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Tag: west virginia

Injuries rampant at West Virginia dog track

Anti-dog racing groups say Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Nitro, West Virginia, has had an alarming number of greyhound injuries over the past six years — more than one a day.

West Virginia Racing Commission records analyzed by Massachusetts-based Grey2K USA show that, in addition to 1.4 injuries a day, 152 dogs were euthanized during that period, only seven of those because of illnesses.

Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K, the anti-dog racing agency that spent years trying to obtain the records, told the Charleston Daily Mail that the numbers are the highest the group has seen at any U.S. track.

An ASPCA spokesperson called the figures “appalling.”

Track executive Dan Adkins said the number of injuries has dropped the past two years and is near the national average.

Adkins insists dog health is a top priority for the track’s parent company, Hartman and Tyner Inc. of Hallandale, Fla. Out of more than 43,400 racing starts last year, he said, there were only 25 deaths.

The records show about 750 broken bones, and more than 300 career-ending injuries.

Grey2K says the true number could be even higher than state records indicate because more than 13 months of data is missing. The Racing Commission told the Daily Mail it could not find those records.

Report of dogs thrown on highway was fraud

A humane officer for the Humane Society of Parkersburg in West Virginia made up the story that someone threw seven puppies and an adult dog out of a moving truck on I-77, investigators said Friday.

Steven Whitehair made up the story to get publicity for the humane society, said Sgt. Shawn Graham of the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

Whitehair reported to authorities that the agency received an emergency call from a witness who said a man was throwing dogs out of a truck going north on Interstate 77 between Rockport and Mineral Wells the morning of May 8, according to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Whitehair also told authorities he was cleaning the mess when the alleged perpetrator returned to the scene and confessed, however, investigators could not locate the man.

“A lot of Whitehair’s statement just didn’t make any sense,” Graham said.

Whitehair, in his original report, said the unidentified suspect got into a dispute with his girlfriend about the dogs, and then threw the dogs out of the car.

Whitehair will be charged with obstruction and possibly false reporting, Graham said.

K-9s get their walking papers

How bad is the economy? So bad even dogs are getting laid off.

On top of the ill effects dogs undergo when their guardians lose their jobs and homes, some dogs are getting pink slips, too.

Last week, the Mason County Commission in West Virginia voted to ask the sheriff to send two of the departments three police dogs packing, citing the need to save on labor costs.

The county says a recent settlement requiring it to pay deputies who handle the animals for expenses related to the dogs, even when the deputies are off-duty, led to the shortfall. The dogs will be removed from the department as soon as possible, the commission president said.

Dogs enjoyed a huge increase in employment opportunities after 9/11, when concerns about homeland security led to a high demand for dogs trained to sniff out explosives, cadavers, live humans and more. With today’s the sagging economy, and local governments being pinched for funds, I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin hearing more tales like this one.

Nearly 1,000 W. Va. dogs relocated

Nearly all of the almost 1,000 dogs seized from a Parkersburg breeding kennel have been transported to out-of-state shelters and rehabilitation facilities, where many of them will soon be available for adoption.

Only 61 dogs remain in an emergency shelter set up by the Humane Society of Parkersburg, said Maryann Hollis, executive director. Most are dachshunds, Jack Russell terriers and Yorkshire terriers. Hollis said the society had received more than 300 applications from people interested in adopting them.

“Local residents get first priority to thank them for being so supportive,” Hollis told the Charleston Daily Mail.  “The demand to adopt one of these precious pups has been tremendous. The compassion of the local community is like nothing I have ever seen before.”

Officials say 982 small-breed dogs and puppies were taken from Whispering Oaks Kennel on Aug. 23 after owner Sharon Roberts agreed to give up the dogs and cease her breeding business permanently.

They dogs taken to a warehouse in Parkersburg, then relocated to shelters and rescues from Utah to Virginia.

Those include: The Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington D. C.; Virginia Beach SPCA in Virginia Beach, Va.; Dashchund Rescue of North America; Danville SPCA in Danville, Ky.; Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah; North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, N.Y.; The Sterile Feral in Georgia; the Ohio Federation of Humane Societies located throughout Ohio; Luv4K9s in Dayton, Ohio; Citizens for Humane Action in Columbus, Ohio; Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue in California; Society for Improvement of the Coalition of Stray Animals; Purebred Rescue of Ohio and A Forever Home in Chantilly, Va.

Both Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States were on the scene over the weekend to assist with the temporary housing of the dogs.

For more information about adopting the West Virginia dogs, contact the Humane Society of Parkersburg  at 304-422-5541, extension 116.

Insiders view of W. Virginia kennel raid

Best Friends Animal Society was among the animal welfare organizations lending a hand in shutting down the West Virginia puppy mill from which 1,000 dogs were removed over the weekend.

According to an article on its web site, the Utah-based organization had been working with the Parkersburg Humane Society since May, when the agency called for assistance in the case.

Best Friends says it also advised the Wood County prosecutor’s office in the case, and recently requested assistance from the Humane Society of the United States and other agencies to help with coordination of the operations at the local emergency shelter.

The fight against puppy mills, mass breeding operations that supply pet stores and fuel internet sales throughout the United States, is a priority initiative for Best Friends, which in the past two years led several other puppy mill busts, according to the article.

Puppy mills produce an estimated four million dogs in the U.S. each year for the pet sales market; meanwhile, an estimated six million homeless dogs and cats are killed in the U.S. each year, Best Friends points out.

The Best Friends web site also has an ongoing blog about the effort, written by one of members of the rescue team.

(Photo: Puppy at Whispering Oaks Kennels, courtesy of Best Friends)

1,000 dogs removed from W. Va. puppy mill

Around 1,000 dogs were removed from a kennel near Parkersburg, West Virginia after authorities said they were kept in cages for breeding and were never let out and rarely, if ever, touched by a human being.

“Imagine you live your entire life inside your house — one room inside your house — and you never leave it,” Maryann Hollis, director of the Humane Society of Parkersburg, told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel for Monday’s edition. “Once a week, somebody dropped groceries at your door. That’s what life was like for these dogs — just one room, wire mesh, and you pooped where you slept.”

The animals were surrendered by Whispering Oaks Kennel Saturday after Wood County sheriff’s deputies investigating possible dog-related pollution executed a search warrant at the Internet-based dog-breeding business, according to an Associated Press article.

The humane society calls it the largest animal rescue in the state’s history.

Wood County Prosecutor Ginny Conley said the owner, Sharon Roberts, hasn’t been cited for animal neglect but has agreed to never operate a dog-breeding business again.

Roberts told The Associated Press she was the victim of a “witch hunt” by animal rights activists. She told the Charleston Daily Mail that the dogs were well cared for by herself and her five employees. Each dog was wormed and vaccinated and regularly visited by a veterinarian, she said.

Roberts, even if she had been charged with a crime, which she wasn’t, would still be innocent until proven guilty. That said, and completely unrelated to this case, of course, there is one sure-fire way to avoid being the victim of a witch hunt: Don’t be a witch.