There are only two things certain in life, as the saying goes, and a byproduct of one of them requires nonprofit organizations to file paperwork with the IRS. So now that the deceptively named ‘Humane Society‘ of the United States (HSUS) has submitted its "Form 990" for 2008, we thought it was time to take a close look. The tax filing itself is a bit more detailed than ones in the past, thanks to some new IRS rules. And more detail equals a clearer picture of exactly what HSUS is doing -- and what it's not doing -- with all its money. [Click here to view the full document.]
HSUS reported spending almost $20 million on ‘campaigns, legislation, and litigation‘’enough to worry any livestock farmer or hunter looking to keep their chosen lifestyle alive. The group collected over $86 million in contributions, and spent more than $24 million on fundraising, including $4 million on professional fundraisers. Think about it: 28 cents of every dollar contributed to HSUS goes back out the door to raise more money. HSUS even paid a single ‘lockbox‘ company more than $4.2 million to count and process its cash hauls. We won’t comment on that company’s curious "ALF" initials (for Arizona Lockbox & Fulfillment).
The bottom line is the same as it ever was: HSUS rakes in millions from unsuspecting Americans who may confuse the animal rights group with an unaffiliated local humane society. And with all this cash flying around, it’s no surprise that 41 HSUS employees made at least $100,000 last year. All told, HSUS paid out over $30.9 million in salaries, wages, and other employee compensation.
HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle earned more than $250,000 in salary and benefits in 2008. We wouldn’t begrudge him a large salary, of course: He runs an animal-rights business ‘charity,‘ after all.
But the real trouble lies in where most HSUS money doesn’t go: to pet shelters. In contrast with the group’s extravagant spending on people, HSUS’s total grant allocation was less than $4.7 million. And of that, almost half went to a political campaign committee called ‘Californians for Humane Farms,‘ the main lobbying organization responsible for California’s ‘Proposition 2‘ ballot initiative.
For all the cute pictures of puppies and kitties on HSUS paraphernalia, you’d think it would operate a pet shelter, or at least give a substantial portion of its money to one. But HSUS has lobbying to do, a PETA-inspired agenda to push, meat eaters to stigmatize, and livestock farmers to put out to pasture. Lobbying? Oh, yes. HSUS takes four full pages to detail its lobbying activities on the state and federal levels.
With all the politicking going on, the animals’remember them?’seem to get lost in the shuffle. We added up the totals, and HSUS gave only a little more than $450,000’that’s just half of one percent of its total budget’in grants to organizations providing hands-on care to dogs and cats. That’s less than 11 percent of what it paid ‘ALF‘ (see above) just to count its money.
We’re musing today about HSUS’s next big self-marketing blitz, and some new slogans it might want to use. Our favorite? ‘HSUS: Feed the lawyers, save the fundraisers, screw the pets.‘
Pa.'s high court rejects SPCA's claim of immunity from lawsuit
Dec. 30, 2009 By Mark Scolforo Associated Press
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not qualify as a state agency and so cannot claim immunity from a lawsuit over the euthanization of a woman's dogs, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
The court ruled unanimously that the nonprofit group is not entitled to the defense of sovereign or governmental immunity despite its work enforcing state animal-control laws.
The SPCA appealed after a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury awarded Laila Snead about $155,000 in a case that began with the January 1999 seizure of about a dozen dogs from what court records described as an abandoned home.
An SPCA officer reported there were 13 dogs, according to a lower-court ruling in the matter, but Snead maintains that there were only 12 dogs and that she was staying in the home off and on at the time.
All but one of the dogs were pit bulls, and the SPCA officer said several of the dogs were wounded and emaciated, according to a July 2007 Superior Court opinion.
Snead showed up shortly after officers arrived and was arrested on dogfighting charges. Those charges were dropped the next day, although she later was convicted of a summary offense of animal cruelty.
Snead said that three days later, when she tried to check on her dogs at a shelter, she was told they had been put to sleep, although that didn't occur until three more days had passed. An SPCA official denied that he told her the dogs had been euthanized, but the jury sided with her.
On appeal, the state Superior Court rejected the SPCA's argument that it was immune from being sued and granted Snead attorney's fees but reversed the $100,000 punitive-damages portion of the verdict. That lower-court decision was upheld yesterday by the Supreme Court.
"The SPCA selects its own directors, who oversee it and elect its officers," Justice J. Michael Eakin wrote. "The SPCA's funding largely derives from nongovernmental sources. The SPCA cannot point to any commonwealth assets that would be at risk from any judgment against it; commonwealth resources would not be imperiled if the SPCA is exposed to legal liability."
Snead, who now lives in Reading, said she was pleased with the verdict but "all the money in the world is not going to bring my dogs back."
SPCA spokeswoman Gail Luciani said the group was disappointed with the ruling because of its far-reaching implications.
the cockers always do show some cohesion and bottom end. not to mention they manage to always come off sounding educated, unlike so many dog people. anything said here in defense of game birds could also be said in defense of game dogs. notice the ARs using the drug lingo of "gateway" now too.
Cockfighting under fire; breeders vow resistance
Gamecock businesses speak out as federal probe widens
A federal grand jury has been looking into cockfighting in South Carolina, and federal and state law officers are set soon to reveal new details of their probe.
"It's an ongoing investigation, and I expect other charges will be brought against other people, but at this point, I can't say much more," assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald said this week.
In early November, the grand jury indicted 21 people for felony animal fighting and illegal gambling at sites in Williamsburg and Lexington counties. Thirty-six others face state misdemeanor charges of attending cockfights. Last week, six people who attended events in Williamsburg County pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. More pleas are expected.
Two gamecocks, a Hatch Grey and a mixed Sweater-Radio variety, spar at a Midlands South Carolina breeding operation Friday.
Gerry Melendez /The State
But as the law cracks down on what has been a longstanding but underground practice in South Carolina, gamecock breeders are speaking up. They criticize the grand jury probe and state arrests and say the government should be spending its time and money going after real criminals - not them.
"We will fight them tooth and nail in the Legislature and in the courts - we're as game as our roosters," said Ken Richardson, 44, of Edgefield, secretary of the 700-member S.C. Gamefowl Breeders Association.
The breeders say the U.S. Attorney's Office has subpoenaed its membership list.
Federal indictments allege some members of the group attended illegal cockfights. Some were charged. Some were not. Richardson said his group exists to promote the best ways to raise gamecocks. He estimated that at least 700 South Carolinians raise the kinds of birds that historically have been fighters.
Gamecocks, or roosters, are naturally aggressive birds that will fight and kill other roosters. Gamecock breeders, who will take decades to raise the strongest, most aggressive and quickest birds, think of themselves as akin to horse breeders who try to develop fine racehorses, breeders said.
Gamefowl Association vice president Jimmy Collins of Spartanburg, along with others in the state's little-known gamecock fighting subculture, say their activity is a sport with ancient roots and have refused to cooperate with the ongoing federal grand jury investigation.
At the federal level, gamecock fighting is a felony violation of the Animal Welfare Act. In South Carolina, neither attending nor holding a cockfight is a felony.
"I took the Fifth (Amendment)," said Collins, 52, citing his constitutionally protected right not to give testimony that might be used against him in court. Others who were called before the federal grand jury also refused to testify, he said.
Collins described himself as a third-generation gamefowl breeder, following in the steps of his father and grandfather.
Federal officials declined to discuss grand jury activities, which are secret.
The indictments came after an undercover agent wearing hidden recording equipment was unmasked at a major cockfight event in Swansea.
The aggressive roosters fight at "pits," usually far from law enforcement and the public eye.
About 1,000 people around the state may attend such events, breeders estimate.
For show, the birds' needle-point-sharp natural spurs are shaved down to a stump. For fighting, they also are shaved down but are replaced with razor-sharp metal spurs.
A bird that wins three fights is called an "ace" and can bring thousands of dollars by becoming a brood rooster, just like a winning racehorse becomes a stud, breeders said.
Collins and others caught up in the ongoing investigation - as well as their lawyers - made the following points about why gamecock fighting shouldn't be targeted:
- It's hypocritical to single out cockfighting as being brutal. After all, in South Carolina, the chicken industry slaughters millions of chickens each year. Hunters kill thousands of deer and other animals each year, often in fenced-in areas. And, they argue, it's legal to raise falcons and let them hunt kittens and chickens.
"You can shoot a deer with a bow and arrow, track it for three hours while it dies, and take pictures of it," said Rauch Wise, a Greenwood lawyer who represents Collins.
- Cockfighting is educational and contributes to the state's farm economy. Breeders raise them with different colors, but a major part of raising gamecocks is devoted to the breeding of warrior strains of roosters. Moreover, gamecock breeders spend at least $1 million a year on chicken feed and coop equipment, Collins said.
- It's part of South Carolina's culture. American Revolutionary War hero Thomas Sumter was known as the "Carolina gamecock."
Indeed, records show gamecock fighting was practiced by the state's leading families. The bird remains a highly visible symbol of the University of South Carolina, one of whose emblems is a rooster wearing death-dealing metal spurs.
Around 1900, gamecock fighting was legal in South Carolina and practiced at the annual State Fair, according to records in the South Caroliniana Library and USC archives.
In 1902, the USC football team beat Clemson, and someone made a cartoon showing a rooster crowing over a defeated Clemson Tiger. The State newspaper bestowed the tag "Game Cocks" on the team, and the nickname stuck. Around 1917, the General Assembly made gamecock fighting illegal.
In 1965, former State Sen. James H. Hammond, D-Richland, a noted gamefowl breeder who lived in Forest Acres, donated his collection of spurs to USC. For some years, part of the collection was on display in a building housing the football team, but around the late 1970s, the items were taken to USC's McKissick Museum, where they are today.
Hammond liked to say true cruelty to animals consists of "baiting a hook through the innards of a worm" and using that to snare unsuspecting fish, "but if you put a fighting gamecock in the ring, all you are doing is allowing him to fulfill his life's ambition," said Terry Lipscomb, a USC archivist who is sorting through Hammond's papers.
Lacy Ford, chairman of USC's history department, noted gamecock fighting is universal.
"Cockfighting has been a blood-sport that was popular, particularly among men, in rural cultures all around the world," Ford said.
It was "pushed underground" in South Carolina in the last century, he said.
S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, who with U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins is targeting the practice, said he didn't know how many cockfighters are in South Carolina, but said they are "widespread." (...) Mike Daniel, a former lieutenant governor in the 1980s, is a lawyer and informal consultant to the S.C. Gamefowl Breeders.
"I've known many, many of these people for years," said Daniel, of Gaffney, long known for its cockfighting activity. "Everybody I know is a fine, God-fearing person. Is cockfighting for everyone? No. But neither is bare-knuckle fighting."
McMaster has scheduled a press conference for late next week with Wilkins to reveal new information in the probe.
Meanwhile, a bill pending in the Legislature would make cockfighting a felony and increase the penalties for watching what its sponsors call a "gateway blood-sport."
South Carolina's laws were toughened several years ago, but the state still is one of just 15 that treats cockfighting as a misdemeanor - and the only one on the East Coast after Virginia changed its laws in 2008.
Cockfighters and their defenders say law enforcement certainly should have more important things - such as terrorists - to worry about.
"Isn't it ironic," notes Wise, Collins' attorney, "that in a state that has a fighting gamecock for the mascot of its public university, that gamecocks can't fight?"
57 dogs taken, 28 supposedly remain. these folks over there seem to be incredibly incompetent on a lot of levels. I talked to Floyd last night and broached the idea of a class action. I've also gathered some legal referrals and would love to see the ACLU or some other similar group assist these folks who are terrorized by LE/ARs in making a class action constitutional challenge to these unlawful warrants and/or seizures.
UPDATES 12-09 notice the number of remaining dogs keeps dropping.
Scott brothers get dogs back after dog fighting case dropped
Dec 16, 2009
By ABC-7 Reporter Jill Galus
Las Cruces, New Mexico - The dog fighting case - dropped. And the canines - picked up.
The reunion made possible after New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled the search warrant in the case illegal.
Eddie, China, Ginger - cage to cage, Daron and Duryea Scott claimed a dozen of their pitbulls Tuesday.
But some confusion created a trail of sticky paws for the brothers at the Mesilla Valley Animal Services Center.
"There are 12 dogs we're going to get back today and between four properties, 43 dogs that are missing," Duryea Scott said. "We know by reports that some were stolen, some were lost, some were given back to people who came into the animal shelter and given to the wrong people by mistake."
Police seized dozens of pitbulls from four different properties owned by the duo more than two years ago.
The Mesilla Valley Animal Services Center has since housed the dogs.
