Authorities in Hoke County, N.C., yesterday unearthed the remains of 15 dogs on the grounds of a “no-kill” animal shelter from which 600 animals were seized this week.
A day after Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA raided The Haven — Friends for Life shelter near Raeford, authorities on Thursday dug up the remains of 15 dogs that had been buried on the property.
Shelters owners Stephen and Linden Spears were released on bond after appearing in court on charges of neglect and possession of a controlled substance, but authorities says more charges against them are possible.
They’ve been banned from returning to the shelter.
Representatives of the ASPCA continued to remove some of the more than 600 neglected animals from the shelter yesterday, taking them to a warehouse near Raleigh where they could be checked by veterinarians and cared for.
ASPCA officials called the raid the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
More than 300 dogs, 250 cats, 40 horses and numerous farm animals were living at the 122-acre shelter in Raeford, the ASPCA said in a press release.
“What we found today at this facility — self-described as ‘North Carolina’s most successful no-kill shelter’ — is unacceptable,” said Tim Rickey, senior vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
“This is one of the largest animal seizures the ASPCA has ever conducted in our 150 years as an organization,” he added. “We have a team of nearly 140 responders on the ground to remove and care for these hundreds of neglected animals who have clearly not been receiving adequate care. Our goal is to help them become healthy and ultimately find them homes.”
The ASPCA’s assistance was requested by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, which began an investigation into the shelter after receiving complaints about sick animals and unsanitary conditions.
The Haven was operating without a license for about a decade, according to the ASPCA, and past inspections by the state Department of Agriculture had deemed the facility “inadequate.”
The population at the facility has fluctuated over the years, reaching more than 1,000 animals.
According to the shelter’s Facebook page, it was often seeking donations to improve the shelter, and had recently launched a GoFundMe drive to build roofs over the outdoor pens where dogs were kept.
The seized dogs, cats and other animals will be held at an undisclosed location, and the ASPCA will continue to care for them until custody is determined by the court,
“The condition of these animals is pressing and required immediate attention,” said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. “In addition to protecting Hoke County citizens, law enforcement has an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of Hoke County animals at all times. We cannot and will not allow this type of mistreatment to continue any longer. All persons involved will be held accountable.”
No deceased animals were found on the property Wednesday, but yesterday investigators found at least 15 dead dogs and “dozens” of animals buried on the property, according to WRAL in Raleigh.
(Photos of shelter courtesy of ASPCA; photos of Spears family courtesy of Hoke sheriff’s department)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, friends for life, hoke county, linden spears, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spears, the haven, unlicensed
A week after Guilford County prosecutors declined to pursue felony charges against the former county animal shelter director, Sheriff BJ Barnes was back before the cameras to announce new charges, and with a new ally at his side.
Barnes announced yesterday that former shelter director Marsha Williams has been served with five new misdemeanor citations for animal neglect.
He made the announcement with North Carolina’s First Lady, Ann McCrory, sitting next to him, and, next to her, Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Hank Henning.
Barnes was critical of the district attorney’s decision to not pursue felony animal cruelty charges against Williams and other two other former staff members he says were responsible for “horrendous” conditions at the shelter.
McCrory said she supports the effort and asked the district attorney to reconsider prosecution of the case.
On November 1, the district attorney’s office said there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against the former Guilford County Animal Shelter employees who had been charged after an investigation by the sheriff’s office.
Similar charges have been filed, and are still pending, against Williams and two other employees of the shelter in Davidson County, which was also operated by the nonprofit group United Animal Coalition.
In Guilford County, Sheriff deputies spent several months investigating allegations of animal abuse, mismanagement of funds and potential drug violations.
But officials in the district attorney’s office said the evidence to pursue cruelty charges was insufficient, showing a “systemic failure,” but pointing to no particular culprits who could be held responsible.
Sheriff Barnes voiced displeasure with that decision when it was made.
And yesterday, according to the Greensboro News & Record, he insisted the charges should be pursued, at least against the shelter director.
“Marsha Williams, as the manager, was in complete control. There was no decision made, live or die, without her being involved in the process,” he said.
Barnes also requested the cases in the two counties be consolidated, and be prosecuted in Davidson County.
McCrory, an animal rights advocate, said she’d requested to meet with Barnes to discuss the charges and show support for the case.
“This went beyond anything I’ve ever heard of in my life,” she said. “It’s basically torture. It’s beyond me that the Davidson County district attorney is going to prosecute. If that person has enough to charge and make a case … why don’t we have that in Guilford County?”
