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Tag: parole

Parole denied after dog attends hearing

Louis then

Louis now

An Alabama state board denied parole this week to a man convicted of spraying a dog with lighter fluid, setting him on fire and beating him with a shovel.

The star witness at the hearing? The victim himself — Louis Vuitton, an 8-year-old pit bull who, now in the care of a local couple that adopted him, still bears burn scars over much of his body. The dog was led into the hearing room, consenting to being petted along the way.

The board voted 3-0 to deny early release to 23-year-old Juan Daniels of Montgomery, who was sentenced in 2009 to nine years and six months in prison, according to the Associated Press. The sentence was a record in Alabama in an animal cruelty case.

It’s believed to have been the first appearance by a dog at an Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles hearing. “I don’t recall every having one here before,” said Cynthia Dillard, the board’s executive director.

Daniels’ family and supporters aruged that he had been sentenced far more harshly than criminals who harm human beings.

After the September 2007 attack on the dog, the Montgomery Humane Society got as many as 50 calls a day about the case, some from other countries.

The dog was named “Louis Vuitton,” in honor of another abused dog, named “Gucci,” whose torture case in Mobile in 1994 led to passage of “Gucci’s law,” which made animal cruelty a felony in Alabama.

More than 60 law enforcement officers, animal rights advocates and other supporters of Louis crowded into the hearing, where Montgomery County District Attrney Ellen Brooks asked parole board members to make Daniels serve his entire sentence.

She said he tortured the dog, which belonged to his mother, because he was angry at her for not letting him use the car.

Daniels will be eligible for another parole hearing in July 2012.

Pit bulls and parolees on Animal Planet

tiatorresandfriend1What do you get when you bring together 225 pit bulls, 204 volunteers, the woman to your left in the flowing white dress and six recent prison parolees on a ranch in the canyons of southern California?

A reality show, of course.

Tia Maria Torres, 49, started Villalobos Rescue Center – the largest pit bull rescue in the United States – 14 years ago. Three years ago, she began taking in ex-cons, including her prison pen pal Aren Marcus Jackson, a tattoo artist who would become her second husband.

According to an Associated Press report, the rescue has tried some novel fund-raising approaches in the past, including opening a brothel — a legal, Nevada one —  but it burned down. Now Torres, it seems, is turning to an even shadier source for funding — the reality show.

Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees” will debut next month.

Producer Michael “MikeyD” Dinco was a student in a pit bull class Torres taught years ago. Intrigued by the combination of pit bulls and parolees, he decided to pitch the reality show idea to the network. 

Torres said the show will help cover the $20,000 in monthly bills, including a ton of dog food a week, as well as its $25,000 vet tab. The rescue is located on 17 acres of rugged terrain in Canyon Country.

The television show will focus on the interaction of the dogs and men. “The dogs bring out the best in these guys,” Torres said. 

Torres grew up a in an a upper-middle class family, but fell into the gang life. That led to six years in the Army, followed by work as a youth counselor in Los Angeles. After 13 years in social services, she started training animals for the film industry before opening the shelter.

Vick to finish sentence at home, report says

Michael Vick will be allowed to serve the last two months of his sentence under home confinement because there is no room at a halfway house for him, a government official told the Associated Press.

The former NFL quarterback is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at his home in Virginia’s Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs.

Vick’s lawyers have said they expected him to be moved any day into a halfway house in Newport News, Va. But because of a lack of space, he will be released to his home in nearby Hampton on or after May 21, said the official, who requested anonymity.

Under the arrangement, Vick would be on electronic monitoring and would be allowed to leave home only for activities approved by his probation officer.

Vick had been scheduled to be released from prison in July.