9 Pitbulls Seized in Washington, GA

Dogfighting bust news from Wilkes Co, GA (video at link):

WASHINGTON, Ga.—Evidence of dog fighting and drugs were found earlier this week at a home in Wilkes County.
[…]
When the Washington Police Department went in with a search warrant on Tuesday they were shocked at what they found. Cocaine, marijuana, almost a dozen dead animals around the property and nine more pit bulls…trained to kill.


Well they sure made that assessment fast. I wonder how they got a qualified trainer in for individual evaluations so quickly. Or is that just the TV people being dramatic and no one has been in to give these dogs fair evaluations yet?

“When we found nine dogs chained up, viscous put bulls — these dogs were scarred up every last one of them,” says Lt. Nelson.

Another nine animals, dogs and cats were found dead, some badly decomposing on the property. They could have been the bait.
Investigators believe some of the dead animals and some of the pit bulls may have been family pets that were stolen.

“We feel some of those animals that were recovered might have been family owned pets because we’ve had a lot of complaints here of missing dogs or stolen dogs,” says Lt. Nelson. “I mean, these dogs I don’t think could be anybody’s pet again.

Well that is one possibility, another one being: Maybe they could be pets again. Maybe we need a canine behaviorist experienced with rehoming bust dogs to come in and individually evaluate these dogs before we make determinations like that.

The nine pit bulls found are at the humane society in Washington. They are currently trying to get custody of those dogs.

The shelter believes the three adults will have to be euthanized but that there may be hope for some of the puppies that they believe had just begun training. They are not up for adoption.

Right. For one thing, the owner has not been proven guilty in a court of law yet so he is still the owner. For another, if he chooses (or is forced by the courts) to sign over custody of the dogs to the shelter, it sounds as if they’ve already got at least 3 pink needles lined up.

Seems to me, this would be another good opportunity for HSUS to mobilize its vast resources and get on the horn to educate this shelter and local law enforcement about their new “interim” policy recommending individual evaluations for bust dogs. If necessary, they could help with funding to bring in an outside behaviorist for the evaluations and to cover expenses in providing quality care for the dogs. Just a(nother) suggestion…

I’m guessing this is the shelter trying to obtain custody – and apparently planning to kill at least some – of the dogs: Washington-Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

State Pet Laws: Who Speaks for You?

Here is a sampling of proposed legislation affecting pet owners around the US. All bracketed additions are mine. Our representatives are elected to speak for us, their constituents. If you find the bills they are considering to be misrepresentative of your view of fair, reasonable and necessary legislation, I suggest you speak for yourself. Find your state representatives and contact them with your polite and respectful opinions.

Arkansas, Senate Bill 864 (pdf)
Sponsor: Senator Madison
Excerpts:

An owner of twelve (12) or more dogs, cats, or any combination of dogs and cats shall annually obtain a license issued by the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
[Cost of license=$250]

Twenty-four (24) or more dogs, cats, or any combination of dogs and cats is one thousand dollars ($1,000).

An official of the department, a public health or safety official, and an officer employed or appointed by an agency of the state, county, municipality, or other governmental or political subdivision of the state that is responsible for animal control operations in its jurisdiction, upon receiving a complaint or upon his or her own motion, may investigate a violation of this section during daytime hours.
The investigation may include the inspection of the dogs or cats on the premises and any place where dogs or cats are kept or maintained.

This bill allows for warrantless searches of owners’ kennels and/or yards and/or homes.

Maryland, House Bill 495 (pdf)
Sponsors: Delegates Smigiel, Ali, Barkley, Bartlett, Barve, Beidle, Bronrott, Cardin, Dumais, Frush, Gilchrist, Glenn, Hubbard, Hucker, Impallaria, Kelly, Kipke, Kramer, Lee, Manno, Mathias, McComas, McConkey, McDonough, Minnick, Montgomery, Ramirez, Shewell, Stein, Valderrama, and Waldstreicher
Excerpts:

