13 Pitbulls Seized in SC Dogfighting Case

Note: This is a breaking story so hopefully more information will become available as the case progresses.

Thirteen Pitbulls were seized over the weekend in McConnells (York County), SC and three men have been charged with animal fighting and baiting:

The York County Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous tip on Saturday, February 20 about a dog fight that was in progress behind a home at 1350 McConnells Highway.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they followed a trail behind the house which led into the woods. At the end of the trail, the deputies found a dog fighting pit with lights. There was lots of blood in the pit and buckets surrounding the pit, according to the sheriff’s office.


Most of the dogs had scarring consistent with having been in a fight.

Each of the above links contains a small photo of a dog seized in this case (two different dogs). Very hard to tell much from one small picture, but neither one struck me as looking particularly Pitbull-ish. Hopefully we’ll see more photos that show the condition of the dogs. They are being kept at York County Animal Control.

Matthew Pepper, New Director of Memphis Animal Shelter

Matthew Pepper is set to become the director of the Memphis Animal Shelter (MAS) on March 1st. He worked his final days as head of the Caddo parish shelter in Louisiana last week. He had been there for almost two years:

More than anything, parish leaders and nonprofits credit Pepper with improving the department’s public relations campaign[…]

Mr. Pepper was reportedly hired by MAS due, in part, to his clean-up job at the troubled Caddo shelter. MAS probably thinks it could do with a spit-shine too.

Notable Numbers:

  • Mr. Pepper’s base salary at Caddo: about $76,000
  • Mr. Pepper’s starting salary at MAS: $92,000
  • Caddo’s kill rate for 2009 (Mr. Pepper’s only full calendar year there): over 70%

The Caddo shelter admits thousands of pets every year. When you’re killing that many animals, there are bound to be some oopses:

Lost in the system, but found in a freezer. That’s what happened to a little puppy accidentally killed by Caddo Animal Services.

The puppy had an adopter but never made it out of the shelter to his waiting family:

Director Matt Pepper says as unfortunate as it sounds, the puppy somehow got lost in the system. Pepper says it’s one of many regrettable issues he’s addressed since he’s taken over. He says he’s already implemented new practices that will hopefully keep this from happening again.

One of the problems with killing as a means of shelter population management is that when mistakes are made, pets get dead. Mr. Pepper knows this, first hand. I will be following his work at MAS with interest.

Treats on the Internets

A candlelight vigil was held last week in memory of the 146 Wilkes Co Pitbulls who were killed by HSUS one year ago. Photos from the event here.

Before you get a pet, watch this vid.

Memphis Police Department reportedly shoots a lot of dogs (for example, this dog). The new director of the Memphis Animal Shelter is hoping to work with police to get them additional training on the issue.

Two Boxer mixes remain jailed in Brampton, Ontario on the grounds that they are Pitbulls. The community has rallied in support of the owners and their pets.

A Granny in North Dakota has started a petition to ban Pitbulls in her town. Her grandson owns 3 Pitbulls. German Shepherds may be tossed in as well. Her daughter owns 3 German Shepherds. Rottweilers are on the hit list too although the article doesn’t say who in Granny’s family might own 3 of those.

Yellow Tail wine will make its donations elsewhere in future after backlash from $100k donation to HSUS

Reader Valerie sent me a link to the gloriously named PETApotty (yes, we’re all 9 years old)

Changes at Marion Co Animal Shelter in SC

Some of you may remember when a South Carolina politician, Kent Williams, adopted a German Shepherd bitch from the Marion Co Animal Shelter in order to breed her (in violation of state law). In 2008, after the bitch was left to roam the streets regularly and while in heat, she became pregnant and Senator Williams decided he didn’t want to deal with the problem he created so called Animal Control to pick her up when she was due to whelp. As this story unfolded, it shed light on the terrible conditions at the shelter.

A group called Paws to the Rescue took over the shelter from the county in October 2008:

Before Paws to the Rescue took over for the county, the shelter had no heat, animals turned in to the shelter were disappearing and often, they were left with no food or water.


The group has installed heaters in the dog runs and cat room, improved the living conditions for the animals turned in and provided medical care such as vaccinations and spaying and neutering of all cats and dogs adopted from the shelter. All dogs are tested for heartworm, and emergency care and treatment can begin right at the shelter if local veterinarians’ offices are closed.

Adult dogs and puppies are now kept separately to help guard against the risk of illnesses such as Parvo. The adult dogs are also allowed outside to play in large grassy areas while their kennels are cleaned every day.

“Mentally that’s very good for the dogs,” [executive director Jen] Nall said. “It keeps them from going cage crazy.”

The group also keeps male and female dogs separated to guard against fighting and more unwanted puppies.

Paws to the Rescue has also been able to team up with several rescue groups through out the county to transport dogs to shelters that have adopters waiting to provide homes for the unwanted animals. This weekend they will transport 20 dogs and puppies to rescues in the Northeast.

Volunteer Irene Miller uses Web sites such as PetFinder.com and Facebook to spread the word about the animals available for adoption from the shelter.
“I Facebook, I Tweet, I foster dogs,” Miller said. “I’ll do anything I can.”

