Former MAS director and current Bernalillo Co Animal Services director Matt Pepper recently explained to a local TV news reporter why he killed 13 Pitbulls seized from an area residence:
“If you look at the conditions in which they were kept, and you look at their behavior you can understand why, why they had the significant aggression that they had,” said Matt Pepper with Bernalillo County Animal Services.
The contention here appears to be that the 13 Pitbulls had to be taken from the owner because they were being kept in terrible conditions and then they had to be killed because they had become aggressive as a result of the conditions. Oh and they were allegedly being used for dogfighting.
The owner’s landlord and neighbor says the owner is from Cuba, where he worked as a veterinarian. He says the former vet took care of his dog once after he had gotten into a fight. And he would put his life on the fact that the owner was not fighting dogs.
But hey, we can’t know anything for certain based on one man’s opinion. So let’s look at the evidence:
Veterinary medical supplies and something else point to a dog fighting ring.
“Maybe a foot long to 18 inch piece of wood that they use if the dogs are fighting to open up the jaws,” said Pepper.
M’kaaaay. So the former vet had veterinary medical supplies. And pieces of wood.
All responsible Pitbull owners should keep breaksticks at hand in case of emergency. But not every “piece of wood” lying around someone’s property is a breakstick. And the presence of breaksticks do not necessarily indicate criminal dogfighting.
The fact that the dogs were killed without the benefit of an evaluation and opportunity for behavior modification training (if warranted) by qualified individuals means there is no evidence remaining to support or refute the allegations of dogfighting. So we can not look to the 13 dogs for evidence since they were never given a chance.
But there was another dog seized from the owner – a 14 year old Doberman. That dog is still alive. I don’t know any specifics on the health of that dog but anyone who can keep a Doberman alive to the age of 14 is probably doing something right.
I can’t help but wonder if this was a case where the dogs could have been sheltered in place while authorities worked with the owner to improve conditions at the residence. However poor the living conditions may have been there, the dogs were alive, which is more than can be said now.
A judge has until tomorrow to indict the owner on animal cruelty charges. The investigation is ongoing. Tragically, there will be no investigation or cruelty charges against those responsible for killing the 13 dogs. Because they’re the good guys. Right?
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)