A PERSON WHO OWNS, POSSESSES, CONTROLS, OR OTHERWISE HAS CHARGE OR CUSTODY OF MORE THAN 10 BREEDING DOGS OVER THE AGE OF 4 MONTHS SHALL PROVIDE FOR EACH DOG:
(I) AN ENCLOSURE WITH:
1. AN INTERIOR HEIGHT OF AT LEAST 6 INCHES HIGHER THAN THE HEAD OF THE TALLEST DOG IN THE ENCLOSURE WHEN THE DOG IS IN A NORMAL STANDING POSITION; AND
2. SUFFICIENT SPACE TO ALLOW THE DOG TO TURN ABOUT FREELY, STAND, SIT, AND LIE DOWN SUCH THAT, WHEN FULLY EXTENDED, NO PART OF THE DOG’S BODY TOUCHES ANY SIDE OF THE ENCLOSURE OR ANY OTHER DOG IN THE ENCLOSURE; AND
(II) UNLESS THE DOG IS CERTIFIED BY A DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE TO BE MEDICALLY PRECLUDED FROM EXERCISE, A MINIMUM OF TWO EXERCISE PERIODS EACH DAY FOR A TOTAL OF AT LEAST 2 HOURS OF EXERCISE EACH DAY.

(2) THE EXERCISE REQUIRED UNDER PARAGRAPH (1)(II) OF THIS SUBSECTION:
(I) SHALL INCLUDE REMOVING THE DOG FROM ITS PRIMARY ENCLOSURE AND ALLOWING THE DOG TO WALK FOR THE ENTIRE EXERCISE PERIOD; AND
(II) UNLESS PRESCRIBED BY A DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, MAY NOT INCLUDE USE OF A TREADMILL, CAT MILL, JENNY MILL, SLAT MILL, OR SIMILAR DEVICE.

What if the “enclosure” you provide for your dogs is your home? What if you know how to use a treadmill responsibly for occasional, directly supervised exercise of your pet? What if your boss says you have to work late and you don’t manage to get in the full 2 hours for each dog that day? Who is going to monitor and enforce these regulations? I have questions!

Nevada, Senate Bill 241 (pdf)
Sponsors: SENATORS BREEDEN, CARLTON, WIENER, TOWNSEND; HORSFORD, LEE, PARKS AND WOODHOUSE
Excerpts:

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Section 4 of this bill prohibits a person from breeding cats and dogs for sale in Nevada without first obtaining a license as a breeder from the State Department of Agriculture and makes a violation of the licensure provision a misdemeanor. Section 4 also imposes an annual $500 licensing fee on breeders. Section 5 of this bill: (1) sets forth the qualifications a person must meet to be issued a license as a breeder, including good moral character and a lack of any convictions of violating a provision of chapter 574 of NRS relating to cruelty to and care of animals; (2) requires the license to be renewed annually […] Section 11 of this bill sets forth the duties of a breeder, including ensuring that cats or dogs he breeds and sells have all their necessary immunizations, that no cat or dog is bred for more than two litters, that each cat or dog is implanted with a microchip before it is sold and that the breeder registers each litter with the Department.

So the state of Nevada is going to determine which breeder applicants have “good moral character”? Huzzah!

New York, State Assembly Bill A05507 (summary)
Sponsor: Ball (MS)
Excerpts:

[...]change the definition of a "pet dealer"
to mean any person who engages in the
sale of more than five animals (rather than
nine) per year directly to the consumer.
The definition of "pet dealer" is also
amended such that a breeder is considered a
pet dealer if he or she sells directly to
the consumer fewer than ten animals per
year (rather than twenty five) that are
raised on the breeders residence.

This bill is supposedly designed to regulate “puppy and kitten mills” but the definition changes seem to include just about anyone who breeds dogs or cats.

Tennessee, Senate Bill 0258 (summary)
Sponsors: Senators Jackson, Ketron
Excerpts:

A “commercial breeder” is a person who possesses or maintains at least 20 female dogs in order to sell their offspring as companion animals.
[…]
An application for a license as a commercial breeder would be made to the commissioner on a form provided by the commissioner. Each application for a license must be accompanied by a license fee based upon the following:

(1) Possessing or maintaining 20-40 adult companion animals per year, $500; or
(2) Possessing or maintaining 41-75 adult companion animals per year, $1,000.
[…]
A license would not be issued to any commercial breeder who possesses or maintains more than 75 unsterilized companion animals over the age of six months.
[…]
This bill requires each commercial breeder to file semi-annual reports containing the following information:

(1) The number of dogs or cats in the possession of the commercial breeder on the date the report is filed;
(2) The number of dogs and cats sold during the reporting period and the names and addresses of the persons to whom they were sold; and
(3) The number of dogs and cats received by the commercial breeder during the reporting period under circumstances other than purchase and the names and addresses of the persons from whom they were obtained.

The premises of a commercial breeder must be made available to the commissioner for inspection at all reasonable times. The commissioner would make or cause to be made such inspections or investigations of the premises and records as considered necessary.


