Friday, July 31, 2015

Ohio: John Ward, 48, and Lori Ward, 42, get probation after locking animals inside feces and urine-covered mobile home

OHIO -- A husband and wife charged with animal cruelty both entered plea agreements in the Hillsboro Municipal Court on Friday.

The Times-Gazette previously reported that John Ward, 48, and Lori Ward, 42, both of Hillsboro, were charged after numerous dogs and cats were allegedly found in “extreme unsanitary conditions,” according to an affidavit.

Both pled guilty to the second-degree misdemeanors. The state recommended suspended sentences on the condition that they forfeit the animals and possess no animals during their probation periods.

Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna described “the conditions of this place – I wouldn’t call it a home” as “pretty disgusting.”
The affidavit states that “upon entering, the smell was overpowering” and that the group “had to vacate the premises several times due to burning eyes and not being able to (breathe).”

The affidavit adds that the trailer “was at least 90 percent feces and urine from the dogs and cats, not only on the floor but on counters, furniture, etc.”

The dog warden further describes the state of the trailer, including that “one small dog was in a small wire crate with at least seven inches of urine and feces covering the entire bottom of the cage floor,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit adds that two other dogs were “found in a closed room … standing on top of plastic crates to get off the floor which was covered in both feces and urine.”
He asked John Ward: “Why’d you do this? … Do you hate these animals?”

“No,” he said.

“But you didn’t do anything about it except make it worse,” McKenna told him.

The judge asked Lori Ward if she had been living in the same residence as the animals. She said that she and her husband were, at times, living there and spending the night.

She added, “I do a lot of stuff for my church.”

McKenna then said, “Well, you don’t have to worry about taking care of pets for a long time.”

He added, “Maybe you should look into raising flowers.”

Ninety-day jail sentences were suspended on each case with the conditions of the agreements. Also suspended were $750 fines.

The Wards will each have to complete 80 hours of community service. They will be on non-reporting probation for five years, which, according to McKenna, is “as long as I am allowed” to place a defendant on probation.

(Times Gazette - July 31, 2015)


Danbury pet shop owner, Richard Doyle, charged with animal cruelty

CONNECTICUT -- A pet shop owner in Danbury has been charged with animal cruelty after two animals had to be put down.
Police said Richard Doyle, 55, of Mahopac, NY, owns the American Breeders pet shop on Federal Road and two others in New York.

They said they began investigating Doyle after an employee complained in March that animals were being mistreated.

One of the allegations claimed that Doyle performed a surgical procedure on the eye of a Neapolitan Mastiff when he is not licensed to do so. The dog sustained severe bleeding after the procedure last March, which Doyle allegedly performed in the rear of the pet shop.

Police said the employee gave them photographs documenting the dog's condition. She said she was made to treat animals and administer shots when she also is not licensed.

Doyle is also accused of confining a seriously ill exotic kitten and not giving the animal help from a vet, so police said it needed to be euthanized.

He's also charged with failing to provide proper care to a sick shih tzu puppy that needed help back in April.

He'd brought the animal to Danbury from one of his New York stores and left it in the care of an employee, police said. Without proper treatment for vomiting, diarrhea and coughing, police said the puppy also had to be euthanized.

Doyle was arrested on Monday through a warrant.

Police said he was released on a promise to appear in Court on Aug. 6.

They said animal cruelty charges are also pending against one of Doyle's store managers, Kathy Seton.

(WFSB - July 30, 2015)

New Mexico: Vicious dog case gets pushed back again

NEW MEXICO -- A woman whose three dogs attacked a Ventana Ranch man and killed his dog while they were on a walk last April was supposed to face separate criminal charges Wednesday alleging she allowed two of her dogs to run loose several weeks after the attack.

But the public defender representing Maria Escamilla said he wasn’t prepared to go to trial, and Metro Court Judge John R. Duran agreed to continue the case until Sept. 15 – even though witnesses were in court and ready to testify.

Duran postponed the case, noting that the defense lawyer was “busy.”

Escamilla, who was also in the courtroom, is facing two counts of unlawfully allowing an animal at large. Instead of a jury, the judge was to hear the case. The role of prosecutor is being handled by the animal welfare supervisor who filed the charges.

The April 27 attack on Jack Cash and his dog, Duncan, prompted the city’s Animal Welfare Department to file an initial criminal case against Escamilla that is set for trial Aug. 21 before another judge.

In a related administrative proceeding, the city declared Escamilla an irresponsible dog owner after her dogs killed the Maltese and bit Cash, who said he also suffered a shoulder injury from trying to save his dog.

The criminal case related to that attack includes charges of keeping an animal known to be vicious and liable to attack human beings.

The second criminal case arose after Cash and his girlfriend, Jennifer Braziel, went back to the scene of the attack, near Escamilla’s house on Acton Court NW, on May 4 to take photos.

The couple reported to Animal Welfare officers that they saw a woman exit the home to take out trash. Two dogs from inside the home walked outside behind her. One of the dogs was a pug, and the other was a boxer; both were unleashed, the couple reported.

Duncan, who was fatally attacked
April 27 on a neighborhood walk, was
described as “10-1/2 pounds of fluff and love.” 