The Scott brothers faced several counts of dog fighting and animal cruelty charges.
Last month, all charges dropped when the searched warrant deemed improperly obtained.
And the reunion was free of charge for the Scotts.
Officials with Animal Control initially claimed, the Scotts had a 30-day window to pick up the dogs.
And since it is past the month mark, the brothers were told they would be charged.
"Why should I have to pay for dogs that you illegally took," Daron Scott said.
Animal Control officials say, it is a matter of miscommunication.
"I don't know whose issue it is - is it their issue, is it our issue," Curtis Childress said. "So we're just gonna forgo any fees to that point."
The Scotts scheduled to pick up eight more of their pitbulls next Tuesday.
These other eight did not go home today because five are at another facility and three are still in foster care.
LAS CRUCES -- Pit bulls seized more than two years ago from twin brothers Daron and Duryea Scott of El Paso will be returned to them over the next two weeks, said the DoÃ±a Ana County-Las Cruces animal shelter director last week.
Of the 18 dogs housed at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, 10 are scheduled to be picked up by the Scotts on Tuesday, shelter director Beth Vesco-Mock said late Friday. They'll get the remaining animals a week later, she said.
Charges that the Scotts had used the animals for dog fighting were dropped last month, after the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling that a search warrant had been obtained improperly. As a result, the evidence seized in the case remained suppressed in the case.
District Judge Lisa Schultz on Nov. 10 ordered that the state return the dogs within 30 days.
Apparently up until mid-afternoon Friday, when the dogs would be returned was still up in the air.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Riedel said a condition on the court order was that the animals be returned only when the Scotts could show they wouldn't be violating any ordinances by possessing the dogs. For instance, she said, the city of Las Cruces and Do-a Ana County restrict the total number of animals a person can have.
But Riedel said sheriff's department investigator Robyn Gojkovich, who's handling the release of the dogs, hadn't heard from the Scotts until Friday. She said the owner of seized property is responsible for claiming it, once a case is over.
"I think everybody is trying to work together to make sure these animals are properly cared for," she said. "Returning evidence that's a live animal is not as easy as returning evidence that's a bunch of papers."
Around 1 p.m. the same day, Jose Coronado of Las Cruces, attorney for Duryea Scott, said he wasn't certain how long it might take before the animals were transferred. He said the delay stemmed from "some issue with coordinating the right people to meet -- Robyn Gojkovich to meet with the Scotts."
In addition to the dogs, Coronado said investigators also must return documents taken from the Scotts' homes.
The animals were initially seized from four properties, two in El Paso and two in Chaparral, in August 2007. The Scotts have maintained the dogs were part of a show dog breeding operation.
Vesco-Mock said the 18 dogs, being housed one per cage because of their aggressiveness toward other dogs, have been taking up valuable shelter space. News that the animals are being returned is welcome, she said.
"It will do a lot; it will open up 18 runs for us to house more adoptable animals," she said. "It helps out greatly."
Authorities are keeping about a dozen dogs from the case at an undisclosed location.
The Scotts in August filed a lawsuit against county officials and prosecutors contending their civil rights were violated because a number of their dogs have been lost or mistakenly killed while in the custody of law enforcement, which is documented in a police report. In the complaint, they contend just 17 of the 57 dogs seized remain in the county's custody.
The lawsuit was filed in state court, but it has since been moved to federal court.
Dog-fighting case against Scott brothers dismissed
By Diana M. Alba
LAS CRUCES -- A state judge has dismissed the criminal case against twin brothers Daron and Duryea Scott of El Paso, who were accused of running a dog fighting breeding operation in Chaparral.
Third Judicial District Judge Lisa Schultz on Tuesday dismissed the charges -- 50 combined counts of dog fighting, animal cruelty and conspiracy -- with prejudice, meaning prosecutors can't refile the case.
Daron Scott, who has maintained all along that their dogs were part of a show animal breeding operation, said Wednesday that he and his brother's reputations have been harmed because they were improperly charged. He said it unfairly led to the loss of his job as a teacher with the Gadsden Independent School District and he's been turned down for other jobs since.
"I just want my name back," he said.
The grounds for the dismissal were based on a state Court of Appeals decision in September upholding a decision by a District Court judge to suppress all evidence in the case.
And without the evidence -- including dogs, photographs and other information gathered from them -- there's no case, said Susan Riedel, chief deputy attorney for the 3rd Judicial District in Las Cruces. Had the Scotts' attorneys not filed the motion to dismiss the case, Riedel said she would have.
"The court has suppressed all my evidence so there was no basis to go forward," she said. "The case couldn't proceed under any circumstances."
In February, 3rd Judicial District Judge Douglas Driggers ruledthat the warrant was improperly obtained. Do-a Ana County sheriff's investigator Robyn Gojkovich in August 2007 telephonically secured a search warrant for the seizure of pit bulls from the two Chaparral properties being rented by the Scotts. Questions arose about whether she entirely read the support documentation for the warrant to the judge, a requirement, and whether the telephonic approval was valid.
Prosecutors appealed Driggers' decision, but it was reaffirmed by the state appeals court.
Also Tuesday, Schultz ordered that the state return the dogs within 30 days to the Scotts.
Exactly how many dogs will be returned is unclear.
The Scotts in August filed a lawsuit against county officials and prosecutors contending their civil rights were violated because a number of their dogs have been lost or mistakenly killed while in the custody of law enforcement, which is documented in a police report. In the complaint, they contend just 17 of the 57 dogs seized remain in the county's custody.
The lawsuit was filed in state court, but it has since been moved to federal court.
Daron Scott repeated his concerns Wednesday about the missing dogs, especially considering the charges against he and his brother have been dismissed.
"You cannot get rid of evidence, unless we were convicted," he said. "This is about unlawfully taking animals."
Riedel said Duryea Scott relinquished ownership of some of the animals after they were seized. She said as of October, 28 dogs were alive and in the custody of the state.
"I don't have any reason to believe that we don't have 28 dogs," she said.
Riedel said the Scotts don't claim ownership of some of the dogs that the state says belong to them, something that must be resolved before the animals are given back. Plus, she said the district attorney's office wants to make sure the Scotts are in compliance with county animal permitting rules, before handing them over.
edit 12/30: I am aware that the formatting of the board has been screwing up in IE. try firefox, it's much better! I'll be trying to get it all fixed but I probably won't have time til tomorrow.
edit: 1/1: now it's really happy new year! ;)
I wanted to let everyone know I am going to start allowing sign ups on the main part of the site in the next couple/few days. I'm in the process installing a new links component that will allow a lot more user participation in maintaining them and logged in users are part of that. thanks for using Gamedogs.org and may you and your dogs have a great 2010!
Well, as you can see my site was totally fucked up for more than a week while my TERRIBLE old hosting company webhostingpad first had a server go out then screwed me around for a few days before telling me the newest backup they could come up with was more than a year old. I had been slowly working on some new site designs for the last couple months but this prompted my marathon re-installation of the site. I've already made a few improvements and have several more on the way.
as to all the board posts, new members, kennel submission, etc from the last 2+ months, well, they're gone. At least it wasn't too awful much since I had been pretty busy with the new usdo website and hadn't gotten too much done here. if you signed up, posted or anything else since hallowe'en you need to do it again.
of course the rest of the site will be coming back up over the next few days or so. and if you encounter any errors let me know, I am sure there will be some bugs as this was quite a big move and process.
I hope you all like the new look and layout and features.
Here are some selections from varying news sources. it appears that the decision won't come for months but it does seem that his conviction, which has already been overturned by the Federal Appeals Court and which is what is being reviewed, will remain overturned as un-Constitutionally overly broad and a violation of Bob Stevens' First Amendment Right to free speech and expression. this is another great hero here who had the guts to take it all the way and fight for all of our rights to remain untrampled by nazi-like h$u$ hysteria against thought/speech "crimes".Even Ginsburg and Breyer seem not to favor the "humane" society driven government position on this. these are highlights I liked of many articles.
The case is about dogfighting videos, but critics argue that it could apply to anything from photos in Field and Stream magazine or hunting videos, to Arnold Schwarzenegger punching a camel in Conan the Barbarian.
The law, however, has broad language. It makes it a crime to possess or sell any depiction of animal cruelty ’ specifically the killing, wounding, torturing or mutilation of an animal ’ as long as the conduct is illegal in the place where the prosecution is brought.
Stevens appealed his conviction, contending that the animal cruelty depiction law is unconstitutional, and a federal appeals court agreed. The court said the law was written so broadly that it could lead to up to five years imprisonment for selling a video featuring bullfighting in Spain, where it is legal, or hunting or fishing out of season in the U.S.
"The whole point of the Constitution is that it's not supposed to change just because a majority in Congress decides that it no longer thinks these images are, on balance, worthwhile," Millett says. "That's a pretty empty First Amendment, and it's never been the First Amendment that we've had in this country."
And indeed, films considerably more gruesome than the Stevens videos are on the humane society Web site to illustrate that dogfighting is reprehensible. That leads critics to argue that Stevens wasn't prosecuted because of his video, but because of his viewpoint(pitchick's emphasis) and the notion that despite his disclaimers, he was promoting dogfighting.
"I don't know that hunting videos can be guaranteed that their image will be decided by a jury somewhere in the country to have serious value. Hunting is banned in the District of Columbia," Millett says.
The NRA notes that dove hunting is illegal in 10 states, so that under this statute, dove hunting photos in magazines or on TV would also be illegal in those states.
Critics also worry that a bullfighting scene from the film The Sun Also Rises, which is based on the Hemingway novel, or the scene of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian punching a camel might someday be prosecuted as a crime.
And producers would have to spend oodles of money to convince a jury of the "serious value" of the film being prosecuted. As one lawyer puckishly put it, with Conan the Barbarian, "serious value" might be a stretch.
One of the chief sponsors of the animal cruelty statute, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), defends the bill on other grounds: He says that most serial killers started out torturing animals before they moved on to people.
"My objective here was to try to prevent the Ted Bundys and Jeffrey Dahmers and others from graduating as they did," Gallegly says.
Millett scoffs at that argument.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that the viewing of images of animals being wounded or killed causes people to become serial killers. If it did, we better ban hunting by children, too, and no one says that," Millett says.
If Congress wants to ban crush videos, she says, it can write a statute aimed specifically at that. Instead, she says, Congress, albeit it with caveats, banned all videos depicting the intentional wounding and killing of animals.
"That is using a bazooka to kill a gnat. And the First Amendment makes Congress go get the fly swatter," Millett says.
Just how the justices will react to this case promises to be interesting. There almost certainly are dog lovers on the court ’ and hunters. Indeed, Justice Antonin Scalia has a wild boar's head on the wall in his basement. It is unknown whether he used a dog to catch and hold the animal during the hunt, a commonly used technique illustrated in one of Stevens' films.
Last year, a federal appeals court, citing freedom of speech, struck down a law against selling videos with scenes of animal cruelty. Today, most of the justices sounded unwilling to revive that law, fearing it may be used against depictions of bullfighting or illegal hunting.
Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid hunter, insisted the 1st Amendment did not allow the government to limit speech and expression, unless it involved sex or obscenity.
"It's not up to the government to tell us what are our worst instincts," said Scalia. He repeatedly cited German dictator Adolf Hitler and his policies of extermination. Scalia asked, "Can you keep him off the screen" just because his deeds were vile?
What about "snuff films," asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The lawyer defending a Virginia man convicted of selling dog-fighting videos struggled to answer the question. She said the 1st Amendment usually protects speech and expression, even if the underlying conduct is ugly or illegal. She said the government should work to stop the illegal acts, rather than make it illegal to show the acts.
By the argument's end, the justices seemed to be weighing two possibilities. One was to narrow the reach of the law to focus only on the "crush videos." The other was to strike down the law entirely because it infringed too much on the 1st Amendment.
A ruling in the case, U.S. vs. Stevens, is not likely for several months.
Supreme Court justices, skeptical of a law aimed at graphic animal cruelty videos, touched Tuesday on dog fights, bull fights, cock fights, bow-and-arrow hunting, even a hypothetical television channel devoted to human sacrifice. Oh, yes, and freedom of speech.
In the end, the justices appeared inclined to agree that the law is too broad and could, in some instances, apply to videos about hunting.
"Why not do a simpler thing?" Justice Stephen Breyer asked an administration lawyer. "Ask Congress to write a statute that actually aims at the frightful things they were trying to prohibit."
Millett said Congress has to be very careful when restricting speech and must use a "scalpel, not a buzz saw."