This bill also contains the “good moral character” requirement for applicants. Again, I’m seeing warrantless searches and there is a provision for animal seizure as well. Turning in the names and addresses of buyers to the state seems excessively intrusive to me. Why do they want that information, how will the state use it and what steps will be taken to protect the privacy of buyers? Or will buyers’ names and addresses become public information?


Additional bills affecting pet owners:

Illinois

Chicago, IL – Mandatory Spay-Neuter
HSUS support for Chicago MSN
Vote delayed due to opposition – March 23, 2009

North Carolina

Additional info:
Pet-Law – state list
SAOVA

HSUS and Anti-Pet Laws
HSUS Legislative Agenda 2009 (pdf)

NC Woman Charged with Animal Cruelty Plus

A NC mother of four is being charged after investigators uncover animal and child abuse:

Jennifer Lytton of Statesville faces one misdemeanor count of assault on a child under 12, one felony count of cruelty to animals, and two misdemeanor counts of instigating cruelty to animals.

The article states she put out a cigarette on her 5 year old’s nose. When confronted by DSS about it, the mom tried the old switcheroo and blamed the DSS worker for the injury. Denial FAIL. Authorities then found the skeleton of a dog she had apparently starved to death in her yard, along with 2 Pitbulls she was still working on starving:

Detectives say the 5-year-old is now living with a relative and doing well. The dogs are now at Iredell County Animal Services.

The woman is out on bond. If she is found guilty, I hope the judge takes the animal cruelty charges seriously since there is often a connection between abuse of animals and violence against people. And in this case, the mother is allegedly already on that path.  Cruel people who prey upon the weak, the defenseless and the young they are charged with protecting need to be dealt with in an appropriately grave manner.  In addition, if the owner relinquishes or loses her rights to the canine victims, I hope they are given the opportunity for individual evaluations and rehoming, if appropriate. Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

What’s Going on at the Charleston, MO Dog Pound?

Lots of online chatter about this story as well as a local news piece:

A local animal rescue group says their eye-opening investigation could put Charleston City leaders in the hot seat.

In the wake of that investigation, Charleston Police shut down the city pound.

[…]

Here’s what members of the group say about conditions inside the pound:

“They were horrendous. They were soaking in their urine, two small dogs were in the cage together covered in feces.”

Alanna Downey heads the group, and says she posted the photographs she took online, raising cries of protests from animal lovers across the country. 

“There were multiple slabs of meat in the large dogs cage. Raw meat. They had a bluish purple tint to some of them,” Downey said. 

“We feed the dogs dog food. But we have been giving them raw meat on and off for years as a treat,” Police Chief Robert Hearnes said. 

For now the pound is empty, shut down pending an investigation by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. 

Authorities there say the city did not have a license to operate the pound and that is a violation of state law. 

Another Charleston resident says it’s about time someone’s stepping up to speak up for the animals. 

He says he found his dog in a pit, one day after the animal went missing. 

“He had been shot,” Jesse Alexander said. “You could see scratch marks where they throwed the dog in the hole and shot him.” 

Chief Hearnes said earlier in the day the city buried the dogs they shot. However he would not return calls to confirm if the junk pit Heartland News found is where the dogs are tossed into, but we did spot two partially burned dog carcasses inside.

What is shocking to me about this situation is the apparent casual stance the police chief has regarding the allegations.  I don’t see any denials, just sort of a vague *shrug*.  Presumably an officer of the law is familiar with the law and aware that it applies to him too:

Authorities at the Missouri Department of Agriculture say once they wrap up their investigation it will be up to the Mississippi County prosecutor to decide whether to file charges against the city. 

Under Missouri law, those who operate shelters, pounds, kennels must euthanize animals under guidelines governed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The law says they also have to provide their animals with proper shelter, food and healthcare, as well as pay an annual license fee and be subject to inspections at least once a year.

They must also hold the dogs for at least five days before deciding what to do with them.

More blog coverage here and a Craigslist posting here.

If these allegations are true – and again, I’m not reading any denials – what part of “animal shelter” does this police chief fail to comprehend?  Stray pets are completely reliant upon the human caregivers who get them off the streets to provide them with quality care, food, clean and safe shelter as well as every possible opportunity for adoption into a loving home.  Homeless pets are part of the community we pay you to protect and to serve.  Personal responsibility, anyone?   