Under city ordinance, animals aren’t supposed to be off a leash, even if accompanied by an owner.

Animal Welfare Lt. Chris Romero told the Journal on Wednesday that a photo the couple took of the unleashed dogs was enough to establish probable cause to file the criminal charges against Escamilla, who has pleaded not guilty.

Two of the three dogs involved in the earlier attack on Cash were pit bulls, and the third was a boxer. Cash said it wasn’t clear whether the boxer he and Braziel saw on May 4 was the same boxer involved in the earlier attack.

Romero, Escamilla, Cash and Braziel all appeared for a trial on the charges Wednesday only to learn that assistant public defender Maxwell Pines wasn’t prepared to proceed. Pines said he hadn’t taken witness statements from Cash and Braziel.

Romero told the judge that discovery materials were furnished to the Public Defender’s Office on July 2. Duran, noting how “busy” Pines was, agreed to the continuance.

The Ventana Ranch attack prompted complaints from neighbors who demanded the three offending dogs be permanently removed from the home.

Jack Cash, pictured with his dog Duncan, questions why the
dogs that mauled the 2-year-old Maltese were returned to their home. 

That hasn’t happened, partly because there was no history involving the dogs or Escamilla in Animal Welfare files. City officials, meanwhile, are considering ways to strengthen the law.

The city also has declared the three Escamilla dogs as dangerous, which requires they be kept in a secure area and on a leash when outside the home.

Escamilla testified in the administrative case that she didn’t consider the three dogs involved in the fatal attack to be vicious.

(ABQ Journal - July 30, 2015)


Ohio: Sisters to complete 1000 hours of community service for starving their dog to death

OHIO -- State of Ohio v. Christina Davis and Delores Davis, a case prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Delores Davis and Christina Davis, sisters, were charged with one second degree misdemeanor count related to the starvation death of their dog. The dog was found deceased and emaciated in their yard.


The sisters stated they relied on neighbors to provide them with free dog food. The dog's bowls contained only filth and leaves.

Each defendant pleaded no contest to the charge. They must each complete 500 hours of community service and 5 years of active probation, during which time they cannot own animals and are subject to the APL’s monitoring. 90 days in jail were imposed, and suspended. They will pay court costs.

(Holland & Muirden, Attorneys at Law - July 31, 2015)

Pit bulls return to chase, attack, maul and kill farmyard animals

AUSTRALIA -- Two dogs have raided an animal pen at a popular cafe and restaurant in the lower Blue Mountains and mauled a number of farmyard pets to death.

Barney the sheep and four chickens were killed when the dogs, believed to be Staffordshire terriers, dug their way into the animal pen, located on the grounds of 2773 in Glenbrook, late on Tuesday night.

Two pet pigs, Missy and Morris, were also mauled but survived the attack, which police said took place just after midnight.

Blue Mountains City Council said it was the second time the dogs had been involved in a fatal attack on an animal this year.

In May, the same dogs killed a goat, a spokeswoman for the council said.

Dave Clark, the restaurant manager at 2773, said the farm animals were popular with children and their families who visited the premises on Ross Street.

Staff were now contemplating how to explain to the children why some of the animals had disappeared, and why the pigs were injured.Adrienne

"The animals are a huge part of what we have here. The families and kids interact with them," Mr Clark said early on Wednesday.

He said the chickens were "decimated, they were destroyed".

"The pigs were mauled pretty badly last night, too. They're alive, I can see them moving, although they're not very mobile this morning," Mr Clark said.

"Missy has got puncture wounds on her hind legs where they've really held her down, and a puncture wound in the middle of her back, quite bad.

"Morris, because he is bigger, has tried to fight them off. He has got wounds around his snout and on his back legs. She is nudging him now. He has got his ears up; he's OK, but he is not moving."

The pigs were treated for their injuries on Tuesday night, and a veterinarian will return on Wednesday to provide further treatment, he said.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said a neighbour on Ross Street heard noises coming from the cafe just after midnight and went to investigate.

The woman told police she saw two dogs attacking the pigs and yelled at them to stop. The dogs backed off, and the woman called police.

Mr Clark said he received a call just after midnight to say the animals had been attacked. When he and the cafe owner arrived at the cafe, the two dogs were still in the animal pen.

"They had forced their way in but couldn't get out again," he said.

He said a council ranger arrived and read the dogs' microchips and contacted the owner, who came and collected the dogs.

Mr Clark said the dogs' owner was "devastated" and "shaken up".

"We're obviously very upset about our animals. What do you do? We don't want to make that decision  [about what happens to the dogs]. Of course we're upset, but you know, it's got to be the call of the police and the council."

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the dogs had been secured, and the Blue Mountains City Council would work with the dogs' owner to determine further action.

The council said in a statement that the dogs' owner "is known to [the council] due to a previous incident in May 2015". The dogs are declared "menacing" in accordance with the Companion Animals Act 1998, the council said.

The dogs are in the possession of their owner while police and the council determine what action will be taken.

