Nashville’s Faux Rescue of 38 Dogs Represents Years of Failure

Bad:  Earlier this month, Metro police in Nashville arrested six people in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.  While raiding the home of Michael A. Davis, one of the six charged, police discovered dozens of chained pitbull type dogs in the yard.  Some of the dogs were emaciated and others had open wounds (photos of the dogs here).  In addition, police found items often associated with dogfighting including canine treadmills, syringes, and a rape rack.  WSMV reports that 38 dogs were transferred to the Nashville pound last Tuesday as a result of the raid.

Worse:  The night of the seizure, five of the “rescued” dogs, all of whom were apparently unsupervised, were involved in a fight which erupted after two of them got loose.  One dog was killed, another was seriously injured and the other three sustained minor injuries.  After the needless death and suffering on the rescuers’ (non-existent) watch, officials decided it might be a good idea to supervise the dogs 24 hours a day.

Worst:  After the seizure, the county “discovered” that people had been begging the Nashville pound to help the dogs chained at the Davis home for years.  As far back as 2010 and as recently as 2013, citizens had been reporting that Davis’s dogs were being neglected and possibly used for fighting.  The county was “concerned with the lack of documentation of these complaints” and will investigate itself in the matter.  In the meantime, two of the pound’s ACOs are being paid to not work during the investigation.

This waggy dog, shown on the website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

This waggy dog, shown on the website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

It sounds as if these dogs could have been rescued – for real, not the fake kind where they end up dead and injured the night they get “saved” – years ago if the Nashville pound had been doing its job.  Unfortunately, Nashville has long considered its “job” to be killing and if the dogs had been rescued in response to the previous complaints, they likely would have been killed under Nashville’s only recently modified Kill Them All pitbull policy.  Tragically, this way too late botched rescue is probably the best these abuse victims could hope for in Nashville.

(Thanks Karen and Clarice for the links.)

Buffalo Seizes Four Dogs from City Employee, Loses One

In December 2013, Shanon Richardson was arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in connection with allegations of dogfighting.  Four pitbulls were seized from his home:

Police accused Richardson of failure to provide proper shelter for two of the dogs. There was also evidence of training or breeding dogs to fight, including a treadmill in the basement of the home and “weights for the animals necks.

Bite sticks, hormone growth pills, needles with injectable fluids, which was used and intended to use for training, preparations, conditioning,” according to court documents.

Earlier this month, one of the four seized dogs being held at the city shelter was stolen:

A volunteer at the Buffalo Animal Shelter told News 4′s Lou Raguse the missing dog was being kept in a section of the shelter accessible to the public.

Richardson is currently suspended from his job with the city of Buffalo and ordered to have no contact with animals.  A plea deal was rumored to be in the works which would allow Richardson to plead to lesser charges.  The case was slated to go to a grand jury and no additional updates appear to be available.  Police are reportedly investigating how the missing dog was lost on the city shelter’s watch.

Instant Karma in South Carolina

An investigation by the Florence County sheriff’s office led to a vacant lot in a wooded area last weekend.  Authorities found a dogfighting ring along with firearms and cocaine.  The eight manly-men who were allegedly participating in the event tried to scurry off but were apprehended by police, with an assist from an unlikely candidate:

A pit bull was turned over to environmental services, while the other canine escaped after attacking one of the fleeing suspects.

I hope, since the guy was running away, he got bit in the ass.

No word on the status of the one dog who was seized.  I hope both dogs wind up in the care of compassionate people.

Nine Dogs Not-Rescued by Broward Co Pound

On August 26, this was the headline on the Ft. Lauderdale ABC affiliate’s website:

Broward animal shelter, cops save dogs from suspected dog fighting ring – Investigation continues; Dogs to be rehabilitated

Eleven female mixed breed dogs were reportedly found in rough shape, living in sub-standard conditions at a Broward County home. The owner was arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.

With names like Princess, Sugar and Cinnamon, these loving Pit bulls are now safe and protected at Broward Animal Care.

On August 28, the ABC affiliate followed up with an equally optimistic report:

Trainers rehab dogs rescued from alleged dog fighting ring

That piece included an interview with animal advocate Dahlia Canes:

“It kills me, it pains me, to see these dogs in the wrong hands.”