Let’s Play Oddball

Worker falls into dog food ingredient (some form of wheat) tank:

City firefighters rescued a man Monday at a pet food factory in the Lower Valley who was in danger of suffocating inside a tank containing a dog food ingredient.

Fire Lt. Mario Hernandez said eight units, including the Fire Department’s special rescue unit, were dispatched around 11:19 a.m. to extricate the 49-year-old employee who was trapped “up to his shoulders.”

Soooo – are they still gonna use the (now) man-less wheat in the dog food? Jes’ wundrin’.

Sheepdogs assist with a little promo for Samsung

UK Wildlife Clinic that cares for a hairless squirrel now has a hedgeless-hog as well.

Swiss Zoo says baby Hippo not for tiger dinner

Man paralyzed for 20 years gets bitten by a brown recluse spider, walks again

Not quite up to Dune snuff, but giant sand worm fossils still interesting

Bird does your standard pet tricks and more

Arranged marriage for frogs in India with hope for rains

Oh crud, one of my pets got loose again

SC Bill Helps Battered Women and Their Pets

When faced with a crisis, it seems normal to me to cling to our family/loved ones and our home. But when staying at home becomes part of the crisis, some pet owners hold on to their loved ones – including their pets – even more. We saw this during Katrina when some owners refused to evacuate because the shelters would not accept their pets. Lesson learned and many emergency shelters set up during post-Katrina storms allowed pets. The reasons battered women stay in their homes are more complex but similarly, they sometimes don’t want to go to a shelter which requires them to leave their pets in a violent home. A South Carolina bill addresses this issue:

Under the bill, abused women seeking temporary restraining orders against abusive husbands, boyfriends and fathers of their children could ask a Family Court judge for custody of a pet, even if the abuser owns the pet.

[…]

“It’s something I feel we’ve needed for years,” said Nancy Barton, executive director of Sistercare, an organization that offers a variety of services for battered women and their children in the Columbia area. “We hear from women who say, ‘I need to leave, but if I do, I know he’ll kill my dog or my cat.’”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 71 percent of pet owners entering domestic-violence shelters report that their batterer had threatened, injured or killed family pets.

Maine, New York and Vermont have enacted legislation to strengthen domestic-violence protective orders to include pets.

The bill being considered in South Carolina would apply to all kinds of pets, including horses and livestock.

[…]

“If there’s anything we can do to help lower the barriers that prevent women from seeking help, let’s do it,” [Vicki] Bourus [director of the S.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault] said. “We’re not reaching enough of them as it is. Many of them just won’t leave those pets. And think of how helpless an animal is in the hands of an ill-intended person.”

Nationally, an increasing number of shelters for abused women have added kennels or created animal foster care programs in an effort to protect victims.

Read the full article here and don’t miss the comments underneath from Idiot McStupidTalk and Friends.

If you are a SC resident, contact your representative to voice support for House bill 3117:

Sponsor: Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter

SC House of Representatives

The Long Arm of HSUS in NC

Although there was much coverage of the HSUS puppy mill raid and seizure of roughly 300 dogs in Wayne County, NC last month, a similar HSUS raid 3 weeks later in Lenoir County leaves some questions unanswered:

Rescuers have removed 50 dogs from a Lenoir County breeding facility after the owner was convinced that he had to shut it down.

A statement from The Humane Society of the United States said the dogs were living in substandard conditions in outdoor pens throughout the property.

Local officials inspected the property after receiving an anonymous complaint and found no evidence of intentional abuse, but the unidentified property owner voluntarily surrendered the animals.

The statement said the property owner signed a contract with local officials barring him from breeding any dogs in the future.

What I’m reading here is “anonymous complaint”, “no evidence of intentional abuse”, and I guess we are supposed to take the word of the HSUS regarding the “substandard conditions”. And the owner was “convinced” to “voluntarily” surrender the dogs. Yes, I have questions.

In trying to find additional information, I came across this piece on WNCT but it was written by someone from the HSUS. In fact, all the articles I came across regarding this raid seemed to be taken from the HSUS statement. So does the HSUS raid NC “puppy mills” (what exactly is a “puppy mill” in legal terms?) and then report on their activities for the local news in NC now? At least they don’t have their hand in legislating the rules dog owners of NC have to live by – oh wait a second:

“We will soon introduce legislation that will help to crack down on the cruel puppy mill industry in our state.” [said Amanda Arrington, North Carolina state director for The HSUS.]

How soon is now?