(Sydney Morning Herald - ‎Jul 28, 2015‎)

Parents of little girl mauled by Akita find out it had previously mauled the owner's grandson

OHIO -- A 5-year-old girl mauled by an Akita required more than 200 stitches, family members say.

But it wasn’t the first time the dog attacked a child. Now, her parents are questioning the state’s dog laws.

Adara was bitten Tuesday while she was with her mother, Gretchen Smith, visiting a friend on Groop Road near Springfield.

“I’m on the computer, I hear some growling,” Smith said. Then, “I’m screaming, no, no, no, no, no.”

Adara had seven lacerations, from 2 to 4 inches long.

You could actually see her scalp and skull,” Smith said.

The dog apparently has a previous bite history.

“I had no idea that this dog previously bit the grandson of the owner’s face and gave it 42 stitches, and they never put it down then,” Smith said.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded and took a report, but could not seize the dog because the attack happened inside its home. The previous incident involved a family member, so authorities didn’t need to step in.

“Because of the extent of the injuries, we are going to deem the dog vicious,” said James Straley, director of the Humane Society Serving Clark County.

However, there is a question whether the laws apply when the incident happens inside, Straley said.

“We’re trying to figure out whether the dog can be under control or out of control while in a house with a family member there and with an invited guest, that’s where the legal snafu is.”

The case now is in the hands of prosecutors to decide whether to file charges or seek to euthanize the dog. Meanwhile, the dog’s owner wants to keep her pet.

Michael Sullins, the girl’s stepfather, and Smith said they don’t agree with the family keeping the dog.

“I think he needs to be put down,” Sullins said. “They’re still standing up for the dog, saying it wasn’t his fault.”

(WHIO - ‎Jul 29, 2015)

United Kingdom: Police searching for person who put newborn kittens in bag and threw them into the trash

UNITED KINGDOM -- The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information following a ‘disgusting case of animal cruelty’ when five newborn kittens were left for dead in a at a rubbish tip in Fife.

The animal welfare charity was alerted after a member of the public came across the cats, which were only hours old at the time, dumped in a bag at Lochhead Landfill Site, in Dunfermline on Tuesday.

Tragically three of the kittens died in the ordeal.

The two surviving kittens were transported to the charity’s animal rescue and rehoming centre at Peterden near Dundee, where they have been successfully bonded with an adult cat who has recently given birth.

Animal rescue officer Joanna McDaid said: “This is a disgusting case of animal cruelty. The helpless kittens were only hours old and found with their umbilical cords still attached.

“They were cleaned up, checked by a vet and fed before being wrapped up warm.

“Abandoning an animal is a very serious offence, but to do so by callously dumping newborns like rubbish and leaving them to die is extremely cruel.

“We also have concerns for the mother cat as we do not know what has happened to her.

“I am urging anyone with any information to please come forward.”

Abandoning and causing an animal unnecessary suffering is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.

(Evening Telegraph UK - July 31, 2015)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rhode Island: Police looking for pit bulls that attacked llamas

RHODE ISLAND -- The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and animal welfare investigators are looking for a pair of dogs, believed to be pit bulls, which attacked llamas in High Falls.

According to the llama’s owner, who asked not to be identified, the attack occurred around 1:45 a.m. on July 23 when she was awakened by the shrieks of one of the animals.

When she went outside, she said, she spotted her llama on the ground with a dog on top of it. Another dog joined in the fray when she grabbed a shovel to defend the llama.

“They were working together,” said the property owner. “Like a well-oiled killing machine.”

The woman said the dogs turned their attention to another llama and continued the attack until her husband shot one of the animals with a .22-caliber rifle. The dogs ran off leaving two llamas with serious lacerations and deep-tissue wounds.

Sheriff’s deputies followed a blood trail into nearby woods but were unable to find the dogs.

The property owner said both dogs were silver-and-gray pit bulls wearing matching purple body harnesses with red reflectors. She said the animals appeared to be well cared for.

Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said deputies had asked local vets to be on the lookout for the dogs and conducted a canvass of local dog licenses and animal attack reports. So far, he said, they had not turned up any leads.

Van Blarcum added that the Ulster County SPCA is assisting with the investigation. Anyone with information about the dogs is asked to call the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office at (845) 338-3640.

(Hudson Valley One - July 29, 2015)

South Carolina woman's arm ripped off by her beloved pet pit bull

SOUTH CAROLINA -- A North Charleston man’s pit bull attacked his wife Sunday and tore her arm off.

Katherine Rizk, 48, of Ayscough Road, is “not doing well” after her arm was amputated from the elbow down, according to her husband Mahmoud Rizk. She remains in the intensive care unit at Medical University Hospital.

“It’s been awful,” the 30-year-old said. “She’s devastated, very upset and she’s in shock.”


The dog, named Tiger, was euthanized Monday by the Charleston Animal Society after Rizk voluntarily surrendered him, according to a police report. The organization declined to comment about the incident.

Rizk said he had Tiger for three years, since he was a puppy, and that the pet had never been aggressive before. He said Tiger had been on a golf course earlier Sunday and was cut, and speculated the dog snapped after his wife pressed on the wound while petting him.