It was Alito who asked about the human sacrifice channel, while Justice Anthony Kennedy chimed in with a scenario involving the airing of live pit bull fights in movie theaters, with a $10 charge for tickets.
The questions were intended to test the limits of First Amendment freedoms ’ and the right of Congress to intervene ’ in matters that most people would find offensive.
Justice Antonin Scalia was having none of it. In the area of free speech, Scalia said, "it's not up to the government to decide what are people's worst instincts."
Scalia also pointed out that opponents of animal fighting may feel more free to use the images to express their views than proponents. "People who like bull fighting, who like dog fighting, who like cock fighting ... that side of the debate is entitled to make its point as forcefully as possible," he said.
Stevens noted in court papers that his sentence was 14 months longer than professional football player Michael Vick's prison term for running a dogfighting ring.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked "Tell me what the difference is between these (Steven's) videos and David Roma's documentary on pit bulls? I mean, David Roma's documentary had much, much more footage on the actual animal cruelty than the films at issue here, greater sections of the film, and more explicit."
Chief Justice John Roberts asked, "You have to look at the content to determine whether or not the speech is prohibited. How can you tell these aren't political videos? With organizations like PETA and others, depictions of the same sort of animal cruelty that is used to generate support for efforts to prohibit it. Why aren't these videos the exact opposite of efforts to legalize it?"
of course the answer to the question regarding the human sacrifice channel is that the difference is it involves humans as the victims and humans are considered to have basic human rights which include not being killed, animals do not have that. just think about steak.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wanted to know if Congress could ban a ‘Human Sacrifice Channel‘ on cable television.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked about videos of cockfighting.
‘What about hunting with a bow and arrow out of season?‘ Justice John Paul Stevens asked.
‘What if I am an aficionado of bullfights,‘ Justice Antonin Scalia wondered, ‘and I think, contrary to the animal cruelty people, they ennoble both beast and man?‘
Mr. Katyal reminded the justices that the case before them concerned videos of dogfights and that the law itself was mainly prompted by so-called crush videos, which cater to a sexual fetish. Those videos show women in high heels stepping on small animals.
Justice Scalia said the law violates the First Amendment by treating speech condemning depictions of animals fighting more favorably than speech celebrating the fighting. Mr. Stevens’s ‘message is that getting animals to fight is fun,‘ Justice Scalia said.
The hypothetical Human Sacrifice Channel came up late in the argument. Justice Alito described how it would work.
‘Suppose that it is legally taking place someplace in the world,‘ he said.
Ms. Millett haltingly said that Congress could not ban such a channel solely on the ground that it was offensive.
Mr. Katyal, to the apparent surprise of some of the justices, agreed, saying the First Amendment would not permit a law banning such a channel unless it could be shown that the depictions made the sacrifices more likely. The distastefulness of the depictions alone would not justify the ban.
note that the government's lawyer does not think such a law as this would apply to humans but is fighting for its application to animals.
I wanted to be sure that people saw in this article that Stevens used a Public Defender for the beginning of this, for those that think you have to pay a lot of money to a lawyer.
here new justice Sotomayor makes an incredibly powerful argument with an extremely simple question, the intent of the law, and this government lawyer either doesn't know or doesn't care that the making of their argument invalidates it. good stuff.
Also in the courtroom were U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, Mr. Stevens' federal public defender, Michael J. Novara, and Third Circuit Judges Thomas M. Hardiman and D. Michael Fisher.
Newcomer Justice Sonia Sotomayor posed the first question of the day, asking Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal about the congressional intent of the law.
Free speech supporters have argued that the statute could be misapplied and used to censor hunting magazines, documentaries on a wide range of subjects from Native American history to animal cruelty and anything in between.
But Mr. Katyal said the original goal of Congress in passing the 1999 law was a deluge of some 3,000 "crush videos," used by sexual fetishists, that had been circulating..
Mr. Katyal admitted that the law has never been used to prosecute anyone for a crush video.
But the justices repeatedly asked each side if under the law in question, certain images could be prosecuted. Justice Antonin Scalia spoke about bullfighting. Justice Stephen Breyer raised other examples -- quail hunting; the slaughter of animals; deer or bear hunting; as well as the stuffing of geese to make fois gras.
Mr. Katyal tried to alleviate those concerns by stating the history of the statute.
"We have had 10 years of experience, Justice Breyer, under the statute, and we haven't seen those things being chilled."
He warned the court not to get caught up in what could happen.
Chief Justice John Roberts asked Mr. Katyal why animal rights groups that use images of cruelty to raise awareness and funds are not subject to prosecution.
"...Congress carved a broad exemption in Section 48 precisely to make sure that expressive messages aren't swept up," Mr. Katyal said.
But continuing along the same line, Justice Sotomayor asked about a documentary on dogfighting. Though its producer was not prosecuted, the film contained much more graphic images than Mr. Stevens', she said.
"Doesn't there have to be a judgment inherent in this statute?" she asked.
"Why not do a simpler thing? Rather than let the public guess as to what these words mean, ask Congress to write a statute that actually aims at those frightful things that it was trying to prohibit. Now that can be done. I don't know why they couldn't do it."
Here I wanted to be sure that the firm that took the Stevens case to the finish line was recognized.
Congress passed law in 1999 to outlaw dominatrix videos where women torture small animals with their bare feet or while wearing heels.
But the statute here has been applied to more than just crush videos. It was loosely written to bar the recording where "a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed."
"Or killed!" Justice Antonin Scalia exclaimed, noting that humans kill animals for food all the time.
Patricia Millet from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, represented Robert Stevens, who sold dog fighting videos. She argued that the government is simply banning something it doesn't like. "If it's just that we don't like the content, outside obscenity, Congress doesn't get to ban it," she said.
Scalia asked whether the government's interpretation would outlaw the marketing of bullfighting videos.
Katyal replied that someone could market Spanish bullfighting videos because they are educational, and therefore exempt from the rule.
"Well, I guess a dogfight is educational, too," Scalia replied.
"It isn't illegal in Japan, and part of the video here were dog fights in Japan, legal where it occurred, no different from bull fighting," Ginsburg noted.
When it was Millett's turn to argue in defense of the dog fighting videos, Scalia showed his apparent favor for her side of the case.
"I really think you should focus, not on the educational value to make people hate bull fighting, but on quite the opposite, it seems to me," Scalia said. "On the right under the First Amendment of people who like bull fighting, who like dog fighting, who like cock fighting, to present their side of the debate."
That way it would fall under the political exception, he explained.
Well this is fantastic news! and just as I've been saying for years, if some folks would actually stand up for themselves, and their dogs, and make some constitutional challenges sooner or later there will be judges who recognize our Constitutional Property Rights are being trampled as dog owners! but they aren't going to just hand it over for nothing, people have to fight! it's even more pathetic to watch so many bulldog owners just go belly up when as a whole our dogs are supposed to be the gamest yet so many of the people that own them seem to lack that very quality. there are some exceptions like a young man recently in Ramona California who fought for months to keep them from killing his pets (which they did anyway) but he is still fighting his circumstantial case even after their death.
Not only does this case forbid the unlawful, warrant-less seizure of our property (dogs) but it also goes on to further sustain the idea that the government (as well as their patsies the "humane" society) can NOT dispose of a citizen's property without an actual finding of guilt against them!
This is going to hugely affect the H$U$' ability to swoop in and take people's pets without warrants (they aren't even a governmental organization for chrissakes!) provided some bulldog owners have the guts this woman did and sue them for theft and Un-Constitutional deprivation of property without due process!
---Permission to cross-post.''' I'm on the phone with Barbara Haines, Louisville Kennel Club. We've been waiting for this decision for almost a year, but it was worth the wait.
This ruling by a federal judge (an esteemed Constitutional scholar) is a profound victory.
This precedent has far-reaching implications, and sets the stage for class-action lawsuits nationwide - anywhere similar ordinances have been enacted, and Constitutional rights of pet owners have been violated
Highlights of the FEDERAL ruling:
1. Pets are personal property, under the Constitution. Due process, search and seizure, etc.. (all protections provided by Constitution) apply to pets. You are the OWNER of your pets (not the "guardian.") 2. Requirements for housing, treatment, etc.. cannot be mandated by legislation to be different for intact dogs (vs. altered dogs.). 3. Seizure bond is FLAT-OUT illegal and unconstitutional. This practice constitutes unlawful taking of personal property. If, after search warrant is obtained, a person is arrested and their dogs are seized, their dogs must be held AS IS (cannot be sterilized while held, cannot be sold, "transferred" or euthanized) unless the owner is found guilty after trial. Meantime, owner DOES NOT have to pay a dime for their care, until/unless they are found guilty of the charges
-- -------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Barbara Haines <XXX> Date: Sat, Oct 3, 2009 at 10:17 AM Subject: LKC Lawsuit To: Tina Perriguey <XXX>
Subject: FW: LKC Date: Sat, 3 Oct 2009 11:23:58 -0400
I have been informed that the Courier Journal and several tee vee stations ran stories on the Judge Simpson's decision in our Federal action last night. After hearing the reports, I am not sure that they read the same opinion as we did. The plaintiffs in this action are beyond thrilled with this decision. We prevailed on virtually every essential violation of the Federal Civil Rights act asserted. Not every argument in a lawsuit carries equal weight nor do they have equal impact on a national or local level. No longer can LMAS inspect your property and decide if you can own an unaltered dog. No longer can they require a seizure bond where failure to post it makes you forfeit your animals without a finding of guilt. There is a case currently in Kenton County where 10 years ago a women's beagles were confiscated on a nuisance issue and recently they came back and asserted cruelty. When she could not post the seizure bond, they said the animals became their property and they euthanized all of them including 10 -year olds. They then dismissed the cruelty charges. This is in Federal Court in Northern Kentucky on a challenge to the seizure bond and a violation of her civil rights. This decision by Judge Simpson holds that the conversion of her animals without a finding of guilt violates her due process rights. This type of thing is happening all over the county and this decision will have a huge impact. While, the search and seizure issue was dismissed because the city agreed with us, the Judge went on and discussed violations of the Fourth Amendment and clearly indicated that the provision in the Ordinance which allegedly permits seizure for any violation of this chapter which is the provision used by LMAS to seize puppies because of an alleged violation of the Class A Kennel License, requires a warrant for seizure. Please take the opportunity to read this opinion several times. It will have, we believe, a huge impact on a local and national basis. If you need to contact me please do so or contact our counsel, Jon Fleischaker at 502-540-2319. We have the upmost confidence in you as you have always been committed to accurate and complete reporting. Below is the information sent to folks around the country. Thank you. Donna Herzig
I've recently seen people say that they think this means that they can't take dogs until after a finding of guilt. here is my reply (I am not a lawyer!):
in order to get a warrant there must be probable cause that the actual animal is evidence of some crime.
then, in order to retain (or otherwise "deprive" aka keep from you permanently, notice the judge's use of that term "permanently deprive") your property they must find you guilty. but they can still take anything that is "warranted" and that could include dogs, like any other personal property (e.g. computer files, a bloody knife, etc) used to build a case.
but it must be specific. not just nazi-like humaniacs rifling and taking as they want then talk to a judge and/or prosecuter later, if ever, once they've taken fruit from the tainted tree. they can't just fish like they do now, which is maybe see one dog with a supposed mark (or just get an "anonymous report" of such and then third hand hearsay telephone calls) and use that as justification for an immediate forcible entry and search when basically they should be getting a judge's approval since there is no "crime in progress".
just as with any other physical evidence if a judge feels that there is probable cause that one or more PARTICULAR animals are EVIDENCE of some crime they can order them seized and held, but they must be kept and returned in similar/reasonable condition to when taken. they've been somehow using the cart to get the horse.
unless and until there is a finding of guilt or plea involving the particular animal seized (and held until trial or other resolution at no cost to defendant) as that dog particularly used in commission of some crime by its owner they are still property of their rightful owner and cannot be disposed of.
if someone uses their property (any property) in the commission of a crime they do subject it to seizure . I don't think we can have it both ways. they are our property and as such could be seized by a court. the key is "reasonably" and not without a right to due process.
By: ADAM NORTHAM, DAILY LEADER Staff Writer September 25, 2009
Pit bulls are always earning notoriety as fighting dogs, attack dogs and all around vicious canines, but East Lincoln's Phil Hemby has one specimen of the square-headed breed earning a new name for itself.
And that name is lifesaver. Well, not quite ...
Shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, Hemby stepped out to take Slim, his 2-year-old pit terrier, for a joy ride in his Yamaha Rhino ATV around the Hemby Farms chicken houses off Townsend Drive. But the normally docile dog was in a rage - barking, snarling and driving him back - and wouldn't let him approach the machine. Hemby said he thought the pit had turned on him, but then the reason for the commotion became clear.