North Carolina doesn’t have a law regulating puppy mills – breeding facilities that mass produce puppies for sale. Legislation backed by Sen. Don Davis, D-Wayne, could be introduced next week, however.

Davis said the bill is still being drafted to make sure it is fair for reputable breeders, but the Humane Society of the United States, which organized Thursday’s meeting, said the legislation could require oversight and a license for breeders with 20 or more adult females.

Here is a pdf of HOUSE DRH10581-RF-9. Excerpts from the House version:

  • “Commercial breeder” means any person who, during any 12-month period, maintains 15 or more adult female dogs for the primary purpose of the sale of their offspring as companion animals.
  • Prescribe the manner in which animals may be transported to and from registered or licensed premises.
  • Commercial breeders shall not breed female dogs less than 18 months or more than eight years of age and shall provide adequate veterinary care to the female adult dogs and their offspring. An adult female dog shall not be bred without an annual certification from a licensed veterinarian that the dog is in suitable health for breeding.
  • Commercial breeding operations shall be subject to inspection by duly appointed employees of the Department or by local animal control officers. In conducting such inspections, the Department employee or local animal control officer may inspect the records of the commercial breeder, the premises where animals are bred and maintained, and any animal used in the breeding program or their offspring. Denial of access to the commercial breeding operation shall be grounds for revocation of the commercial breeders license.”

Senate Bill 460 (same bill) was introduced to the NC Senate earlier this month – pdf here.

This bill sounds alarmingly vague and intrusive. I most assuredly care about protecting dogs from cruelty but as in all things, we must respect the civil liberties we are entitled to as US citizens. We must not allow a so-called “Humane” Society to overly influence our local law enforcement agencies, our local free press and our state lawmakers. We the People are a compassionate, no kill nation of pet owners who neither need nor want a nanny state created by a fundraising group of direct-mailers. We are the real humane society.

Contact Senator Davis and let him know how you feel about this bill (current status: Referred to Commerce) and the apparent overreaching involvement of the HSUS in NC law enforcement, press, and lawmaking:

Senator Don Davis, NC Senate
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 525
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

(919)733-5621

Don.Davis@ncleg.net

Update on Georgia Dogfighting Case

July 2008
Georgia:

The Appalachian Circuit District Attorney’s office raided Mountain Swamp Kennels in Blue Ridge on Thursday morning, finding 22 pit bulls along with three dogfighting pits and “suspected dogfighting paraphernalia.”
[…]
Information regarding White’s kennels was initially provided to the Humane Society through its tip line, established by Norred & Associates in the wake of the Michael Vick dogfighting case. The tipster will receive $5,000 if White is convicted.

March 2009:

Epworth resident Glen Albert White will serve 10 years in prison followed by another 10 years on probation after entering a negotiated guilty plea to a number of charges including dogfighting, animal cruelty and sexual offenses.
[…]
The charges to which White pleaded guilty were 25 counts of dogfighting, 21 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon contained within the first indictment; three counts of child molestation contained within the second indictment; and three counts of child molestation contained within the third indictment.


I’m assuming, although I don’t know for certain, that with the guilty plea, the dogs are now owned by the authorities, if they weren’t already. Since the guilty plea was entered on March 5, which was after the HSUS (sort of) announced its “interim” policy recommending individual evaluations for seized dogs in fight cases, I’m hoping the HSUS has been working with authorities to get these 22 dogs individually evaluated by someone experienced in rehoming bust dogs. I haven’t found any information on the seized dogs nor any updates on the case on the HSUS website. If anyone knows what happened to these 22 dogs, please share whatever info you have.

It’s great to put dogfighters behind bars (and in this case, a freakin’ child molester to boot) but I still want to know what is happening to the dogs seized in these cases. Whether the defendant turns out guilty or innocent, the dogs should not be killed simply because of the crimes of which the owner is accused. Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

Let’s Play Oddball

I feed my addiction and you get to watch. Or read.

Buy couch, get cat free

Moose on roof in North Dakota

Dumbass in Myrtle Beach, SC has his pet Hyena “Bubbles” seized by authorities

Dead mailman’s body misdelivered to pet store

Zoo chimp stockpiles weapons of minor destruction

Thai pachyderm procures peg leg

Eagle crashes through windshield on highway, everybody survives

Terrierman has Martha Stewart’s unfortunately timed Tweets

This week’s “There’s a website for everything” link

Kid Safety and Dogs

I love this!

From Be-A-Tree.com:

Check out their website. It’s full of great stuff.