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Tag: search warrant

Search finds little evidence to back up claim that chewed-through wire led to deaths

Necropsies conducted on some of the victims, and an intensive search of the Arizona boarding kennel where more than 20 dogs died, have revealed no evidence supporting the belief that a chewed-through electrical cord led to the deaths.

That, ever since the dogs died virtually overnight nearly a month ago, has been the claim of kennel owner MaLeisa Hughes, seen defending herself (and attacking the news media) in the raw interview footage above.

Hughes and her husband, Todd Hughes, were out of town when the dogs died, and had left the dogs under the supervision of their daughter, Logan Flake, and her husband, Austin Flake, who is the son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

The dogs — some dead, some dying — were discovered early in the morning on June 20, most of them held in the same 9-foot by 12-foot room.

Upon their return, Hughes’ husband told at least some of the owners of the deceased dogs that their pets had run away — another inconsistency MaLeisa Hughes attempts to explain in this June 23 meeting outside the kennel with the news media.

Last week, Maricopa County Sheriff’s detectives searched Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert, seizing parts of an air conditioning system to determine if it failed.

Necropsies performed on seven of the 21 dogs also found no evidence to validate the kennel-owners’ statement that a dog had chewed through an electrical wire and cut the power to an air conditioning unit.

“On the dogs that were necropsied, there was no evidence found to support or suggesting electrocution,” concluded Dr. Bernard Mangone, the veterinarian who performed the necropsies at Palm Glen Animal Hospital. He said results indicate the dogs suffocated, but that more testing is required to pinpoint a cause of death.

Tissue samples were sent to the University of Arizona for further testing and to the University of Michigan to determine if the dogs were drugged, according to Arizona Republic.

Mangone wrote that it is possible the dogs died of heat stroke or lack of oxygen.

“The dogs begin to pant and become agitated which increases both their oxygen need and the amount of (carbon dioxide) they are producing,” Mangone wrote.

The search warrant indicates that investigators confiscated computers, cell phones and records associated with the operation of the facility, CBS 5 reported. Detectives also took samples of insulation and wiring from the small room where the dogs were found dead.

As of today, no arrests have been made and no criminal charges have been filed.

Deputies conduct search of Green Acre

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Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies have finally conducted a search at the Gilbert boarding facility where 22 dogs died last month, seizing computers, cell phones, business documents, wiring, drywall and the body of yet another dead dog.

The remains of one dog buried on the property at Green Acre Dog Boarding were exhumed during the search, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

The sheriff’s office brought along two electrical experts who concluded that, even if the air conditioning was working in the room where the dogs died, the air flow may not have been sufficient to keep them alive, according to the East Valley Tribune.

The business owners claim one of the dogs chewed through a wire which shorted out the air conditioning to the 9 by 12 foot room where 28 dogs were being kept.

Arpaio said Wednesday that the experts “suspect that even if the air conditioning system to that small room was functioning the day these dogs died, the air flow in that size room with so many large dogs inside it may not have been sufficient to keep those dogs alive.”

Arpaio said the owner of the boarding kennel, MaLeisa Hughes, was “somewhat hostile and uncooperative” during the search.

Sheriff’s detectives still haven’t re-interviewed the couple that was taking care of the animals while the business owners were out of town — Logan Flake, who is the owner’s daughter, and Austin Flake, her husband, who is the son of Sen. Jeff Flake.

Arpaio said Logan and Austin Flake left the state. When they were found and contacted in Provo, Utah they refused to answer any questions, Arpaio said.

Arpaio said he believes detectives will be able to make a determination soon about whether there’s enough evidence to file criminal charges against the owners and caretakers.

Visiting pit bull fatally shot during drug raid

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Police in Fayetteville, N.C., say they are still investigating an officer’s fatal shooting of a pit bull during a drug raid in July, but the owner — who had left the dog in the care of friends — thinks she is owed some answers.

“The police are supposed to protect and serve, not kill and destroy,” Victoria Thompson told the Fayetteville Observer. “I want the officer responsible for maliciously murdering my baby held accountable.”

Thompson has been waiting since July 17 to find out why Queen, her 4-year-old pit bull, was shot to death as officers executed a search warrant at a friend’s house.

Thompson was a friend of one of the house’s two occupants, and had left Queen with him while she was moving from Fayetteville to Atlanta.

The home’s occupants, Justin Bernard Harris and Taurean Forte, were charged with drug-related violations after the search, according to Fayetteville police.

Queen was in a bedroom asleep when police burst into the room, according to Thompson.

Assistant Chief Brad Chandler said one of the suspects was hiding in the bedroom closet. When officers entered the room, the dog came toward them in an aggressive manner, Chandler said.

The officer who shot the dog has not been identified.

Fayetteville police shot seven animals in 2011 and 12 in 2012, according to a report compiled by the Office of Professional Standards and Inspections.

Asked why non-lethal means weren’t used to control the dog, Chandler said, “If we’re using a Taser, we can’t defend ourselves. You’re going into a drug house and in a split second, you have a huge pit bull coming at you. There’s no way you have got that time. Do you want to risk that?”

Thompson said police offered her compensation for Queen’s death.

“That’s like asking how much is your daughter’s or son’s life worth,” she said. “I want a proper burial for my baby and an apology from the officer responsible, because he unjustly murdered her. But more than anything I want justice for my Queen.”

Shelter conditions lead to firing in Memphis

memphisdogThis photo helped authorities in Shelby County, Tennessee get the search warrant that was used in a predawn raid that led to the temporary closure of the Memphis Animal Shelter two weeks ago.

The raid followed allegations of mismanagement, mistreatment of animals and improper euthanizations.

The mayor of Memphis, A C  Wharton, fired Animal Services Director Ernest Alexander Friday — a day after residents held a candlelight vigil at the facility.

“I am not an expert on (animal shelters), but I tell you what, I can walk in here and tell you whether it is clean or dirty,” Wharton said Friday during a news conference at the shelter. “I can tell you the difference between a pet that has been fed and cared for and loved and not loved.”

Wharton’s decision to fire Alexander came after shelter employees improperly euthanized a dog and preliminary results of a city investigation showed the facility had been mismanaged, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

In addition to Alexander’s termination, three other shelter employees remain suspended with pay until the city investigation is complete.

Last week, Wharton established a committee to review the shelter’s operations and installed surveillance cameras that the public can access online. Members of the committee will monitor the shelter daily.

Public pressure for Wharton to take action at the shelter — long criticized by animal rights activists — has been building since Shelby County sheriff’s deputies raided the facility last week.

The puppy in the photo was admitted to the Memphis Animal Shelter Aug. 18, and died Sept. 4.  A necropsy showed the dog hadn’t eaten in at least 72 hours.

CNN tags along on dogfighting raid in Georgia


Nearly 100 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were seized in a raid of a house in East Dublin, Georgia, whose owner is suspected of raising dogs for dogfighting.

The Sheriff’s Office in Laurens County, based on an investigation triggered by information received on a telephone tip line, executed a search warrant at the property — and CNN was there to watch it unfold.

Private investigators with Norred and Associates Inc. worked alongside sheriff’s deputies and volunteers from the Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society. Greg Norred has been donating his firm’s time and expertise and his own money to rescuing dogs for the past two years, helping to save almost 300 dogs in at least 16 raids.