Slim wouldn't let Hemby approach the ATV because coiled beneath the vehicle's rear end was a nearly 4-foot Copperhead, Hemby said. The snake made a run for it and Slim was on him, taking the viper in his mouth and performing the classic canine kill by shaking it violently from side to side.
"Today was my lucky day, buddy," said Hemby, 44, a former minister at Union Baptist Church. "When I went to let the gate down, I would have stepped right on top of that thing. It may not have killed me, but who wants to be snake-bit?"
Hemby said he was proud of Slim, whom he described as a playful yard dog who loves chasing balls and rolling in the grass with the Hembys' nieces and nephews. Hemby raised Slim from a puppy, when the dog was given to him by his stepdaughter, 18-year old Copiah-Lincoln Community College student Tara Paden.
By ADAM NORTHAM East Lincoln's Phil Hemby keeps a tight grip on Slim, his 2-year-old pit bull terrier, while displaying a nearly 4-foot copperhead the dog prevented his master from stepping on before dispatching it with a hard bite and a few shakes of the head.
With pit bulls having such a poor reputation and being seen as unsafe, killer dogs, Hemby said he felt compelled to tell the story of how Slim protected his master. The sour news about the breed almost got to Hemby, who grabbed a shovel off the porch and was about to strike Slim down during his fit over the snake before he realized the dog was just looking out for him.
"There's nothing ever good that comes out in the news about these dogs," he said, sitting on the back of the Rhino holding a happy Slim with one arm. "He protected me. He killed the snake. I couldn't get him away from it. It took me 10 minutes to get him off of it.
This story is a mixed blessing. On one hand it's great they weren't able to kill the dog. On the other it's really miserable that she had to resort to "proving" that her dog wasn't "predominantly pit bull" even though it had not run loose, menaced anyone or otherwise been anything but a good dog. What if the outcome had been 49.9% or how about 50.1%? It's the exact same dog - there is nothing different about that dog today from the day before they took it other than now there's a paper saying it's genetic makeup. argh.
DNA testing in Salina saves pet
By DAVID CLOUSTON Salina Journal
SALINA, Kan. | Animal-control officers knew the dog they saw looked like a pit bull.
It didn’t matter that the dog in question, Angie Cartwright’s family pet Lucey, had never bitten anyone. Nor had she ever acted aggressively.
Lucey’s troubles began when Cartwright was pet-sitting her brother’s dog, which got loose. Someone called animal-control officers, who picked up the brother’s dog and collared Lucey in the process.
The officers explained that they were taking Lucey to a veterinarian for a breed check ’ a professional opinion to determine Lucey’s breed.
Since 2005, Salina has had a ban on owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull. Today, Lucey is home, and Cartwright credits a genetic test kit that helps pet owners identify the heritage of their mixed-breed dogs.
The test found that a minor amount of Lucey’s DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes ’ a little more than 12 percent, not close to a predominant percentage. ‘Maybe this can save someone’s animal, hopefully,‘ Cartwright said.
Without the test results, Cartwright and her family would have been faced with finding Lucey a home outside Salina, or leaving her at the animal shelter where she might be have to be destroyed.
At least three retail genetic tests are on the market for dogs. One is the Wisdom Panel MX mixed breed analysis, which is offered by a Salina clinic, Town & Country Animal Hospital.
Wisdom Panel is the only one that uses a blood test; two others use cheek swabs for DNA samples.
Cartwright asked the animal control officers who were taking Lucey away if she could check with her own vet, Karen Hale Young, owner of Town & Country, for a second opinion. Cartwright didn’t know then that the clinic had the genetic test available.
Town & Country charges $168 for the service.
‘I was actually pretty desperate and I watch a lot of medical shows,‘ Cartwright said. ‘I said, ‘˜Do you guys do DNA testing on dogs?’ It was actually just a grasp (at a solution). We didn’t want her to go, we didn’t want her to be put to sleep. I was angry and upset, and I was just trying to find a different solution.‘
The family had acquired Lucey as a puppy just a couple of months earlier from a family in Hutchinson that couldn’t care for her anymore.
Young said she thought that, given the shape of Lucey’s head and ears, particularly, Lucey was predominantly pit bull.
‘She said, ‘˜Prove me wrong ’ please prove me wrong.’‘‚‘ Cartwright said. ‘I said, ‘˜I hope I do.’‘‚‘
The test showed that Lucey had no more than 12.5 percent each of bull terrier DNA, boxer, and Staffordshire bull terrier. The largest percentage of DNA, 25 percent, was Bernese mountain dog.
‘Berners‘ are a Swiss breed originally bred as farm dogs and companion animals, used for driving cattle.
The American Kennel Club defines pit bulls as American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers or any mix of those breeds.
All of the genetic testing companies, in their literature, urge that their products not be used to enforce breed bans. None have reached the point of being challenged in court.
Still, Rose Base, director of the Salina Animal Shelter, accepts the test results.
‘It’s provided through a veterinary clinic. And if they’re that strongly supporting something like that, we feel it must be a quality product,‘ Base said.
Salina veterinarian David Atherton offers the Wisdom Panel test to his customers curious about their dog’s characteristics. He said he thinks the test has validity.
‘If I was going to have a beloved dog taken away, I would demand it,‘ he said.
I thought about it long and hard this weekend, and I decided that my family is comprised of four people: my mom, my dad, my sister and me. That's it. Sorry Alejandro, I don't think you count as number five. And, no, Alejandro isn't my gardener. He's my dog.
He's a beast. He's the perfect size. Not too big, but not too small. You can call him a mutt, but I call him a lab-collie mix. He's an awesome bird dog. Anytime anyone sees him, they wish he was theirs.
But isn't this how anyone views their dog? We all think ours is the best. Why am I talking about this anyway? Some of you already know where this is going. It's simple: Michael Vick.
Since exploding onto the NFL scene in 2001, Vick divided people with his talent and potential. I don't think he was as good as his diehard fans sculpted him out to be, but he surely was not as horrible and overrated as his haters declared. Week in, week out, his every move was seen as budding ammunition in the for/against Vick dispute, and depending on the week, the rascal was selling arms to both sides.
But that was nearly three years ago. Since then, Michael Vick has served hard jail time for dog abuse charges for his involvement with dog fighting. But now he is being given a second chance in the NFL, and this is sparking huge controversy. I have even heard and read about people who genuinely believe that Vick deserves to be killed.
Do you remember the wrestler Chris Benoit? How did the media handle his crime? It revolved around a tragic family man who was pulled into a life of consistent drugs, and steroid use that ravaged his body, threw him into depression and caused him to commit a heinous crime. They insinuated that it was not his fault. Imagine if Vick had killed his wife and children!
What about Dany Heatley, the hockey player who killed his teammate while driving at extremely reckless speeds? Heatley did not go to jail, get suspended, or get any really negative feedback from fans and media.
What about the Patrick Kearney rape case? That happened in his house nonetheless while he was present. When is he going to be suspended? Is dog fighting more heinous than rape? When will the NFL say something about this?
Or how about Falcon tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who killed his dog with a hammer because he was allegedly mad at his girlfriend? No, that was not a typo. He killed his dog with a hammer.
These guys have all broken the law and have yet to be punished for it as severely as Mr. Vick is being punished by the NFL, the media or our legal system. The fact of the matter is that all professional sports organizations are littered with human examples of much more heinous crimes. There are wife and girlfriend beaters, child abusers, drug addicts, killers and felons of every order who play professional sports. Just look it up yourselves. I don't have space to keep listing examples.
So to you Vick haters, I sincerely hope you are all vegetarians. As I see it, raising cattle to be slaughtered for human consumption (or pigs, goats, lamb or fish for that matter) is no different than raising and training dogs to fight, even to the death. The slaughter of animals is no less of a cause of death to the animals than a dog fight is a cause of death to the dogs. The consumption of animals is no more necessary than a dog fight. Both are ultimately for human pleasure. Meat is a luxury. Many go their entire natural lives without ever consuming meat.
You better be as eager to refute the meat and poultry industries as you are to refute Vick. The reason why your Walt Disney-raised children know nothing is because you are happy being ignorant. Have you forgotten about Cruela Deville? She wanted to turn those dogs into jackets! And you let your children watch that movie! How horrible! If these dogs looked like snakes or spiders you would have no problem with fighting. I love my dog! Don't get me wrong. I am going to cry and bury him when he dies, and I know that I am charged with the responsibility of taking care of him, but I also realize he is just an animal.
Where is the logic? You wear leather, right? You eat meat, right? Where is the outrage about the industries that allow you those pleasures? The reason you are not upset with them is that you don't see the "cruelty" that goes into killing a pig. Barely out of the womb, piglets are held up by one leg and subjected to the following: without anesthetic, their genitals and tails are cut off, their ears are sliced and their teeth are pulled out with pliers. This is how they begin their lives. The rest of it will be spent in a space barely large enough to move. This is a sentient animal with a nervous system fully capable of feeling pain just like you do.
But you know what? At least at this juncture in my life, I love to eat bacon, beef and poultry products. Maybe I'm sick and sadistic and am damning myself for saying that, because deep down, sometimes I do feel that maybe God really did charge us to love animals and take care of them like he takes care of us. Maybe it is his way of testing our compassion and capacity for love. I really do respect people who can sleep with their dog and let them eat with them at the dinner table. That is a beautiful thing to see, but I also realize the meat industry exists because I love the pleasure of eating a waffle with bacon on it (so yummy), much in the same way that Vick enjoyed watching dogs do battle. So you won't hear me saying a word about Vick, because I know that if I said anything, I would be the world's biggest hypocrite.
So the next time you hear someone talking smack about Vick simply ask them if he or she is a vegan. They'll know where you're headed with that question. If they refuse to answer or say no, do what I do: Laugh at them and walk away. They'll feel naked, stupid, hypocritical and pompous, and you'll be instantly revered among your friends.
Former dog-fighting defendants sue sheriff’s office, deputy
by Dean Manning August 18, 2009
Two men found innocent of cruelty to animals in June have filed a lawsuit against the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Richard Sapcut, who investigated the incident.
In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in London, Joe C. Lewis Jr. and Dalton Brewer, claim negligence, false statements and malicious prosecution on Sapcut’s part resulted in a Laurel County Grand Jury returning an indictment against the men. The men seek unspecified damages and punitive damages from the sheriff’s office and Sapcut.
Sapcut claimed Joe Lewis Jr., Brewer and a third defendant, Joe Lewis III were organizing dog fights in Laurel County, using more than 60 dogs in the dog fighting ring and kept a stray dog which was used as a sparring partner for the fighting dogs.
‘Defendant Sapcut’s false and defamatory statements to the press damaged the Plantiff’s reputations so badly that some members of the public went so far as to call for physical harm to Plantiff Lewis and Plantiff Brewer,‘ the men claim in the lawsuit.
Lewis III, Brewer and Joe Lewis II were arrested in July after Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies were called to 429 Adams Road in North Corbin to investigate an anonymous complaint that the men were in the back yard fighting the dogs.
Deputies Richard Sapcut, Robert Mitchell and John Inman reported finding two dogs, a Saint Bernard mix and a pit bull, with scars.
Deputies said the Saint Bernard was chained to a stairwell near the home, only being let loose to fight the pit bull.
In Aug. 2008, a grand jury returned indictments against the three men. In October, then Circuit Court Judge Roderick Messer approved the commonwealth’s motion to dismiss the charges against Joe Lewis Jr.
Following seven hours of testimony in Laurel Circuit Court, it took a jury about an hour to return the not-guilty verdict against Joe Lewis III and Brewer.
Neither defendant has filed a response to the lawsuit. No trial date has been set.
Free Speech Groups Fight Dangerous Challenge to First Amendment
By Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 7/28/2009
A number of free speech groups have banded together to fight what they are calling the most severe threat to the First Amendment in 25 years. The groups, through a friend of the court brief filed by the Media Coalition, are hoping to overturn the conviction of a Virginia man who was sentenced to three years in prison for creating several videos that included scenes of dogfighting. Robert Stevens was found guilty under a federal statute that prohibits the creation, sale or possession of ‘a depictor of animal cruelty‘ with ‘the intention of placing the depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain.‘ The law, which includes an exemption for works that have ‘serious‘ value, was passed in 1999 to prevent the sale of so-called ‘crush‘ videos that feature small animals being crushed by women’s feet.