“I was shocked,” he added. “Afterward, my priority was just to get him out of the house.”

Katherine Rizk was at their home in Wescott Plantation while her husband was gone, which is when the dog attacked. Officers responded just after 10 p.m. and found the white-and-brown dog with blood stains on his mouth and lower body, according to the report.

One officer distracted the dog, while another rushed to Rizk, who was on the sidewalk, to apply a tourniquet to her arm. The officer who tended to Rizk declined Monday to comment about it.

He described in the report that the damage to Rizk’s left arm was almost up to her armpit, and that she was losing a lot of blood. Witnesses helped the officer, with one tending to the woman’s head and another applying another tourniquet to her legs, where she had more injuries.

It was also a witness who called 911 in an attempt to help Rizk after hearing her screams for help while walking his Labrador retriever. Hugo Montoya said he lives around the corner from the Rizks but doesn’t know them personally. He expressed concern during a Monday phone interview about Rizk after what he saw.

“That was like a terror movie,” he described. “The dog was pulling her body like it was a toy.”

He said Tiger dragged Rizk around three houses and that it only took a few minutes for emergency responders to arrive, but “for me that was an extremely long time.”

“It was so terrifying,” Montoya said. “I couldn’t believe her own dog would do those things to her. I need to remove that scene from my brain.”

It wasn’t until another man drove by, stopped and threw a guitar stand at the dog that he released Rizk from his clenched jaw. Montoya said he thought the pet would attack everyone around, but instead retreated into the home.

Officers were able to lock the dog in a bedroom until Animal Control arrived, according to the report. Mahmoud Rizk arrived a short time later and initially declined to relinquish the pet. Tiger was in Rizk’s custody overnight until he gave him up the next day.

He said Monday that his wife hopes to get a prosthetic arm and that they hadn’t been told yet when she would be released from the hospital. Katherine Rizk wasn’t feeling well enough to comment.

(Post and Courier - July 28, 2015)

Kansas City police, animal control rescue dog from hot car in Famous Footwear parking lot

MISSOURI -- The Kansas City Police Department and Kansas City Animal Control rescued a small Chihuahua dog from a hot car.

Police say the dog was rescued at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of a Famous Footwear.

The dog was treated at a local PetSmart location near Missouri 152 and Church Road. It was later transferred to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital

The dog is fighting for its life, an employee of the store told 41 Action News.

An adult at the scene was issued a citation by animal control, according to police.

(KSHB - Jul 25, 2015)

Hawk rescued after cannonballing into pool

MASSACHUSETTS -- A hawk in Massachusetts was treated to an impromptu salon day after it fell into a pool.

Ken Buzzell was mowing his lawn on Thursday evening when he noticed something unusual—a hawk in his pool. The Merrimac resident used his pool’s leaf skimmer to rescue the raptor while his wife Kathy called Animal Control.

The problem is, Animal Control in Merrimac isn’t equipped to handle wild animals, according to a statement from the Merrimac Police Department. But it was after hours, so Animal Control Officer Lisa Young stepped up.


“The bottom line is we live in a small town and you do what you’re supposed to do,” she said in the statement. “It doesn’t matter what time it is, or what it entails. We pride ourselves on being able to help our residents whenever they ask for it.”

When Young arrived almost two hours later, the hawk was still shivering from its dip in the deep end. Although it was standing and didn’t appear to have any injuries, it had hypothermia.

Young used a hair dryer provided by Kathy to warm up and dry out the sopping bird. They covered it with blankets inside a dog crate for the night.

When Kathy opened the crate the next morning, the hawk took flight.

“He flew like he’d never skipped a beat,” Young said. “If it weren’t for the immediate action of the Buzzells, the hawk probably would not have made it.”

( - Jul 25, 2015)

“It’s not the practice of the Missouri Department of Conservation to pass problem animals on to other people”: This is the excuse the MDC used for killing a young nuisance bear rather than offering to a sanctuary who insists they could've found a home for the bear 'within an hour'

MISSOURI -- An animal sanctuary organization says it could have found a home for a nuisance black bear that Missouri game officials decided to euthanize Monday.

Scott Smith, manager of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Ark., said he already has seven bears in captivity and couldn’t take any more.

“But if they had called me, yes, we could have found it a home,” Smith said. “We are part of a group of 21 animal sanctuaries around the country — the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries — and I could have placed that bear with one of them within an hour.”

Smith said Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge had worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation in the past taking in several bobcats. Turpentine Creek focuses mainly on large cats, but has taken in six black bears and one grizzly bear in recent years.

In an email, MDC spokesman Francis Skalicky offered this response:

“It’s not the practice of the Missouri Department of Conservation to pass problem animals on to other people,” he wrote.

“The Missouri Department of Conservation doesn’t take wild animals that have become unresolvable human safety issues into captivity. Putting an animal down isn’t a step our agency takes lightly and it isn’t a preferred option. Euthanizing a problem animal is a last resort after all other options have been tried to make that animal return to the wild.”

Kellie Heckman, executive director of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, said her organization accredits sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek to make sure they are qualified to keep and care for wild animals.