(Sheriff BJ Barnes, left, First Lady Ann McCrory, and Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Hank Henning; photo by Andrew Krech / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal shelter, animals, ann mccrory, bj barnes, charges, davidson county, district attorney, dog, dogs, first lady, greensboro, guilford county, marsha williams, neglect, new charges, north carolina, pets, prosecutors, sheriff
A group of inmates picking up trash along a road in south Alabama came together last week to give a stray dog something they don’t currently have — freedom, specifically freedom from the large plastic jar stuck on his head.
Cpl. Joshua Myers with the Geneva County Sheriff’s Office says a road crew was picking up trash on the side of East County Road 4 Thursday morning when they spotted a dog motionless on the ground.
As the inmates approached, the dog got up and began blindly running around, Myers told WSFA. The inmates were able to catch him, hold him down and free his head from the jar.
Once his head was freed, the dog ran off and the inmates couldn’t catch him.
Myers said the dog looked healthy.
WSFA reported one person has called the sheriff’s office to say they believe it’s their dog that has been missing for about a week.
Inmates in the Geneva County Jail with minor charges are allowed to work on road crews picking up trash as community service.
In addition to saving the dog, Meyers said the work crew on the same day found someone’s missing wallet. It has been returned to its owner.
(Photo: Geneva County Sheriff’s Office)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 3rd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, crew, dog, dogs, free, geneva county, head, inmates, jail, jar, litter, pets, prisoners, sheriff, stuck, trash, work
A Salisbury, N.C., woman insists it was just a joke when she posted a photo of her dog with her snout taped shut, but she has been charged with animal cruelty all the same.
Kimberly Ann Howell, 25, posted the photo above on Facebook, along with these words:
“I warned her. I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again, even play biting. LOL. She so pidiful (sic). I can’t even make her keep it on for five minutes. LOL. She jumped up on me and was like but please mamma.”
Amid some critical comments, Howell took the post down, but not before someone — concerned either about the dog or the infant — tipped off county officials, who referred the matter to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the Salisbury Post reported.
A detective questioned Howell, who insisted the dog, a young mixed breed named Leah, managed to quickly get the duct tape off her face. She also insisted the dog was not harmed.
The detective examined the dog and found her to be in good health with no other signs of abuse or neglect.
Howell, however, was charged with animal cruelty, jailed, and later released on $3,000 bond on the cruelty charge and failure to appear for outstanding traffic charges.
Leah was left in the custody of the family after the detective consulted with animal control officials about the case. Howell was told that a follow-up visit might take place to ensure the dog was being treated properly,
Since her initial post, Howell has responded repeatedly to the barrage of criticism she has been receiving online.
“Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that,” she wrote on Facebook. “But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend (sic) a week at my house would see how spoiled and loved my dog is. Anyways guess I really didn’t think through but anyone who knows me knows when I got Leah she [was] skin and bones how (sic) that animal abusee (sic).”
(Photo of Leah from Facebook, photo of Howell from Rowan County Sheriff’s Office)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, baby, biting, charged, charges, dog, dogs, duct tape, facebook, infant, joke, leah, mixed breed, mouth, north carolina, pets, photos, rowan county, salisbury, sheriff, snout, tape, taped
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina has been holding a dog raffle for years, but this year’s contest has been called off after a flood of criticism on social media.
The raffle, held to raise money for the department’s canine unit, is part of the county fair and it offers a chance to win a German shepherd pup for $1.
But after posting details of this year’s raffle on its Facebook page, the department drew thousands of complaints — most of them calling the contest irresponsible and objecting to randomly awarding a dog to a family that had not been screened first.
“I’m sure this is being done with good intentions. However, please reconsider,” one resident wrote. “You have no way of knowing what kind of home this pup will go to… Perhaps you could pair up with the local shelter and do a fundraiser with them and in turn encourage residents to adopt from the shelter.”
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman did not comment on what precautions might be taken to screen the raffle winner when contacted by the Shelby Star.
But Captain Richard Acuff later said the sheriff’s office has used a screening process in the past, including a visit to the winner’s house to make sure it’s a safe environment.
Nevertheless, on Friday, the sheriff’s office posted notice on its Facebook page that the raffle was cancelled:
“The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has cancelled the raffle for the German shepherd puppy that was going to be raffled at the Cleveland County Fair. Our original post did not state that in the past years we have required the person that won the drawing to be subjected to Cleveland County’s Animal Adoption Policy.
“Due to the overwhelming outcry we have teamed with a reputable 501.C3 animal rescue that has agreed to help in finding a suitable owner for this puppy… The Sheriff’s Office will be looking into other fundraising projects to help support our K-9 program. If you purchased tickets you will be contacted and your money will be refunded.”