In arguing that Stevens conviction be overturned, the Media Coalition brief says that the statute is overly broad and could be applied to any depiction of an animal being injured, including books and magazines about bullfighting. Furthermore, the law gives judges and juries wide discretion in determining just what ‘serious‘ value is. Stevens’ dogfighting video was sold by a number of online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. In finding Stevens guilty, the judge said that while the video may have been a documentary ‘it lacked great import.‘ The conviction was overturned by the Third Circuit which found the statute unconstitutional; the Justice Department appealed the Circuit ruling and oral arguments are scheduled for the Supreme Court October 6.
Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. one of the groups that joined in filing the brief, said that while ABFFE and the other groups support enforcement of laws against cruelty to animals, ‘this statute bans speech, not dogfighting. Even worse, the argument the government is using to justify the law makes the case the biggest threat to free speech in a generation.‘ According to Finan, the danger lies in the possibility that the Supreme Court use the case to change the way speech is regulated in the country by placing a value on speech by balancing the social value of a work against the potential to cause harm. David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, observed that, ‘The First Amendment is most necessary when unpopular speech is at issue. If the government is allowed to decide whether your speech has low value, what’s next on the list of materials to be banned?‘
In addition to ABFFE, the AAP, the PEN American Center and the Independent Film and Television Alliance supported the brief.
I normally try to keep the site focused on the positive stories and not every raid that comes down the pike but this article keeps the highlight on the H$U$' shady practices. I like what I see so far on the below referenced site. I've started working on an article I am hoping to get put up within a few days. Stay tuned.
HSUS Dog-Fight Raid Numbers Don’t Add Up
Sunday, July 12, 2009
By ESaunders AR-HR.com
The interstate dog-fighting raids this week were a huge story that received lots of media attention, and rightfully so. Training dogs to tear each other apart as a gambling sport is something that I find incomprehensible, especially in light of the so-called fighting breeds possessing such drive to please their owners.
The coordination and execution of the raid is such an admirable feat, it makes me wonder why HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle feels it is necessary to inflate the numbers on raid? According to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation, the raids seized at least 450 dogs and spanned 8 states. (Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) However, according to the FBI/Department of Justice press release, approximately 350 dogs were siezed and the raids spanned 5 states. (Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and Oklahoma) Where did the other 3 states and 100 dogs reported by the HSUS come from? The HSUS article and the FBI/DOJ press release were released on the same day, so it cannot be explained by subsequent changes in the case.
Sadly & predictably, Wayne Pacelle has already begun making pessimistic comments regarding the future of these seized dogs to the media. As quoted in St. Louis Today, ‘It’s just unclear what will happen,‘ said Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States. ‘I think it’s pretty certain that a lot of those dogs will not pass a behavioral test‘ Yet, Wayne Pacelle has made such comments before.
In 2007, he made the following statements to the NY Times regarding Michael Vick’s dogs, ‘Officials from our organization have examined some of these dogs and, generally speaking, they are some of the most aggressively trained pit bullsin the country,‘ Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. ‘Hundreds of thousands of less-violent pit bulls, who are better candidates to be rehabilitated, are being put down. The fate of these dogs will be up to the government, but we have recommended to them, and believe, they will be eventually put down.‘ Pacelle said the Humane Society normally advocated that fighting dogs be put down shortly after being seized.‘ Yet the reality was that only 1of the Michael Vick dogs was euthanized due to aggressive temperament. (Ah yes, and HSUS was not the agency involved in the dogs assessments)
In 2008, Amanda Arrington HSUS North Carolina Lobbyist (sorry, State Director) and Chris Schindler HSUS Deputy Manager, Animal Fighting Law Enforcement (who isn’t a law enforcement officer) testified in courtto ensure the euthanizing of the Wildside Kennel pit bulls including 60 puppies, some only weeks old with statements like ‘You know, people speak about the Michael Vick dogs. Those dogs have not even been rehabilitated.‘ (Those would be the ‘most aggressively trained pit bulls in the country‘ where only 1 required euthanasia for aggressive temperament)
Now we have dogs that don’t exist, in states that weren’t raided, that Wayne Pacelle is hinting will/should be euthanized for behavioral issues? I am confused, very very confused.
this guy is fantastic! what a thorough, precise, clear, all-around great commentary by this guy (a Commissioner!) on the truth about tethering and the misleading arguments put forth by those who seek to arbitrarily outlaw it.
On the anti-tethering issue in Forsyth County by Patrick Bell, Forsyth County Commissioner May 13, 2009
I realize the anti-tethering issue is contentious and can be full of emotion. I'm an animal lover and owner and have great disdain for anyone that mistreats animals.
As Commissioners we face a difficult task as we look at the proposed amendments regarding tethering.
While I support public input and the public hearings, the fact is I am not in favor of increased government control of day to day decisions.
Our founding fathers never intended we go this far into the day-to-day decisions of our citizens.
An animal trainer wrote me an e-mail and made a comment that really hit home: "Not all dogs that are tethered on a regular basis are being abused or neglected.
It is the abuse and the neglect that should be targeted, not the tether." This simple statement that made so much sense.
I do have much concern about dogs being mistreated by being tethered for unreasonable amounts of time.
Reality is there are many animals that are mistreated, abused and neglected and it's not just dogs and not just by tethering.
I believe it wise to address this issue by considering revised or strengthened animal abuse and mistreatment ordinances versus specific amendments that are reportable by your neighbors complaint, hard to enforce and appear to be subjective in nature.
Additionally, the issue needs to be addressed by taking into account that we live in a very unique county and have a mix of rural and suburban citizens.
Some people have dogs as members of the family and some have working dogs, such as hunting and neither has less concern for their animal.
In all candor, Forsyth County is not ready for narrow ordinances, we have too many different types of people.
I so much appreciate the people that brought this to the surface and I know their hearts are in the right place.
The best step right now is to take a step back and consideration should be given to ordinances that address animal abuse, neglect and mistreatment as whole and not just piece-mealed amendments.
If we can ever get to the point where we can address the real root of the problem, and include concerns from all sides, we could create an ordinance that truly reflects our citizens and our county.
This may not be a popular stance with some groups but it is an open-minded viewpoint that takes into account our county; not Fulton, Gwinnett or Hall and how they have or have not addressed issues. I want to set example, not follow it.
To me that would be showing real leadership and that's what our citizens expect and deserve.
from terrierman's blog, a good one, also a month or so old. the graphic definitely shows a increasing trend towards kill, kill, kill.
please note my (dark red) link about ken cuccinelli. he has a track record of fighting the extremist agenda already!
Peta's Slaughterhouse for Dogs and Cats
March 26, 2009
This morning comes word that in 2008 PETA killed 95.8 percent of the dogs, cats and other pets put into its care last year.
In fact, during all of 2008, PETA found adoptive homes for just seven pets out of 2,216 animals taken in.
PETA has a long track record of killing healthy animals (see pictures here), and almost no discernable track record that I can find of placing dogs and cats in loving homes.
As Dana Cheek, the former director of the Norfolk SPCA wrote:
I often receive phone calls from frantic people who have surrendered their pets to PETA with the understanding that PETA will "find them a good home." Many of them are led to believe that the animals will be taken to a nearby shelter. Little do they know that the pets are killed in the PETA van before they even pull away from the pet owner's home ‘¦ PETA refuses to surrender animals they obtain to area shelters for rehoming. If only the celebrity 'deep-pocket' donors on the west coast knew that their donations were going to kill adoptable cats and dogs here in Norfolk.
You will not find PETA's shelter in Norfolk, Virginia on Pet Finder, nor are there any visiting hours. Posters are not placed on coffee shop bulletin boards, nor do they work with PetSmart or anyone else to find homes for the dogs and cats relenquished to them.
Instead, PETA injects killing solutions into almost all the animals handed over to the them, and then it contracts with a waste disposal company to have several tons of animals a month trucked away, out of sight and out of mind.
Why? Simple: they believe a dog in a shelter is better dead than kenneled for even a few days or a few weeks, and they oppose pet ownership entirely. PETA's Norfolk staff cannot be bothered to take time away from media-whoring in order to do the tough work involved in actually rehoming animals. They leave that to real shelters.
PETA, of course, tries to hide all of this, but the state of Virginia is not having any part of it.
Virginia has a legal requirement that all shelters report out how many dogs, cats and other animals are surrendered, how many are placed, and how many are rehomed.
PETA refuses to fill out the forms as asked by the state of Virginia, however, and every year a little charade occurs. This charade appears to be designed to slow down the posting of PETA's kill information to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. PETA, it seems, is embarassed by their own numbers. Not embarassed enough to change what they do, mind you, but just embarassed enough to try to keep comparative data away from the public's prying eyes.
And so, instead of reporting the data in the form requested,PETA mixes in unrelated spay and neuter data. They have done this for several years running now, and apparently they are doing it again this year, as the numbers are still not up on the Virginia state web site. PETA will eventually cough up the forms properly filled out, of course, but by then several months will have gone by. Heck, several months have already gone by.
To be clear, no other shelter in Virginia does this or even tries to do this. And you know why? Because the other shelters are not afraid of telling you what they are doing because most of them are at least trying to get dogs and cats adopted out.
PETA, on the other hand, seems to do virtually nothing to try to get animals placed. That's too much like work and there's no "look-at-me" publicity in it. The blue solution of death is so much easier. And so PETA injects, dumps, and runs off to do another titty-show protest somewhere. Yippee! Look at me. I am nekkid!
So how do we know what PETA's numbers are for 2008?
Simple: Just because PETA intentionally mangles the paperwork so that the data does not show up up on time on the Virginia state web site does not mean that they do not file something as a place holder. That paperwork does exist, and you can read it yourself right here and tease out the kill data, just as I have.
You can also compare it to the track record of other Virginia animal shelter facilities right here, and you can also compare it to past years of comparable PETA data by looking at the table below:
To cut to the chase, here's how the data breaks down for dogs and cats put in PETA's care in 2008:
Of 584 dogs surrendered to PETA's "shelter" last year, 555 were killed by PETA and only 4 were adopted out. Another 21 dogs were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 15 dogs were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2008.
Of 1,589 cats surreneder to PETA's "shelter" last year, 1,569 were killed by PETA and only 3 were adopted out. Another 13 cats were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 2 cats were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2009
Last year on this blog, I noted that PETA is licensed under Virginia law to run an animal shelter or humane society. But PETA does not run an animal shelter.
But don't take my word for it. Here what PETA's Daphna Nachminovitch said in court:
"PETA does not maintain an animal shelter. PETA has a couple -- we call them 'quarantine rooms' -- which are used to house animals that are held for one reason or another. And animals who are, who have a chance for adoption, are usually fostered in private homes. We do not have a public facility that's open to the public where people can stroll through and pick an animal. That's not a service that we are able to provide. We're an office building."
Right. You are an office building. Not a shelter.
But PETA's license to handle powerful killing chemicals did not say it was running an office building, but that it was running an animal shelter or humane society.
Under Virginia law, an animal shelter means "a facility, other than a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned, operated, or maintained by a nongovernmental entity including, but not limited to, a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other organization operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals."
Under Virginia law, a humane society means "any incorporated, nonprofit organization that is organized for the purposes of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment or adoptions of animals."
Under Virginia law, adoption means "the transfer of ownership of a dog or a cat, or any other companion animal, from a releasing agency to an individual."
In short, PETA is not running a legal shelter or humane society (as Ms. Nachminovitch conceded in court), and therefore their licensed access to killing chemicals should be revoked by the state.
PETA can then re-apply with the Virginia Department of Agriculture to run a slaughter house if they so choose.
And no, the slaughter house designation is not hyperbole.
In 2008, PETA's shelter in Norfolk, Virginia took possession of 2,216 dogs, cats, and other ‘companion animals‘ and killed all but 7 of them -- a 95.8 percent kill rate once the tranfers are accounted for.
What's that look like? Well, if the average dog/cat weighs 30 pounds, that works out to be about 30 TONS of dead animals coming out of PETA's shelter every year. ... Want to do something positive about all this? Here's my suggestion: Send a letter to all the candidates hoping to be Virginia's next Attorney General.
Ask each of the candidates to make a pledge to investigate, prosecute and/or close PETA's Norfolk animal shelter, which is being run as an unlicensed slaughter house, not as a true animal shelter seeking to find homes for adoptable animals. Send them a link to this blog for the statistics and the law.