Because there are so many black bears that are taken in as pets — and their owners can no longer care for them — Heckman said it can be difficult, but not impossible, to find long-term space at a sanctuary.

“We let our organizations do a lot of that activity, contacting each other so they know who has space,” she said. “It can usually be done within hours, but with black bears it’s not always easy.”

Smith, the Turpentine Creek refuge manager, said bear and mountain lion populations are increasing in both Arkansas and Missouri, and he hoped game officials would develop a better plan to deal with nuisance animals than euthanizing them.

Why couldn’t the Christian County black bear have been shipped to a zoo or relocated somewhere deep in a forest instead of being killed?

MDC’s decision to euthanize the healthy 250-pound black bear that had been fed by humans and lost its fear of people sparked more than 160 Facebook comments — many from people upset the bear wasn’t placed in a zoo or moved elsewhere.

But according to MDC bear researcher Jeff Beringer, relocating a bear that’s become used to getting food from humans poses a lot of problems.

“We don’t want to relocate an animal that’s just going to cause another problem elsewhere,” Beringer said. “If we relocated the bear and it ended up attacking someone, it’s now our fault.”

Beringer said finding a zoo or rescue facility willing to take a wild bear could be an option, if there were any openings available.

“Generally, what we run into is that there’s no room for it,” Beringer said. “I know it’s a feel-good situation to think you can just move it to a zoo, but it’s easy to say and hard to do.”

Mike Crocker, director at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, said the zoo already has two black bears and no room to accommodate a third.

“Black bears are not a high priority item because they are so common,” Crocker said. “From a conservation standpoint, there are other species that are of more concern to protect in a zoo setting.”

Crocker said the zoo acquired its two black bears when they were very young, including one that was rescued as an orphaned cub from a Missouri farm where cattle were trying to stomp it.

Because black bears readily reproduce in captivity, Beringer said there is no shortage of captive animals for zoos.

“An animal that’s been raised in captivity will do well in captivity,” he said. “It’s hard for a wild bear that’s been roaming in the forest all its life to suddenly have to adapt to a small enclosure at a zoo. Also if this was an endangered species, we’d look at the situation differently.”

The bear that game officials euthanized had been snooping around homes in southeast Christian County, and even walked partway through an open patio door at an elderly woman’s house, looking for food, according to MDC

Beringer said complaints about the bear prompted MDC to trap the animal and put it to sleep.

Although Missouri has no laws against feeding nongame animals like bears, Beringer strongly urged people not to because it causes the animals to lose their fear of humans and associate people with an easy source of food.

“The other thing is that when there’s a nuisance bear like this people start thinking that’s what all bears do,” he said. “But that’s not what wild bears do — only the ones that have been fed.”

(News Leader - July 26, 2015)

Dog thrown off Pompano Beach balcony expected to recover

FLORIDA -- A puppy that was thrown off a second-floor balcony in Pompano Beach on the Fourth of July is expected to make a full recovery.

The Lab mix is recovering at Coral Springs Animal Hospital.

Dr. Justin Fyfe said the puppy is lucky to be alive. Fyfe said she suffered scrapes between her eyes and bruising and scrapes on her legs.


Robert Noel, 29, was arrested on a charge of causing cruel death, pain and suffering to an animal.

According to the arrest report, Noel admitted to throwing the dog over the railing.

"I went crazy," Noel said in the report.

Noel said the dog, which belonged to a friend with whom he was feuding, wouldn't leave his apartment, "so he started to strike the dog" before throwing her over the balcony railing, the report said.

"The dog was located nearby, cowering and scared," the report said. "The dog had some bleeding coming from her nose."

Detectives said they are still investigating. It's not known when the puppy will be reunited with her owner.
(Local10 - July 8, 2015)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Iowa: Leo Nopoulos admits to torturing and trying to kill kitten for 3 HOURS. Judge gives him probation.

IOWA  -- An Iowa man who pleaded guilty to torturing his roommate's cat will not be going to prison.

Instead, 21-year-old Leo Antony Nopoulos was sentenced to probation after authorities say he tortured the animal for hours.

Video from last October captured Nopoulos throwing, punching and kicking the kitten for three hours. The abuse left the animal nearly blind in one eye.

According to police complaints, Nopoulos threw the cat against the ceiling, punched and kicked the cat, and hit the cat with a can of air freshener and a remote control.

Authorities called it a "horrific" case of animal torture.

Tom Colvin, the executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, says two years of probation is not enough. He wants Nopoulos to go to prison.

“We see the studies that basically connect someone that has the capability to do this to an animal, what can they do to people?” Colvin said.

Colvin said he has been working to draft a bill that would toughen animal cruelty and animal torture laws in Iowa. He plans to introduce it in the 2016 legislative session.

(KCCI - Jul 28, 2015)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Developing Story: Twice convicted cocaine dealer Christopher Pope Presa Canarios escape, attack woman

KENTUCKY -- Seven dogs released back to a Danville man last week and moved to Lincoln County escaped their kennels Monday, ran amok in a neighborhood and attacked a woman near Tom Hackley Road.
Numerous witnesses said the woman, identified as Loretta Stevens, 46, went out to her garden and was attacked by the dogs. Her own dogs reportedly fought back until law enforcement could arrive.