It turns out, the wrong hands in this case were those of Broward Co AC where nine of the eleven dogs were ultimately killed. The reporter returned to Dahlia Canes who brings the enabling:

“Unfortunately, for numerous reasons — including lack of space at the shelter and no rescues coming forth, no adopters coming forth — the rest of them had to be humanely euthanized,” Canes said.

Lack of space does not trump a dog’s right to live. Blaming the public for the killing done by the pound is straight out of the Enabler’s Handbook. And using the words “humanely euthanized” to described the violent betrayal of these dogs by those who are supposed to be protecting them is just enabler icing on the bullshit cake.

I wish the ABC affiliate would go back and change those headlines.  Nine of the eleven dogs were not “saved”, nor were they “rescued”.  They weren’t “safe and protected” at the Broward Co pound.  Tragically, nine of the dogs were better off in the hands of the original owner – and he was charged with animal cruelty.  But the dogs were at least alive then and the hope that they could be truly rescued by compassionate people who would respect their right to live was alive as well.  Now there is no such hope, courtesy of the Broward Co pound and its enablers.

Where there is life, there is hope. Killing is not rescue.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Hundreds of Dogs Seized in Multi-State Dogfighting Bust

Several of you have sent in links pertaining to the recent multi-state seizure of 367 dogs in connection with a dogfighting bust.  And almost everyone who did also asked the question:  What will happen to the dogs?

Since the ASPCA and HSUS are involved, I will speculate based on past performance:  Already overburdened rescue groups will be tasked with saving many of these dogs, forcing them to stretch their meager resources even further and to create space where none currently exists.  Local dogs in need of rescue will be displaced.   ASPCA and/or HSUS will probably leave some of the dogs at pet killing facilities under cover of night and will never reveal what happened to the dogs.  But none of this will occur until after ASPCA and HSUS feel they have sufficient video and photos of the dogs featuring people dressed in logo’d attire, for future exploitation purposes aimed at suckering compassionate animal lovers into padding their enormous bank accounts.

In short, the only ones likely to come out of this situation in the WIN column are those who get their paychecks from ASPCA and HSUS.  For everyone else involved, both human and canine, it’s a crapshoot, at best.

13 Pitbulls Killed in New Mexico Pound

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.)


Representative Steve King Derails the Crazy Train

One of our many Congressional nutters here in the U.S. is Rep. Steve King (R-IA). During a recent tele-town hall, he made a comment about dogfighting that naturally got picked up by various media outlets. This is what he said:

When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.

In fairness, I don’t think he intended to indicate support of legalized dogfighting, as some have interpreted the remark.  Rather, I chalked it up to yet another asinine comment from a moronic hater.  I didn’t intend to blog about it DOT DOT DOT

But then he came out with this “clarification” of the animal fighting remarks and I just sort of didn’t feel like giving him a pass anymore:

By the way, in case any kiddie rapists are paying attention, what Rep. King says is “not against the law in the United States of America” is in fact totally and completely against the law in the United States of America. I would not recommend anyone use the Steve King Defense at trial.

Genesee Co, MI: Killing is Not Rescue

On Tuesday, the Genesee Co Sheriff’s Department and Genesee Co ACOs seized 28 Pitbulls from two homes in Flint, MI. Both homes were apparently owned by the same person and authorities allege the properties were being used to breed and train dogs for fighting:

[Genesee County Animal Control Director Walt] Rodabaugh said the dogs were transported back to the animal shelter where they will be inspected by a veterinarian.

Photo from the website which appeared with this caption: “A tranquilized pitbull is taken to an Genesee County Animal Control van while being seized from a house on Seneca Street in Flint on Tuesday. The Sheriff’s Department and Genesee County Animal Control officers took 29 pitbulls from two houses suspected of dog fighting.”

See more photos here.

On Thursday, it was reported that every single one of the 28 seized dogs had been killed due to “viciousness”.  Was this the result of the inspections by the vet or did someone else deem these 28 dogs dangers to society with no hope of rehabilitation?  Whatever the case, one day is not enough time to properly evaluate the dogs.  One day is not enough time for the dogs to recover from the traumatic experience of the seizure, never mind whatever they might have endured previously.  One day is not enough time to exhaust all reasonable options for rehabilitation/training.  The only thing one day is enough time for is killing.