How to contact the candidates:
Steve Shannon - Democratic candidate for Virginia Attorney General. Contact here (web form) or call (best): 703-218-3501
a good summary from YesBiscuit! of the tragedy of lies and deception delivered to an unsuspecting court (that didn't seem very interested in suspecting anyway) by the supposed "humane" society. I don't really care for her characterization as "bust" dogs though. Many folks have been found not guilty and these raids are frequently found not to be 'busts' at all (see below!). it's a little outdated, but I just ran across it. the "humane" society has since changed their all-kill policy, supposedly. how convenient to do so now that they have almost single handedly exterminated 3/4+ of all quality, established US breeding stock from almost all major breeders in the last half dozen or so years.
I personally looked up and inquired about a bunch of stuff regarding the faron case and the law and facts involved there. I was pretty disappointed that a guy like ed, who seemed to be a lot more resourceful and motivated, let himself be run down and over like this.
146 Pitbulls, including 19 pups still nursing from their dams, were killed on order of the court in Wilkes Co, NC in February 2009. Most of the dogs had been seized in connection with a dogfighting investigation conducted by local authorities in conjunction with the HSUS. The remaining pups were born after the seizure.
The two HSUS representatives whose testimony Judge Wilson relied upon to make the decision on what to do with the dogs were Amanda Arrington and Chris Schindler.
Although Best Friends had made an offer to the county to save the dogs, their representative was not advised of this hearing which took place immediately after the third defendant in the dogfighting case plead guilty:
Best Friends Animal Society, which operates one the nation's largest animal sanctuaries, had contacted County Attorney Tony Triplett within days of the December raid. The group had offered to work with rescue agencies to place the dogs.
But when Judge Wilson asked yesterday if Best Friends had gotten involved at the last minute, Assistant District Attorney Fred Bauer told the judge that the group had called him last Thursday and Friday, and had called his boss, District Attorney Tom Horner, yesterday.
"That's just totally misconstruing the contacts we had with the county attorney and the attempts we tried to have with the DA," [Ledy] VanKavage [attorney for Best Friends] said.
She said she left a message for Bauer a month ago, on either Jan. 13 or 14, and had made at least three attempts to contact the DA's office. "I left a message for Fred Bauer and he never returned my call," she said.
After court yesterday, Bauer said he couldn't recall if he'd gotten a message from Best Friends, but that he didn't intend to mislead Wilson and would clear it up with the judge today if there was any misunderstanding.
The case had been set for trial next month. People working on rescuing the dogs thought they had more time.
VanKavage said that when she learned about yesterday's ruling she called Wilkesboro attorney William Burke to seek an injunction against destroying the dogs. She said Burke reported that when he got to the courthouse shortly before it closed, the judge was gone and the order was already signed. She said that Burke told her he thought the dogs would be dead before he could get the request before the judge. [...] VanKavage said that Bauer misrepresented her side's interest to the judge and it affected the proceeding.
"I think the judge wanted to hear our side of it and if we'd gotten some notice, we could have gotten into that courtroom, but the DA's office chose to stonewall us and because of that, these puppies died," she said.
After reviewing a transcript of the court testimony of the HSUS representatives, it does indeed appear that the case for saving the dogs was "misrepresented":
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: Amanda Arrington. I'm the North Carolina State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. And our concern is that the only offer of help has been from Best Friends, but they are not offering to take these dogs.
THE COURT: They are not offering to take the dogs?
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: They are offering to assist. That is their language that they used. That means it would still be the county's responsibility. And in their own words, it costs about $190,000 per dog to rehabilitate them.
THE COURT: $190,000 to rehabilitate a dog?
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: That's what Best Friends says?
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: Yes.
THE COURT: Why is this the so-called humane thing to do?
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: To euthanize?
THE COURT: Yes, ma'am.
MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: For the dogs themselves, I think, because of the way that they were bred. I think it is an unrealistic expectation for us to ask these dogs that have been bred generations for fighting to become regular pets. And it's an even bigger thing to ask people to take on that responsibility and the county to take on both the financial burden and the liability.You know, we could be a couple years down the road and one of these dogs could do something, and I think it ultimately could come back on the county of Wilkes.
Best Friends is willing to send a certified applied behaviorist out to evaluate the dogs and puppies. Of those who do well, Best Friends will fund their sterilization and transportation to responsible rescue groups.
I interpret that to mean the county would not be left holding the bag financially or liability-wise. And I'm sure the attorney for Best Friends would have explained that to the judge had the group been made aware of the hearing to determine what to do with the dogs.
THE COURT: Sir, did you want to add something?
MR. CHRIS SCHINDLER: I'm Chris Schindler. I'm the Deputy Manager, Animal Fighting Law Enforcement, Humane society of the United States. [...] You can't -- you know, even the puppies, you know, as you have heard, have been displaying those you know, those tendencies to start fighting with each other, and that's something you are going to see as they grow older. Most of these dogs, you won't know their true capability until they are at least 18 months old. These guys don't even test them for fighting purposes until they are 18 months old. So the likelihood of being able to hold these dogs until they are almost two years old to find out how dangerous they may be is unrealistic. I mean, housing them just for now has cost, you know, maybe more than $60,000, just to hold them until now, to this point. I mean, these dogs, they are not on the same level. You know, people speak about the Michael Vick dogs. Those dogs have not even been rehabilitated.
Reading the HSUS testimony in the case is helpful in clarifying what was actually said and what the group's position was regarding the dogs. But for me, questions remain:
Did the judge get the whole story in this case?
Did the judge hear truthful testimony from the HSUS representatives?
Who actually killed the dogs and how was the killing funded?
NORMAN, Okla. -- The owner of a pit bull said she hopes her dog's help in chasing down a man accused in an armed robbery and carjacking can help improve the public perception of the breed.
Lily, a 2-year-old pit bull, sprung into action when the man tried to hide in Kierston Willoby's home last week. ... Willoby said she was home at the time and heard Lily barking hysterically. "She never barks that loudly," she said. "She was barking like she was going to attack someone. She's never that way. She's usually very quiet."
Willoby said Lily wouldn't stop barking and suddenly ran out of the garage."I saw her running out my driveway," she said. "I immediately took off out the front door, and she's following a man, running after a man, about a foot away from his leg and running him down."Police were also chasing that man and said Lily helped lead them right to him. Police identified him as Andre Williams and said he was still in the Cleveland County Jail on Friday.
Humane Society of the United States Does Little to Help Homeless Dogs and Cats
Animal Rights Group Devoted Less Than 4 Percent Of Its Budget To Pet Shelters In 2007
April 7, 2009
WASHINGTON ‘“ According to new research from the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) contributed less than four percent of its $91.5 million budget to hands-on dog and cat shelters in 2007.
CCF is criticizing the nation’s largest animal rights group for not doing more to help hard-working local humane societies, calling HSUS’s name "misleading."
According to its most recent tax return (filed on November 14, 2008), HSUS contributed about $3.1 million of its $91.5 million operating budget to hands-on pet shelters. CCF performed an exhaustive audit of HSUS’s giving last month.
CCF Director of Research David Martosko expressed a growing sentiment among animal lovers that the Humane Society isn’t living up to its name: "Pet lovers donated over $85 million to HSUS in 2007, but only a tiny sliver of that went to helping homeless dogs and cats.
That’s nothing compared to what HSUS spends hassling hunters, complaining about circus elephants, and trying to remove meat and dairy foods from the American diet."
This news comes at a critical time for HSUS, which has been trying to rally support for its radical dog breeding legislation in more than two dozen states.
Martosko continued: "HSUS is telling Americans how hard it is for local shelters to stay open in this economic climate. But it’s taking their donations straight to the bank.
More Americans need to understand that the Humane Society of the United States is not an umbrella group for local humane societies.
But the hard-working professionals and all the homeless pets in those shelters could certainly use one ‘“ especially now."
Court Rules Miami-Dade County Pit Bull Ban Unenforceable!
Posted Mar 19, 2009 by lauraallen
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) and Animal Law Coalition applaud a hearing officer's ruling that the Miami Dade County Pit Bull ban is too vague, and the county cannot enforce the finding by animal control that a dog named Apollo is a pit bull that must be euthanized or removed from the county.
The ruling came in a case challenging the finding by Miami Dade County Animal Control that a family pet named Apollo was a "pit bull" that must be removed from the county or euthanized.
In Ordinance No. 89-22, the county bans all dogs that "substantially conform" to American Kennel Club standards for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers or United Kennel Club standards for American Pit Bull Terriers.
To determine if a dog substantially conforms to these standards, animal control uses a chart that lists 15 body parts such as "head", "neck", "lips", "chest", "eyes", "tail", "hind legs", etc. The officer places a check mark to indicate whether each characteristic conforms or not to a pit bull. If 3 or more characteristics are checked "conform", the dog is declared a pit bull.
The county's pit bull evaluation form is attached at the end of this article and can be downloaded.
Rima Bardawil, the attorney for Apollo, pointed out that there is no such chart authorized by the ordinance and it is not clear what standards animal control is using in making its determinations.
Also, Dahlia Canes, executive director of MCABSL, testified that animal control is "constantly" mis-identifying the breeds of dogs. She told the court about one dog that was declared by an animal control officer to be a pit bull mix and ordered euthanized. Canes arranged to have the dog re-evaluated and he was determined to be a mastiff mix. The dog was then adopted to a family in Miami-Dade County.
In this case the animal control officer photographed Apollo from several feet away and then using the photo, picked body parts he said he thought conformed to pit bull standards, whatever those are.
As Canes pointed out later, "Many breeds of dogs and mixes have the same or similar traits. It is impossible to determine breed this way. Seriously, you are going to say a dog is a pit bull based on 3 traits like round eyes, broad shoulders and a muscular body? Dogs are many times genetically a mix of many different breeds. The judge agreed. This proves breed shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether a dog presents a danger."
Go here for more on a possible legal challenge to the Miami Dade County pit bull ordinance.
Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation was formed in 2008 and its members work for the repeal of the Miami Dade County pit bull ban. For more information visit, https://www.mcabsl.wildapricot.org/
Of course the prices are high when the words Gucci and Prada are part of the conversation.
But the Clippers' Zach Randolph has learned his lesson about overpaying. And learned it the hard way.
"The most I spent was $7,500," he said. "I don't think I'll do that again."
That said, we wandered out to the parking lot at the Clippers' training facility earlier this week to take a look at Gucci and Prada.
Gucci and Prada went scampering into the lot and immediately found a fire hydrant and did their business. (I was just very glad Prada didn't decide to mark her territory on my fake Prada bag.)
Gucci and Prada are pit bulls. Youngsters, in fact, and quite friendly ones. Randolph has spent $7,500 to buy a pit bull and once earned $5,000 when he sold one.
"When people think of pit bulls they think of aggressive dogs and dog fighting," Randolph said. "I can show you a dog that's made over $500,000, just stud and breeding and selling puppies. My dogs don't bite."
This is about tranquil dog shows. Randolph's big dog, Kaos, won a trophy about three weeks ago in San Bernardino, he said. Clippers' teammate Baron Davis apparently is thinking of buying one from Randolph.
The chat about dogs started after someone posed as Randolph on Twitter and claimed to want out of Los Angeles. Randolph then said the only thing he looked at on the computer were dogs and cars.
Naturally, he's competitive with this hobby. Pick and roll meets pit (bull) rolls over.
"I like to have the best-looking dog," Randolph said.
Still, Randolph reserves the right to make changes in the lineup. "I like (the names) Prada and Gucci, but I might switch it around," he said.
Family Survives Fire Thanks to Neighborhood Pit Bull
March 29, 2009
A barking pit bull alerted a family of five to a smoldering fire in the basement of an Alexandria townhouse this weekend, fire officials said.
Jasmine, a young pit bull, began barking after a fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday in the basement of a brick duplex at 37 South Gordon St. Smoke alarms sounded, but the family only heard the barking before emergency responders arrived.
Firefighters discovered a fire inside a wall behind a washer and dryer, which had started in the dryer vent. Damage was estimated at $20,000. Officials installed new smoke alarms. The family is staying with relatives and friends, officials said.
Ohio Bill Could Remove Pit Bull From 'Vicious Dog' Definition
March 24, 2009
AKRON, Ohio - Many people consider pit bulls vicious dogs, and many cities around northeast Ohio have laws on the books to keep residents and pets safe from pit bulls. Some cities require special insurance for pit bulls or require owners to register their dogs or face fines or jail time. But a move is under way by state lawmakers to remove the pit bull breed from the definition of a vicious dog. Some cities, such as Lakewood and Garfield Heights, have banned pit bulls and in Akron there are strict pit bull laws, but would a new state law loosen the leash?
There are strong opinions on both side of the issue. Akron city Prosecutor Doug Powley is convinced that pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds. "Pit bulls have caused very serious injuries because of their ability to bite and hold on," he said. "Too many children are injured by these dogs."