Stevens was airlifted to the University of Kentucky's Chandler Medical Center, where she is listed in fair condition.


Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger said Stevens sustained "very, very, very severe" injuries to her arm. He also said she sustained puncture wounds to her legs.

According to Folger, the dogs were able to escape their kennel by chewing through the bottom of the fence.

According to Dan Turcea, director of Boyle County animal control, five of the seven dogs were recovered and transported to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter Monday morning. Two dogs remained loose for some time. Folger said they were "actively searching for the dogs."

The dogs' owner, Christopher Pope, was not located.

"Chris Pope is nowhere to be found," said Turcea.

Folger said he hadn’t made contact with Pope as of 10:45 a.m. but he plans to charge him with harboring viscious animals.

Turcea said David Snyder, Lincoln Co. animal control, arrived on the scene, called Turcea and said he was unable to step out of his vehicle because of the large Presa Canario dogs.

At 3 p.m., Turcea confirmed that six dogs had been captured and were being housed at Lincoln animal shelter. One dog was shot and killed, according to Turcea.

Stevens daughter, Trivia Hebrocks, called from the hospital Monday morning, distraught, and said her mother "has lost half her arm."

Hebrocks said her mother "played dead" to get the dogs to stop attacking her and then called her own parents, who called 911.

"If she hadn't played dead, she would not have survived, I know it," said Hebrocks, who added that she was grateful because her 6-year-old son was supposed to be with Stevens Monday morning, but plans were changed.

Hebrocks said the family will seek justice.

"I want something done about this," said Hebrocks, who added that turkeys she raises on the property at 53 Julian Lane are still missing. Her two Great Pyrenees dogs that helped fight off the Presa Canarios were uninjured.

At 3 p.m., Hebrocks said her mother would keep her arm, although it is severely damaged.

"She's in quite a bit of pain," said Hebrocks. "And they are giving her rabies shots because there are no records of the dogs having had any vaccinations."

Hebrocks also said there are "paw prints" all over her body, where the dogs pinned her down.

Another area resident, Jennifer Foister Johnson, said the dogs tried to get inside her home as well.

In a court appearance last week, Pope, who was initially charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty related to the treatment of his 12 large Presa Canarios, was told by Boyle District Judge Jeffrey Dotson that he had until noon Wednesday to pick up the dogs.

The dogs had been housed at the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society since being removed from his custody.

According to Kathy Nelsen, director of the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society, Pope picked up the dogs in multiple vehicles and moved them to a residence on Tom Hackley Road in Lincoln County before the deadline.

In a plea agreement, Pope pleaded guilty July 2 to 12 reduced counts of mistreatment of a dog or cat under a county ordinance and agreed to pay $100 per count in fines, but that $1,200 will be probated for one year, meaning he won’t have to pay it if he stays out of trouble.

Pope also pleaded guilty to 24 violations for not having the dogs licensed or vaccinated, for which he was fined $360 plus court costs for a total of $543.


Pope also agreed to pay $5,810 in restitution to animal control and the humane society for picking up the dogs, housing them, vaccinating them and other related expenses. He paid half the amount July 9 per Dotson’s ruling and has six months to pay the remainder.

Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell decided to release the dogs into Pope’s care despite some public outcry and requests from “rescue” organizations to take the dogs. Campbell said in a recent interview that he made the decision because if Pope went to trial on the charges and was found not guilty, he could rightfully reclaim his dogs.

Ultimately, as Danville Police Chief Tony Gray noted during a July 6 “town hall” meeting, the dogs are private property and must be treated as such unless they are determined to be vicious.

Pope raised them at a home on John W.D. Bowling Court, where they became such a threat to neighbors that 12 of them were picked up by animal control April 21. Five were released into Pope’s care, while the other seven were retained and housed in the kennels at the humane society facility on the Danville bypass until they were released into Pope’s care Wednesday.

Three other Presa Canarios, which are said to be good guard dogs with proper socialization and training, were found dead when the Bowling Court house caught fire June 20. The decomposed remains of one of the dogs was found in a plastic tub while the remains of the other two were found in a bathtub.

No necropsy was conducted; therefore, the cause of death of the dogs was never determined.

A status hearing on the case is scheduled for Aug. 5.

(Central KY News - July 27, 2015)


More than 350 dogs seized from puppy mill in UK

UNITED KINGDOM -- An investigation is underway after GardaĆ­ arrested a man and two women in connection with alleged animal cruelty and neglect at a farm in Co Carlow.

GardaĆ­ launched the investigation in April after a joint operation with Carlow County Council and the ISPCA.

A total of 351 dogs and 11 horses were removed from the farm in Myshall at the time.


Most of the rescued dogs had chronic skin, eye and teeth problems, as well as matted fur.

Several of them had untreated injuries and badly infected paws from being soaked in urine.

The majority of rescued dogs were adult females – cocker spaniels, Siberian huskies, Yorkshire terriers, Bichon Frise crosses, Cavalier King Charles, and Shih Tzus – as well as large-breed puppies under the age of five weeks.


