery, treatment, veterinary
A Massachusetts pit bull is being credited with pulling her owner off the railroad tracks, saving her from an oncoming freight train.
And that, lest you find it hard to believe, is according to both the driver of the train and the woman’s son, a Boston police officer.
The woman survived, uninjured, but the dog — named Lilly — was severely hurt and lost a front leg.
Boston police officer David Lanteigne said he rescued Lilly from a shelter to serve as a companion for his mother, who suffers from alcoholism.
“We saved her life and she saved my mom’s life,” he told WCVB in Boston.
Lanteigne’s mother, Christine Spain, apparently fell unconscious onto train tracks in Shirley last Wednesday.
When help arrived, Lilly was covered in blood but still standing guard over her owner.
“Lilly was either pushing or pulling my mother off the tracks,” said Lanteigne. “There wasn’t enough time and … just prior to the train making impact Lilly had intentionally gotten between the train and my mother, and had taken the hit.”
“I’m supposed to be the strong one. I’m supposed to be here for her, but she’s been so great, so tough through all this,” Lanteigne said of his dog. “It almost seems like she’s the one comforting me and being there for me and making me feel better.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Angell Animal Medical Center)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, alcoholism, amputation, angell, animals, boston, christine spain, david lanteigne, dog, dogs, freight train, leg, lilly, lost, medical, mother, officer, owner, paw, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, police, pulled, rescued, saved, saves, shirley, tracks, train, video