But Donny Rodgers, who owns two pit bulls, said the dogs are getting a bad rap. "Growing up, it was the German shepherd, the rottweiler, the Doberman pinscher and now it's the pit. What's next?" Rodgers said. Rodgers follows Akron's pit bull ordinance by registering the dogs every year, keeping them behind a tall fence and posting a sign that warns pit bulls are on the property. He eagerly supports the proposed Ohio law that would remove pit bulls from the definition of a vicious dog. "It's about time. It is, because it's really the owner. It's not the dog," he said.
State Rep. Barbara Sears, of Sylvania, is trying to get support for House Bill 79. She said it's inappropriate to label a specific breed.
But Powley disagrees, saying, "The way the dogs were bred for strength and tenacity, there's a feeling by a lot of people that pit bulls are just more dangerous." Powley said it's not likely that a change in Ohio law would take some of the teeth out of Akron's law, but it is possible. "The Supreme Court would probably end up making the decision whether the legislation supercedes our local ordinances," he said.
Sears said she's not trying to change pit bull laws in local communities. There's still a long way to go before this could become Ohio law. The House could vote on it over the summer.
To amend section 955.11 of the Revised Code to remove pit bulls from the definition of "vicious dog" in state law.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 955.11 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 955.11. (A) As used in this section:
(1)(a) "Dangerous dog" means a dog that, without provocation, and subject to division (A)(1)(b) of this section, has chased or approached in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack, or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person, while that dog is off the premises of its owner, keeper, or harborer and not under the reasonable control of its owner, keeper, harborer, or some other responsible person, or not physically restrained or confined in a locked pen whichthat has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure whichthat has a top.
(b) "Dangerous dog" does not include a police dog that has chased or approached in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack, or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person while the police dog is being used to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
(2) "Menacing fashion" means that a dog would cause any person being chased or approached to reasonably believe that the dog will cause physical injury to that person.
(3) "Police dog" means a dog that has been trained, and may be used, to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
(4)(a) "Vicious dog" means a dog that, without provocation and subject to division (A)(4)(b) of this section, meets anyeither of the following:
(i) Has killed or caused serious injury to any person;
(ii) Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person, or has killed another dog.
(iii) Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.
(b) "Vicious dog" does not include either of the following:
(i) A police dog that has killed or caused serious injury to any person or that has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person while the police dog is being used to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties;
(ii) A dog that has killed or caused serious injury to any person while a person was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog.
(5) "Without provocation" means that a dog was not teased, tormented, or abused by a person, or that the dog was not coming to the aid or the defense of a person who was not engaged in illegal or criminal activity and who was not using the dog as a means of carrying out such activity.
(B) Upon the transfer of ownership of any dog, the seller of the dog shall give the buyer a transfer of ownership certificate that shall be signed by the seller. The certificate shall contain the registration number of the dog, the name of the seller, and a brief description of the dog. Blank forms of the certificate may be obtained from the county auditor. A transfer of ownership shall be recorded by the auditor upon presentation of a transfer of ownership certificate that is signed by the former owner of a dog and that is accompanied by a fee of twenty-five cents.
(C) Prior to the transfer of ownership or possession of any dog, upon the buyer's or other transferee's request, the seller or other transferor of the dog shall give to the person a written notice relative to the behavior and propensities of the dog.
(D) Within ten days after the transfer of ownership or possession of any dog, if the seller or other transferor of the dog has knowledge that the dog is a dangerous or vicious dog, hethe seller or other transferor shall give to the buyer or other transferee, the board of health for the district in which the buyer or other transferee resides, and the dog warden of the county in which the buyer or other transferee resides, a completed copy of a written form on which the seller shall furnish the following information:
(1) The name and address of the buyer or other transferee of the dog;
(2) The age, sex, color, breed, and current registration number of the dog.
In addition, the seller shall answer the following questions, which shall be specifically stated on the form as follows:
"Has the dog ever chased or attempted to attack or bite a person? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."
"Has the dog ever bitten a person? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."
"Has the dog ever seriously injured or killed a person? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."
The dog warden of the county in which the seller resides shall furnish the form to the seller at no cost.
(E) No seller or other transferor of a dog shall fail to comply with the applicable requirements of divisions (B) to (D) of this section.
Section 2. That existing section 955.11 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.
Pit Bull Shot During Home Invasion Robbery Attempt
WJXT-TV updated 11:17 p.m. ET March 3, 2009
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A pit bull is credited with saving his owner's life. The dog took a bullet during a recent home-invasion robbery in Mayport.
The 10-month-old dog named Man protected his master, Mike Thomas, when he needed him most.
"My dog protected all of us. He took the bullet for all of us," Thomas said.
He said he was at home last week with his brother and some friends. That's when, police said, three men stormed through the front door of the home with a shotgun.
Thomas said the men were wearing masks and trying to rob him.
"I seen like three dudes run up on the porch, and I kind of jumped up. As soon as I jumped up, they ripped the door open and my dog jumped from sitting beside me all the way to the door and jumped on one of them. The dude got scared and shot him," Thomas said.
The pit bull scared the intruders before anyone else was hurt. However, the dog's act of courage came at a large price. The shotgun pellet entered Man's left shoulder, and doctors had to amputate his entire front leg.
Thomas said the Clay County Humane Society preformed the $5,000 procedure for free.
"At first, I was a little -- it just wasn't him because I pictured him with four legs. Now, he's used to it. He still sleeps with me on my bed. It's all good. I don’t love him any less," Thomas said.
With the help of his owner, Man has adjusted to life with three legs. Thomas said his dog is pain medication and that the dog's stitches will be removed in a few days.
more out of control cops ready to fire without good cause. the spokesperson says "he did everything he could" but out of the other side of his mouth said he "didn't know how he displayed aggressiveness". It seems like even eyewitnesses are barely enough to deter them. there have even been recent examples of surveillance footage recording this type of outrageous act. what will it take for the public to demand that the cops be reigned in and people's property not be destroyed while pursuing non-violent criminals onto private property where one expects to not have their dogs killed for merely being outside in their own backyards?
Backyard Incident: Family's pet 'Coco' killed by police
By LAWRENCE MOWER and MAGGIE LILLIS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Feb. 07, 2009
Coco," a 6-year-old pit bull, is shown in this photo with the 6-month-old daughter of Yurisel De La Torre and Jose Fernandez. Coco was shot and killed early Friday morning by a Las Vegas police officer who was pursuing a DUI suspect. Photo courtesy of Yurisel De la Torre
"Coco" was a good dog. Almost embarrassingly so.
When Jose Fernandez would have friends over, he would brag that he had a pit bull. He'd take his friends into the backyard to see Coco and the 6-year-old pit bull would lick their feet. "I'd say, 'Come on! Put on a mean face or something!'" Fernandez, 40, said. But that's all Coco would do, he said. Lick them, or put his paw on their laps for attention.
Around 5 a.m. Friday, Coco was shot and killed in his backyard by a Las Vegas police officer.
The officer was one of several who were searching for a DUI suspect who fled on foot from a traffic stop near Nellis Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, according to department spokesman Bill Cassell. Police searched a nearby neighborhood with a helicopter equipped with a heat detecting device and spotted a large mass in a shed behind a home at 4880 Welter Ave., Cassell said.
Cassell said the dog, which was inside the shed, confronted officers. But he said he didn't know how the dog displayed aggressiveness. "The officer did everything he could to avoid shooting at the dog. Ultimately he was forced to fire in self-defense," Cassell said. Two shots rang out. Coco had a bullet wound in his back and in his chest, according to Fernandez and his girlfriend, Yurisel De La Torre. Both were at work at the time.
The suspect, whose name and charges were not released, was arrested a few doors away. Cassell said the dog's death was a mistake and the department offered apologies to the family. "This is an extra unfortunate incident," he said. "All cops are animal lovers and it hurts us deeply when something like this occurs."
A next-door neighbor said she never heard Coco bark or growl at the officers. Sandra Orozco, 27, said she was awakened by seven police officers in her backyard around 4:30 a.m. The officers then jumped the wall between the two yards, she said. Orozco couldn't see the shooting while standing in her patio because the wall blocked her view, but she and her parents did hear two pops that she later learned were the fatal shots.
She said Coco was "always gentle" and played well with her 5-year-old daughter. De La Torre, teary-eyed and surrounded by photos of the dog, said that was one of the reasons she adopted Coco. She remembers first seeing him at the Lied Animal Shelter three years ago. While other dogs barked and jumped for attention, Coco didn't make a sound. "Coco just put his head right next to the door, looking for attention," she said. Coco let De La Torre's four Chihuahuas jump on him and bite his tail. When one of them became too rough, he gently nudged them with his paw.
With her 6-month-old daughter, Coco would set his face in her lap and she would pull on his ears. Coco didn't mind, De La Torre said. He was just happy for the attention. De La Torre and Fernandez don't believe Coco could have harmed the officer and are upset that the officers didn't ask before entering their backyard.
They also don't believe catching the suspect was worth jumping into their backyard and killing their dog. "I don't think it's right," De La Torre said. "It wasn't like he was a killer." Las Vegas police do not have official procedures for dealing with dogs because each encounter is different, Cassell said. Officers are just instructed to balance the risk to themselves and the public in such incidents.
They've been involved in other similar shootings. In 2005, while chasing a graffiti vandal, two Las Vegas police officers shot and killed one pit bull and wounded another that they encountered in the dog owner's fenced yard. Police said the animals chased the officers. In 2004, while responding to a burglary call, an officer jumped into a backyard and shot and killed a blue heeler-dingo mix that police said "charged aggressively" at the officer.
In both of those cases the department either paid veterinary bills or offered to pay cremation costs. They haven't done either in Friday's incident, according to Fernandez and De La Torre. While clutching Coco's blood-stained collar, Fernandez showed a receipt of $225.45 they had to pay to a nearby veterinarian to have him cremated after police took the dog to the clinic.
another heartbreaking example of why BSL is such a bad idea. this woman had a pet she loved so much she wants it buried where she will be and the uncaring dog killers just threw him away like trash. at least if they are going to accuse someone of this sort of "crime", and especially if they are unaware, they should be given opportunity to move the dog out of the jurisdiction that is carrying this ridiculous, discriminatory law. what would it have hurt to let her visit her pet while awaiting a court date? or to call and tell her that her pet was sick so she could arrange and pay for better treatment if she desired? This is a disgusting abuse of a supposed justice system designed to protect citizens from illegal behavior which could endanger society. This dog appeared to be no danger to anyone.
EAST PRICE HILL - After Paulette Evans' husband died, her son didn't want her to be alone, so he bought her a puppy named Rock. The brindle - a brown color - American Bulldog was precocious and friendly, filling the hole Evans had in her heart. "I just treated him like he was my baby," Evans, 54, said from her East Price Hill home. "Rock and I went everywhere. I slept with him."
Cincinnati officials, though, seized the dog last summer, insisting it was a pit bull terrier, a breed banned in the city. They took it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Cincinnati. Police charged Evans with three crimes involving the banned breed. While there, officials refused to let Evans visit the dog and didn't tell her the pet had died until weeks later, when she showed up in court to defend herself against the criminal charges.
Now, she's suing the SPCA.
"That was not just a dog. That was my companion," Evans said. She took the dog for rides in her car. He occupied the front seat. Neighborhood children would knock on her door asking to play with Rock. He was learning to play Frisbee and ball with them. "He'd tear their balls up but they had fun," Evans said.
Evans admitted she made a mistake leaving her house door open June 26 while trying to dry her just-cleaned carpets. That's when Rock, who she thought was sleeping, got outside. Evans, believing the dog still was sleeping inside, went to work. Later, she received a call from a neighbor alerting her that Rock was outside. She went home and saw Rock tied to a neighbor's fence. While untying the dog, the neighbor told her he was calling the SPCA about her pit bull. Police also were called.
Since 2003, Cincinnati laws ban pit bull terriers, viewing them as vicious and dangerous, unless they are registered with the city and have appropriate insurance. The city defines pit bulls as American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers or any dog that is a mixture of the breeds.
Evans objected, saying her dog was not a pit bull. The SPCA worker, unsure of the dog's breed, used his cell phone to take a picture of Rock and send it to his boss. When the boss ruled Rock was a pit bull, the SPCA seized him. "To him, it looked like a pit bull. It's the kind of thing where you know one when you see one," said Andy Mahlman, the SPCA's operations manager.