Most of the animals were brought to the ISPCA National Animal Centre in Longford, while others were taken to the ISPCA Equine Centre in Mallow and to welfare groups.

The three people arrested on Monday are in their 40s and were being detained under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act at Carlow Garda Station.

They have since been released without charge and a file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(U.TV - July 27, 2015)

Remember how Ohio repealed their pit bull laws? Dog, woman attacked by neighbor's 'rescued' pit bull

OHIO -- An Oldham Way woman was treated by Hudson Emergency Medical Services for a lacerated left hand after she said she was bitten by a neighbor's pit bull July 13 shortly after 8 p.m.

The pit bull also attacked a 25-pound cock-a-poo dog, Rudy, who belonged to another neighbor, according to the police report.

The woman required 10 stitches after she attempted to rescue Rudy from the pit bull. Rudy required 21 stitches for his wounds.

The pit bull's owner was charged with allowing an animal to run at large, a minor misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty July 21 at Stow Municipal Court. A trial date was set for Aug. 11 at 8:15 a.m. before Stow Magistrate John Clark.

According to the police report, the man said he was walking his dog when the dog wrestled away from him, slipping off his leash and attacked Rudy, who had run to the end of his driveway. The man said he repeatedly pressed the shock button on his collar, but it had no effect.

The report indicated the 70-pound pit bull's owners had adopted him in February from a rescue group in California. The couple told police the dog had not shown any prior aggression.

According to the report, the couple who owned the pit bull said they were in shock and felt horrible about the incident. They indicated they wanted to send the pit bull back to the rescue agency. The officer advised them they could not do that until the court decides what should happen to the dog.

(Hudson Hub-Times - July 26, 2015)

West Virginia: Rainelle Man, Donald Lee Adkins, beat his dog to death with a sledgehammer

WEST VIRGINIA -- A Rainelle man is facing charges after police said he beat a dog in the
head with a hammer, ultimately killing it.

Donald Lee Adkins, 55, told police he killed it because the dog had been sick for about a month, rather than seeking medical treatment.

Witnesses told police they watched him drag the dog down the street to his home after it
had collapsed.

Adkins has been charged with cruelty to animals.

(WCHSTV - July 25, 2015)

Austin Man, Bryan Michael Canchola, Who Allegedly Beat Boyfriend To Death Charged With Animal Cruelty For Strangling

TEXAS -- The 20-year-old Austin man accused of brutally murdering his 18-year-old boyfriend is also now facing animal cruelty charges for attempting to strangle the victim’s dog.

Last week, we told you about the murder of Stephen Roy Sylvester Jr., who was allegedly beaten to death by his boyfriend, Bryan Michael Canchola. Canchola apparently went into a drunken rage after the pair returned to their apartment from gay bars on Fourth Street, accusing Sylvester of cheating on him.

In addition to viciously beating Sylvester, Canchola tried to strangle the victim’s Yorkshire Terrier, Harlow, who is now recovering and staying with Sylvester’s family.

KXAN-TV reports:
Police said a roommate heard the couple in an argument after coming home from a night of drinking. During the argument, the roommate said he heard Sylvester’s nine-pound Yorkshire Terrier named Harlow yelp, as if in pain, and Sylvester yelled for the dog to be “let go,”
according to the warrant.

The roommate took Sylvester to the hospital. As he was leaving, he told police he heard Canchola say, “when you’re gone, you better hope I don’t find you dog…I’m going to kill it,” according the warrant.

Bryan Michael Canchola

Police later found Harlow, and the dog appeared injured. “She had bloodshot eyes, petechial hemorrhaging and was having difficulty swallowing,” according to the warrant. Police said the injuries are consistent with strangulation.

Sylvester will be laid to rest Saturday in his hometown of Marble Falls, outside of Austin, according to A GoFundMe page raised more than $12,000 for his funeral expenses.

(Towelroad - July 24, 2015)

Update On Chained Dog Set On Fire Because He Wasn't Potty Trained: Teen Charged With Animal Cruelty

INDIANA -- An Indiana man, whose teenage son was arrested after setting the family dog on fire, is now pleading to the public for help.

On July 13, Marion police officers arrived at a home in the 700 block of West 3rd Street. There, they met with Brian Cooper, who allegedly had a disturbance with his son, 18-year-old Brennen Cooper.

Officers reported smelling a wafting aroma of burnt hair upon arrival.


Reportedly, the son doused Bud, the family canine, with gas and set him ablaze while the animal was chained on the porch. The father said his son was frustrated that the dog was not potty-trained.

Brennan confirmed same with investigators.

Brian's girlfriend's daughters saw the chained dog on fire, helped put out the flames, and called a 911 operator.

The suspect in the burning of the dog says he must have misunderstood his father. He claims his dad expressed anger after seeing that the dog "messed" all over the home, and he and his siblings were not responsible. The younger Cooper claims his father said he hopes the dog runs away or gets run over.

"That’s when I went outside and did it. I’ve been really torn apart with, did I do the right thing?"

The father countered and said he considers the dogs members of the family, and he would "never tell his children" to go chain up a dog on the porch and burn it alive.