All sounds good. But the article also goes over the shelter’s 2009 kill numbers:

“We brought in 2,700 animals last year, which is two and one half the amount we thought we’d bring in,” Nall said. “We were able to get 750 either adopted or to rescue.”

That’s a kill rate of roughly 73%. I hope the community works with the shelter in 2010 in order to dramatically decrease the kill rate. So many positive changes have taken place already but if the end result is that nearly 3 out of every 4 pets entering the shelter wind up in the landfill, that’s not “change we can believe in”.

As for Senator Kent Williams, he won re-election in 2008 and his current term ends in 2012.

Be Seeing You, Daddy

Daddy, Cesar Millan’s beloved Pitbull, has died at the age of 16. This is a time to pay respects to a truly awesome dog, the human-canine bond that was so evident to everyone and all the good public education Cesar and Daddy did for the breed. Shame on those who are using Daddy’s death to take jabs at Cesar Millan’s training techniques.

Thank you Cesar for sharing this special dog with us. Be seeing you, Daddy.

Seeking BFF

I was just checking back on NC’s Alexander Co shelter site to see if the senior dog who looked like she had just whelped a litter was still listed. She isn’t although the 2 puppies still are. I wonder what happened to her.

While browsing the listings, I came across this dog (pictured) who is listed as a “Hound mix” but looks like a Pointer to me, albeit an emaciated one. He was picked up as a stray and put up for adoption on February 17 after no one claimed him. I bet he’d be a nice pet.

You Can’t Reject the Internet

Mike Fry received a heads up in January that the Spring issue of The American Dog Magazine contained an article addressing no kill and mandatory spay-neuter:

After reading the article in question, I requested an opportunity to write a rebuttal in the next issue. The publisher agreed and the rebuttal was written. Upon submission, however, the article was rejected, with the publisher simply stating this was not what they had agreed to publish.

You can read the rebuttal here.

Another Cat Killer Gets No Jail Time

Remember this guy’s name. I think we’ll be hearing from him again.

Raymond Bagaybagayan […] pleaded guilty in Rolling Meadows [IL] branch court to animal torture.

The 22 year old man beat 2 cats so severely last year they had to be euthanized. A third cat “suffered injuries after he sprayed a lime dissolving liquid in its face”. The sentence? Probation and community service. As I say, we’ll be hearing this name again – probably sooner rather than later.

Shelter Pets – What’s Your Goal?

This is a continuation of the discussion in the following posts on KC Dog Blog and One Bark at a Time:

No Kill Communities vs No Kill Shelters — and why confusing the two endangers the movement

No-kill: it can’t be impossible if someone’s already doing it

I want to live in a no kill nation.

Sounds like a simple enough statement. But of course it isn’t because – it seems like lately anyway – nothing is.

To achieve a no kill nation, we would need the cooperation of every community in the country. These will include such diverse groups as Animal Control outfits who routinely shoot homeless pets in secret, pet haters who would prefer to see every pet in the country killed rather than one homeless pet saved, and animal advocates. It’s that last group that may be the most challenging.

Even if we eliminate the wingnuts like PETA, who claim to be animal advocates but actually operate a pet slaughterhouse, there is a lot of disagreement about how to move forward. And unlike the previously mentioned groups, it is animal advocates whom we must rely upon to do most of the heavy lifting which makes cooperation essential. Animal advocates must do much more than simply stop standing in the way – we must act as a cohesive force. That doesn’t mean we can’t have different views and employ a variety of methods. But it does require a basic agreement on the core principle: We do not kill healthy/treatable pets – we save them.

So what do I mean by “save”? Those opposed to no kill are quick to say that we would stuff every pet in America into a cage and leave them in an abandoned building until they die. But this is just flash talk to distract people from the truth – no one wants any pet to live his entire life in a cage. When I say save, I mean that ideally, I’d like to see that pet in a home, living as a family member. And I further recognize that not every pet is going to get a home, for various reasons. So to my way of thinking, we are still saving those pets if we can provide them a reasonable quality of life which includes adequate shelter, daily human interaction, outdoor exercise (for dogs), appropriate veterinary care and sufficient food.

Some pet advocates are opposed to the term no kill and prefer to use “low kill”. It’s important to define what we mean by the word kill with regard to shelter pets. To me, if we humanely end the suffering of a medically hopeless pet by the gentlest method veterinary medicine offers, that is euthanasia – a kindness we offer to our pets. If we end the life of a pet who is not suffering and medically hopeless, that is killing – and I’m opposed to that. By those definitions, I am not for “low kill” because that means some adoptable shelter pets are being killed. I am for no kill and on that point, I can’t see any compromise. My goal is to save every healthy/treatable shelter pet. Every single one.

If you are an animal advocate, please share your goals and principles with regard to shelter pets. I’d really like to hear and hopefully generate some brain food for thought.


I didn’t watch Westminster on TV so I don’t know if this made the live broadcast or if it happened during a commercial break but:

Two protestors from the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals were hauled out of the center ring and charged with criminal trespass, according to The Associated Press, after interrupting the main event by holding up signs reading “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs.”

Breeders don’t kill shelter dogs. PETA does. I’d like to put the number of shelter pets PETA has killed in the last 10 years on a protest sign and get on national TV but I doubt I could hold up such an immense sign.