Police charged Evans with harboring a vicious dog, failure to obtain insurance on a vicious dog and failure to register a vicious dog. But Evans has a veterinarian's certificate listing Rock as a breed not banned by the city. The Colerain Animal Clinic lists Evans' dog as an American Bulldog on a 2008 document but later notes "Rocky is a mixed breed, primary breed American Bulldog."
"I was devastated. I'm screaming and crying," Evans said.
"In any way shape or form, we didn't think this was an (American) Bulldog," Mahlman said. The city created a task force that is studying the pit bull ban because of difficulty in properly and quickly identifying the breed.
For weeks, Evans said, she went to the SPCA's Northside facility to try to see Rock. She never was allowed. She went to court to fight the criminal charges against her. That's when she found out her 13-month-old dog had been dead a week. "I died right there. My heart broke," she said. Because of Rock's death, prosecutors dropped the criminal charges.
She hired attorney Elliott Stapleton, who took the case after seeing that the city "failed to produce any reason with substantiation" that her dog was a banned breed.
Mahlman insisted Rock died from canine parvovirus, a contagious viral infection that attacks a dog's digestive system lining and causes diarrhea - often bloody - and vomiting. "That's what we found in (Rock's) cage," Mahlman said of bloody diarrhea. Evans insists that can't be true because Rock was vaccinated against parvovirus by her vet - and by the SPCA when it seized him. Mahlman said the SPCA does vaccinate against parvovirus but it takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. Tests on Rock after his death were positive for parvovirus, Mahlman said. "I will be the first to say (parvovirus) does happen here occasionally," Mahlman said. "They can catch it here. There's no doubt about it." Parvovirus can kill a dog in as little as two days.
In the lawsuit, the SPCA denies any wrongdoing in Rock's death. Mahlman said the SPCA's kennel supervisor should have contacted him when Rock died so he could have told Evans. "I'm very sorry. I'm sorry it happened," Mahlman said of Rock's death.
Evans wanted to get Rock's remains to place them next to her husband's grave so she could be next to Rock when she dies. That won't happen. The SPCA contracts with an animal removal service that buried Rock in a mass grave.
ProvidedThe SPCA said that Rock was a pit bull and took him into custody after he was found outside last summer.
"I still had a right to find a home for Rock," Evans said through tears.
Her suit seeks monetary damages in excess of $25,000. It is next in court before Common Pleas Judge Steve Martin on March 17.
(Kenneth Craig, NECN: Southbridge, MA) - A dog is being credited with helping to save eleven people in Southbridge from a fire in a multi-family home. Firefighters say the dog woke up the people living there. Sadly the heroic dog didn't make it out alive.
The fire broke out early Wednesday morning. An eleven month old Pitbull named Chaos helped save 11 people from the the building.
Fire crews from five different towns battled the blaze for 90 minutes before they put it out. Family and friends are hailing Chaos the dog as a hero.
HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - A Hampton family is thanking their 6-month-old pitbull puppy, Tiger, for saving their lives during a fast-moving house fire.
The family says Tiger woke them up around 1:30 Monday morning as the smoke and flames spread across their house on Old Buckroe Road.
The parents and all three children escaped, but the fire destroyed everything they own.
As firefighters scrambled to put out the last of the hot spots, Rachelle Bradley stood there watching, dazed. Her two teenage children and nine-year-old nephew had also been inside when the fire started.
"Everything was in flames. All I could think was, 'Get the kids out!' I ran down the hall trying to get them out," cried Bradley.
Twelve hours later, in daylight, Bradley, still wearing her nightgown, got a sobering look at the charred shell of her home.
"How do we move on? We have nowhere to go. Our house is gone, all our belongings are gone, we don't know."
The entire family was asleep when the fire started, everyone but Tiger.
"And he was scratching on my door trying to get our attention. I opened my bedroom door to see what he wanted and I saw all the smoke."
Bradley made a desperate attempt to extinguish the fire herself.
"And my son grabbed my arm and said, 'Come on Mom. You can't save nothing. C'mon let's go.'"
As if losing their home was not bad enough, the family learned Monday afternoon that someone allegedly climbed into their burned house and tried to steal from them.
The Hampton Fire Marshall, Anne-Marie Loughran, says one of her investigators spotted 47-year-old Jacob Pritchett, Jr. trying to get away with a DVD player and about 35 CD's.
Loughran says Prichett jumped out a side window and tried to run off with the stolen goods, but Fire Investigator Gomes captured him and arrested him. Pritchett is now in jail charged with burglary, grand larceny and crossing a fire line.
The Bradley family has three days in a hotel room provided by the Red Cross, before they must find a new place to live. Tiger is alive and well with the family.
This girl obviously has good intentions and is doing some great things with her pet. However she appears to be a newcomer to the breed and criticizing people who use a chain/tether is just playing into the humaniacs' hands. I did weight pull, agility, obedience, conformation and therapy with my old dog Simon. I also put him on a chain and let him just chill sometimes. Being properly and safely restrained is not cruelty!
Pit bull owner fights the stereotypes
1/18/2009 Eyewitness News 4
Cassandra Garner says some people assume she is training her pit bull for fighting A North Valley woman says some people assume the worst when they see the rigorous exercise regimen of her pit bull terrier, Hachi. But the prize-winning dog isn't training for a fight.
About a year and a half ago, her owner, Cassandra Garner started entering her dog in weight pull competitions.
Garner says Hachi loves it. Plus, it's a way for the dog to burn off the extra energy pit bulls commonly have."The pit bull that doesn't get any exercise and is chained to his house all day, that is animal cruelty," Garner said.
Part of Hachi's exercise includes pulling a weighted sled along a trail in the North Valley. Garner said passing drivers have directed some strong language toward her.
"People drive by (saying) things that I probably shouldn't say on camera," she said. "People see (Hachi) doing strength training and they think, what else could a pit bull do--it must be to fight."
She said people have reported her to authorities because of their assumptions, and the responding deputies find nothing wrong.
"They are all very professional, very apologetic, sorry for wasting your time," Garner said.
Despite the distractions, Hachi has grown into a champion, claiming multiple ribbons at competitions across the country.
"The competition she went to this past weekend, she actually had most weight pulled by pulling 2,760 pounds," Garner said.
Garner said she has had her dog's health checked out and has papers certifying the pit bull's hips, heart and thyroid gland are healthy enough for the dog to compete. Now Garner is trying to convince everyone else her dog is doing what she loves.
"I think that if they just stopped for a second and looked at the situation, that they wouldn't have such a negative feeling towards it" she said.
Yet another example of the rush to judgement of law enforcement being led by the nose by the "humane" societies that juries and judges are seeing through over and over when people have the intestinal fortitude and resources to see these cases through.
NOT GUILTY!: Dunklin County jury finds Tennessee man innocent of all charges in dog fighting case
Friday, January 16, 2009 George Anderson
Following his trial on Thursday, Curtis Pickering, left, was greeted by family and friends in celebration of his victory after being found not guilty on two felony charges related to dog fighting. Staff photo by George Anderson
Tears of joy streamed down the face of a Tennessee man's relatives following a Dunklin County jury's "not guilty" verdict in a dog fighting case on Thursday evening.
Going into the trial, Curtis Pickering, 29, of South Fulton, Tenn., faced two class D felonies for allegedly possessing a dog to be used for dog fighting, and the intent to engage the dog in fights.
Pickering, and two others, Jamie Sifford, 29, of Dudley, Mo., and Jessey Short, 30, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., were arrested on Oct. 20, 2007, at Sifford's farm in Dudley after Stoddard County Sheriff's Deputies and members of the Humane Society of Missouri raided the home on County Road 481. During their search of the property, authorities discovered several items they believed were used in dog fighting and a case against Pickering ensued as an investigation began.
In court, attorneys Steve Walsh and Daniel Moore, both of Poplar Bluff, Mo, represented Pickering
Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Briney Welborn represented the state of Missouri.
Judge Scott E. Thompsen, of Bollinger County, presided over the case.
Welborn faced the task of proving to the jury that Pickering was guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." To prove his case, Welborn brought forth several pieces of evidence that were collected from the scene of Sifford's property, including two treadmills, a "bait cage," a "till death do us part" plate, a toolbox full of veterinary supplies, several "break sticks" - used to break a dog's bite, many books and magazines relating to dog fighting, a rope-spring - used to strengthen a dog's bite, bovine colostrum - used to enhance a dog's immune system, several weights and a pull harnesses - used to increase a dog's strength and stamina.
Welborn also showed a photo of a horse stable that had allegedly been converted into a fighting pit.
Members of the Humane Society backed up Welborn's evidence with descriptions of how the items could be used for a dogfight and were commonly found at dog fighting rings. Humane Society authorities also took blood samples from the fight pit, which, following a lab analysis was, in fact, canine blood.
The defense pushed the issue that all of the evidence came from the home and property of Sifford and was in no way related to Pickering. The defense also insisted that there was no physical evidence provided that could directly connect Pickering to the charges he was facing.
The major item tying Pickering to the ring was a large dog kennel that had Pickering's nickname "Boogeyman" written on the outside.
During an interview conducted by the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department following his arrest, Pickering stated that he had sold the kennel to Sifford and was in town to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship style fight in Dexter, Mo., and to pick up some dog food from Sifford's residence. Sifford was said to possess large quantities of dog food, available in bulk, according to defense attorneys.
Based on testimony, while interviewing with police, Pickering denied bringing dogs to Sifford's residence and denied fighting dogs. He maintained his innocence regarding the charges he faced throughout the entire case.
In its closing statements, the defense team insisted what it had throughout the entire trial, that there was no evidence that proved entirely that Pickering was guilty and that, "[Pickering] can't be found guilty by association."
The defense also said it would hope the jury in Dunklin County chose not to equate what the prosecution had earlier referenced as "earmarks of criminal activity", with "beyond a reasonable doubt."
After a daylong trial experience, the jury entered the jury room to deliberate at 5:29 p.m., and emerged with a "not guilty" verdict on both counts, shortly before 6 p.m.
With the "not guilty" verdict fresh in the air, Pickering said he was relieved and that he can now focus his attention on his next big trial -- parenthood.
"We're [about] to have a baby," Pickering said. "It's a huge stress off my family."
Short goes to trial in March. In July 2008, Sifford was sentenced to three years in prison on dog fighting charges and six years for a probation violation.
unfortunately, the Great Dane won the contest. Bonnie Hunt did have Ruby come out first and spent way longer with her than any of the others. After seeing the other two top contestants I thought Ruby was a shoe-in. There was a nice segment on how sweet and gentle Ruby's disposition was. They also talked about how she was not only in the Minnesota Animal Hall of Fame but was also a therapy AND service dog. They showed a picture of her riding on the plane with her owners. I think she also gets a lifelong supply of Milkbones and will be featured on some of the promotional stuff.
Pit bull a finalist in national 'spokesdog' contest
Submitted photo Pit bull Ruby Bettendorf, shown here with her "sister" Sadie Bettendorf, is one of three finalists for Milk-Bone's 25th anniversary "spokesdog" contest.
Thanks to the support of (Stillwater - sic) Gazette readers, local therapy dog Ruby Bettendorf was one of the top three vote-getters in a national contest to find Milk-Bone's 100th anniversary "spokesdog."
The pit bull and her owner Pat Bettendorf, of Scandia, recently traveled to Los Angeles to find out if they won the contest, which will pay the top dog $100,000 and fly them around the country to appear at promotional events. The results of the competition will be announced Monday on the Bonnie Hunt Show.
By this time you're probably tired of constant commercials and signs looking for your vote next month. But there's one girl who hopes you'll elect her to one big job. Her name is Ruby and she's a five-year-old pit bull.
Ruby the pit bull could soon add "SpokesDog" to her long resume. For the first time in its 100 year history Milk-Bone is picking a " SpokesDog", and of tens of thousands of pictures entered into the contest, Ruby is one of only 100 finalists.
Pat Bettendorf rescued Ruby five years ago. She was inducted into the Minnesota Animal Hall of Fame, worked with him at a radio station, volunteered as a therapy dog in nursing homes and even walked the red carpet before performing in a play.
"This is not atypical of her behavior. She's very typical of a true well-raised pit bull, " Bettendorf said.
Ruby could soon add "SpokesDog" to that resume. For the first time in its 100 year history Milk-Bone is picking a " SpokesDog". Tens of thousands of pictures entered the contest, and only 100 are finalists.
"I just never thought it would happen, I just never thought it, and, of course, Ruby, she's cool through it all," Bettendorf said.
Stops around the country and $100,000 come with the title, but before she makes it that far, like any good politician, the pooch is still perfecting her pitch.
"We're running a clean campaign. We're not going to besmirch anybody but, dang, she's awful cute," Bettendorf said.