The elder Cooper said his son has a troubled past and recently came to live with him and his girlfriend weeks ago. He is pleading for some form of help, possibly psychological intervention, for setting the dog on fire.

"My concern was that if they let him go that he’d be mad enough to come back and possibly burn the house down with us in it. … I think he needs some attention. I think he needs to be looked at by some doctors because I love him, he’s my son,” Cooper said."

The son was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. He was booked into the Grant County Jail and held with bail at $1,000.

Meanwhile, Bud is recovering from first and second-degree burns to his stomach and legs. Through it all, he remains a loving -- and forgiving -- dog.

(Star Pulse - July 21, 2015)


Asked about a pit bull mix which attacked one of APL's volunteers, Jim Stone, director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health that runs the animal control center, blathers on about his admiration for APL

ILLINOIS -- Stewart, depending on who’s talking, is either a mutt in need of a home or a dangerous dog that needs to be euthanized.

One thing is clear. Stewart is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by an Animal Protective League volunteer who says that the pit bull mix bit him for no reason.

“I want no money,” says John Sanders, who suffered bites on his right arm last May after taking Stewart for a walk. “I’m not vindictive toward Stewart. I’m doing what I can do to try and keep the dog from attacking me or anybody else.”

According to a bite report taken by Sangamon County animal control after Sanders’ physician alerted the county, Sanders suffered “moderate, multiple punctures” that ranked three on a scale of one to six, with one being a minor scratch and six being fatal wounds. Sanders, who is acting as his own lawyer, wants a judge to order Stewart put to sleep.

The APL, on the other hand, wants someone to adopt Stewart, who is advertised on the agency’s website as a 49-pound pit bull mix .

From APL's page: Hi, my name is Stewart! I am a 6-month-old, 49-pound pit mix puppy. I am a friendly, happy-go-lucky guy. I would benefit from some training because I have some puppy habits like being mouthy when I play. But I am eager to please so you can teach me not to do that. I am working on my housebreaking and making good progress. Come meet me any day from noon to 5 p.m. at the APL!

“I am a friendly, happy-go-lucky guy,” reads the text of the ad that appears beneath a picture of the white-and-tan dog. “I would benefit from some training because I have some puppy habits like being mouthy when I play. But I am eager to please so you can teach me not to do that.”

Sanders, however, says that Stewart is more than mouthy. He says that he had walked Stewart two or three weeks before he was bitten and had concerns.

“He jumped at me, so I didn’t take him for (a walk) for a long time,” recalls Sanders, who had been an APL volunteer for a year. “I thought, ‘I’m going to try you again, boy.’”

Sanders said that Stewart had a special chain collar designed to tighten around the dog’s neck to help control the animal during walks. After walking Stewart, Sanders says that he took the dog to a secure pen, removed the collar and began tossing a ball for Stewart to retrieve.

After finishing with the game, Sanders said that he reached for Stewart’s collar to put it back on the dog before leaving the pen.

“I went to grab it…and he got me and just attacked the hell out of me,” Sanders says.

A dog that bites without provocation should be euthanized, Sanders says.

“I don’t know how you would train a dog not to bite someone again,” Sanders says.

APL officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Sanders went home before filling out a report. In an email to Sanders sent the day that he was bitten, Anne Sobala, APL volunteer coordinator, said that the agency needed the paperwork as a matter of protocol.

“Stewart is not in trouble, it is just APL policy,” Sobala wrote. “(U)ntil you fill out and sign the incident report, we won’t be able to allow you to volunteer at APL. You are a valued and longtime APL volunteer, but there are no exceptions to this rule.”

Sanders responded via email, saying that he was willing to fill out a report for APL and asking that the form be mailed to him. He also wrote that Stewart is dangerous and should be put to sleep.

According to county records, Stewart was put into quarantine at APL two days after Sanders was bitten. Dogs that bite are supposed to be quarantined until it can be determined that they don’t have rabies. Sanders wonders why the dog wasn’t quarantined at the county’s animal control shelter instead of APL facilities.

“That dog should have been taken to the county and detained, don’t you think?” Sanders says.

Jim Stone, director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health that runs the animal control center, said that he’s not familiar with the Sanders case, but the county doesn’t always take custody of a dog that has bitten.

The county, depending on circumstances, will allow a dog that has bitten to be quarantined at an animal shelter or an owner’s home if authorities believe the owner is a responsible person and especially if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies and has no previous history of biting or running loose, he said.

Stone said dog bite cases involve due process. And he said the county likely would not require the APL to relinquish a dog to the county.

“We don’t just take somebody’s complaint and say ‘This dog’s dangerous’ and say it’s going to be euthanized,” Stone said. “They (APL) know the circumstances, they’re an established, well-known, reputable facility. They understand this process, they understand the nature of dogs.”

Sanders says that he doesn’t like his chances in court, but will nonetheless take the case as far as he can.

“It’s hard to go up against the APL – you know the reputation they have, it’s such a great place and all this,” Sanders said. “And you know what? I never had a problem out there until the day that dog bit me.”

(Illinois Times - July 23, 2015)