Killing is not rescue.  These dogs were better off with the alleged dogfighter.  At least then there was a hope that they could be rescued by someone willing to help them transition to normal lives as pets or failing that, get them to sanctuary.  Now there is no hope.

Photo from the website which appeared with this caption: “The arm of Genesee County Animal Control Director Walt Rodabaugh shows bite marks on his left arm as he removes a pitbull from a home on Seneca Street Flint’s north end. Some of the animals had to be tranquilized so the could safely be removed.”

See more photos here.

Chris Brown’s Latest “Performance”

Celebrity singer Chris Brown is a violent convicted felon. Domestic violence often stems from a male preying upon a female he perceives as unable to defend herself against his brutality.  It’s not surprising that there is a well established link between domestic violence and animal abuse – in both cases the victims are chosen for their vulnerability.

Chris Brown is currently on probation for beating up a former (?) girlfriend.  If I was his probation officer, I’d be checking out his latest online venture:  selling Pitbull puppies who come with a “four generation performance pedigree”.  For those unfamiliar with dog pedigrees, they trace the puppy’s family tree and, in the case of dogs bred for a specific purpose, the ancestors’ accomplishments are listed next to their names.  For example, a puppy bred for dog shows will include designations in the pedigree such as BIS (Best in Show) and CH (Champion) next to the names of ancestors who have achieved these performance titles.  Likewise, animal abusers who force dogs to fight in organized illegal dogfighting rings include dogs’ win records in the pedigrees of puppies being sold for dogfighting.  Since dogfighting is a crime in every state in the country, the pedigrees containing the dogs’ fight records are often advertised as “performance pedigrees”.

I have no idea what sort of “performance” records the dogs in Chris Brown’s puppy pedigrees have.  Maybe they are all AKC obedience title winners or top weight pull competitors or some combination of other ‘performance’ events.  I’m not saying that, based on this online puppy selling, Chris Brown appears to be a dogfighter or has any connections to the world of dogfighting.  What I’m saying is that I hope his probation officer is exercising due diligence and looking into the matter.

County Prosecutor in MS Drops the Ball on Dogfighting Case

On September 26, 2011, sheriff’s deputies in Adams Co, MS responded to a tip about dogfighting.  At the scene, they found 5 chained Pitbulls with injuries, blood on the leaves on the ground, a bloody breakstick and medications for treating dog wounds.  Photographs of the injuries and of the scene were taken for evidence.  The dogs were removed from the scene by members of the county humane society to a local vet clinic.  One of the dogs had his face partially ripped off and another dog’s tooth embedded in his gum.  The embedded tooth caused a systemic infection which lead to organ failure and the dog was euthanized.  (Warning:  There is a photo of this dog’s face at the link.)  The remaining dogs were left at the clinic for treatment and boarding to the tune of a $3000 vet bill.

Shortly thereafter, two area men were arrested and charged with felony dogfighting.  One of the men reportedly admitted he was the owner of the dogs.

A preliminary hearing was held for the men yesterday.  The county prosecutor subpoenaed two sheriff’s deputies to testify as to what they saw at the scene of the suspected dogfight.  Nobody told the sheriff about the hearing.  Nobody told the humane society staffers about the hearing either so they did not testify as to what they witnessed nor were they able to present the veterinary records on the dogs.  One of the deputies said he thought he had told the prosecutor there were evidence photos in the case file but the prosecutor said he didn’t know about any photos so none were presented to the judge.  The man who had previously confessed to owning the dogs apparently changed his wording at the hearing to characterizing them as hunting dogs.

In the absence of physical evidence, the judge dismissed the case.  She ruled that there was no probable cause that dogfighting had occurred at the scene or that the suspects had committed the crime.  She also said that the deputy’s description of the dogs’ injuries was just his layman’s opinion.

It sounds to me as if the prosecutor invested minimal, if any, effort in this case.  By failing to contact all the relevant witnesses, secure expert veterinary testimony, and inquire to the sheriff about all available evidence obtained at the scene, the prosecutor had this case stumbling at the starting gate.  I hope he gets his act together and seeks justice for the victims of this sad crime.  There is a glimmer of hope:

The case can still be presented to the grand jury for review, and District Attorney Ronnie Harper said he met with the sheriff and is reviewing any action, if any, he can take in the case.

I’d like to think the DA has taken the county prosecutor to the woodshed on this and that we’ll see the case move forward with a grand jury presentment soon.