A spokesperson for a local animal rescue group says the raffle is risky because the puppy could end up in the wrong hands.
“Just because someone can afford a dollar for a raffle does not mean that they can afford lifelong care for an animal,” Brianna Duffy, a spokesperson with Catering to Cats and Dogs told Fox 46 News.
“We rescue a lot of dogs that have been used as bait dogs, dogs that have been sold to any person on the side of the road to just have it for their own personal use, which is not positive,” she added.
A GoFundMe page was set up Friday on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
Posted by The American Pit Bull Foundation in Charlotte, it seeks to raise enough funds to cover what the sheriff department would have made through the raffle.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canceled, cancelled, cleveland county, complaints, concerns, county, county fair, dog, dog raffle, dogs, fair, fundraising, german shepherd, irresponsible, north carolina, pets, raffle, sheriff, sheriff's department, social media
That infamous door mat — the one that, due to a typo, read “In Dog We Trust” instead of “In God We Trust” — has sold for $9,650 in an online auction, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says.
The money will be donated to Canine Estates, Inc., a dog rescue shelter in Palm Harbor.
The rug with the county seal was one of several the sheriff’s office ordered, but the only one with the mistaken (though we think it’s right on target) wording.
After it was placed on the floor, a deputy noticed the boo-boo and, to avoid embarassment, it was rolled up and stored.
But after photos of it were published by news organizations Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided to make the most of it and put the rug up for auction online, with the proceeds going to the rescue organization from which he adopted his dog.
As we predicted, it brought in some big bucks.
When the auction closed Wednesday at 4 p.m., the final bid was $9,650. The rug initially cost the department about $500.
The identity of the winning bidder, who lives in Florida, hasn’t been made public.
“I knew that the sheriff’s office paid $500 for it,” Canine Estates founder Jane Sidwell told Bay News 9. “So I thought well, that’s great. We’ll get $500. But we had no idea it would escalate into what it has.”
Sidwell says the money will be used primarily to pay medical expenses for dogs in its care. The organization placed 186 dogs in permanent homes last year.
The online action attracted nearly 31,000 hits and 83 bids from across the country.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: auction, canine estates, dog, dogs, door mat, error, gualtieri, in dog we trust, in god we trust, mistake, online, pinellas county, printing, rescue, rug, shelte, sheriff, typo
(An update to this story can be found at the bottom of this page.)
A Florida sheriff’s office sees it as an embarrassing mistake.
I see it as a collector’s item, and I want it.
After installing some official rugs with the county’s official seal on their official lobby floors, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office noticed a printing mistake on one of them. Instead of saying “In God We Trust,” it said “In Dog We Trust.”
After a deputy noticed the error Wednesday, the rug was rolled up and stored, according to WFTS in Tampa Bay — but not before the station got some pictures. The large green rugs with the black and yellow Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office logo cost about $500.
The Sheriff’s Office said the manufacturer of the rugs, American Floor Mats, has taken responsibility for the error and will replace the one with the error.
Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, the company calls itself “a premier supplier of floor mats and matting. With over 25 years of floor mat experience, our customers rely on our vast knowledge and expertise …”
As for what becomes of the “In Dog We Trust” version, I’d love to have it, but I have some other ideas, too.
Put it back on the floor. There’s nothing wrong with trusting in dog, and God would understand.
At the very least, give it a home in the department’s 12-man K-9 unit.
Given the rugs look pretty lush and comfortable, Pinellas County Animal Services might find one of them useful — either as decor or dog bedding.
Or, it could be auctioned online. Who knows, they might be valuable — like those rare coins with mistakes on them.
Then again, American Floor Mats might want it back, so their boo-boo doesn’t live on.
The best solution? Dog only knows.
Update: An online auction it is: Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says that the rug in question will be sold to raise money for a nonprofit rescue group called Canine Estates.
(It’s the rescue from which he adopted a 13-year-old Maltese last year.)
As of Friday afternoon, bids had gone over $2,600 for the rug.
Gualtieri says his office has been getting calls from all over the world from people saying, “‘Oh my God, don’t throw it away.”
“We’re so excited,” Canine Estates’ founder Jayne Sidwell told The Huffington Post. “We need the funding so bad.”
The auction closes at 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 21. Bids are being accepted at OnlineAuction.com.
Another update: The rug sold for at auction for $9,650. Details here.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 16th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american floor mats, auction, collectors item, county, dog, error, florida, god, in dog we trust, K-9, law enforcement, logo, mistake, pinellas county, printing, rugs, seal, sheriff, sheriff's office, trust