Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colorado: Settlement reached in pit bull attack lawsuit involving 8 year-old boy Garrett Carothers

COLORADO -- Attorneys for the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department, former Deputy Tom Gaskins and the Carothers family settled out of court Tuesday, thus ending nearly seven year’s of court battles linked to a pit bull attack on 8-year-old Garrett Carothers in December 2002.

According to District Court documents, the Carothers family settled for $500,000, with $100,000 to be paid from the county coffers and $400,000 from Gaskins’ insurer — St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, a Travelers Company.

The case dates back to Dec. 23, 2002, when two dogs attacked the then 8-year-old Carothers while he was standing on the porch of a neighbor’s house in the Vista Subdivision.

According to sheriff’s department and SUN staff reports, the dogs dragged Carothers off the porch and into the street where they mauled him, inflicting bite wounds to more than 80 percent of the boy’s body, including severe lacerations to his head, ears and face.

After being dispatched to the scene, and after the mauling, Gaskins shot one of the dogs — a pit bull — when the animal lunged at him. The other dog, a Rottweiler-Retriever mix, was captured and voluntarily euthanized by David Martinez, the dogs’ owner.

According to court documents, Gaskins and the sheriff’s department faced charges linked to allegations of willful and wanton conduct and breach of contract.

According to the complaint, attorneys for the Carothers family alleged Gaskins was dispatched to the scene of a vicious dog call but did not respond immediately and, in fact, arrived after emergency medical services personnel had already taken Carothers from the scene.

In addition, the complaint alleged that the sheriff’s department had an agreement with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association to handle complaints of dangerous or threatening dogs but in actuality, did not have the proper equipment or personnel to do so.

Archuleta County Attorney Todd Starr said, “We, at all times, have denied those claims.”

Although Starr said attorneys on both sides were prepared to argue their cases over the course of a two-week jury trial, a settlement agreement emerged Sunday with the Board of County Commissioners ratifying the deal following an executive session with attorneys Tuesday.

Following the executive session, Starr said District Court Judge Gregory Lyman approved motions to dismiss the case and released the jury about 11 a.m.

“While we do have sympathy for the Carothers family, we firmly believe in the strength of our case. Today’s settlement was purely an economical decision and provides closure to both the Carothers family and the taxpayers for Archuleta County. May God bless Garrett as he moves forward in life,” the commissioners wrote in a prepared statement.

Carothers v. Archuleta County Sheriff
Colorado Court of Appeals, Div. C.
Rick CAROTHERS and Cindy Carothers, individually and as next friends and guardians of Garrett Carothers, Plaintiffs-Appellees and Cross-Appellants, v. ARCHULETA COUNTY SHERIFF and Deputy Tom Gaskins, Defendants-Appellants and Cross-Appellees.
No. 04CA0762, 04CA0998.
Decided: June 15, 2006

(Pagosa Sun - Oct 28, 2009)


Saturday, October 24, 2009

United Kingdom: Puppy mill owner Mary Ellen Collis, 51, pleads guilty to abusing her 99 St. Bernards

UNITED KINGDOM -- A boarding kennel owner who cruelly abandoned nearly 100 St Bernard dogs in squalor while she holidayed in Tenerife was jailed for 18 weeks today.

Mary Ellen Collis, 51, pleaded guilty to seven charges of causing unnecessary suffering to 85 dogs and one charge of failing to meet the needs of a further 14 dogs.

Collis, former owner of the Wardana boarding kennels near Brigstock, Northants., was charged after an RSPCA raid on the kennels on November 28 2008.

Animal welfare officers were tipped off by a concerned man, who left his mother's dog at the boarding kennels but could not contact anyone when he tried to check on the animal.

Wellingborough Magistrates' Court heard how officers arrived to find NINETY-NINE St Bernards living in the filthy cramped kennels while she sunned herself in Spain.

The animals, ranging from nine weeks to eight years old had no access to fresh food or water and were living in kennels covered in urine and excrement.

Many of the dogs were up to 30 per cent underweight with feces matted in their hair, eye and ear infections and sore and swollen feet.

One died soon after being discovered while another had to be out down by vets. 14 others subsequently died while the rest have now been re-homed by the RSPCA

Kevin McCole, prosecuting for the RSPCA, described how the dogs were found locked in four kennel blocks, the kitchen of the main house on the premises, and nine puppies were discovered in two pens in the garden.

He read out evidence from numerous vets who inspected the St Bernards after their removal from the kennels.

Mr McCole said: 'The defendant left the dogs on the premises while she went on holiday to Tenerife with her partner. There was nobody present on the premises and various people attended to find them empty and the dogs left on their own.

'In the end the situation got so bad that one concerned member of the public called the police and jumped the fence to find the animals in a terrible state.

'The dogs were suffering from severe and prolonged neglect and were very depressed. They were suffering with severe weight loss and had suffered for a considerable period of many weeks, if not months.'

When questioned, the defendant said she could not give a proper explanation as to how this came about.

RSPCA inspectors also discovered three cats and a number of other dogs boarding at the kennels who were in a better state than the St Bernards.

Ben Brown, mitigating, said his client apologised for her actions and had been driven to desperation after being declared bankrupt in May 2007. Mr Brown told the court that Collis had been taken on holiday by her partner to escape her difficult financial situation.

He said: 'She had left the premises because her partner could see she was at the end of her tether and very stressed because of her financial situation and decided to take her away for a week. She has bred dogs for around 30 years and has been nationally recognised by the Kennel Club in that time.

'She ended up in a situation where she couldn't afford vets' bills and got to a point where she couldn't cope so she buried her head in the sand.

'My client has been crucified by the media, is bankrupt, has lost her home and her business and can no longer hold her head high in the street - she has had to leave Northamptonshire.

'This is quite a fall for a once highly successful business woman who as she stands today has nothing - at 59 she has to rebuild her life again. 'She has shown genuine remorse and is truly sorry.'

Mr Brown added that Collis was now working for a temping agency and is earning £185 a week working in a Bon Marche store.

Chair of the bench Dr Robin Pugsley sentenced Collis to 18 weeks in prison and disqualified her from keeping animals for 10 years.

The dogs are recovering and will be up for adoption

He said: 'The custody threshold has been passed and sixteen dogs died as a result of that neglect. While you were on holiday the dogs were ordered by private individuals and two were even delivered while you were away.

'As a qualified veterinary nurse you were in a position to see how these animals were suffering but you did not make sufficient efforts to contact the RSPCA.'


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Illinois: Repeat animal hoarder Elizabeth Brown, 64, arrested again; puppy mill operator Nikima Wright, 36, given probation

ILLINOIS -- A judge issued an arrest warrant for Elizabeth Brown, 64, of Paxton, IL, after she failed to show up for an Oct. 9 court.

Will County authorities later learned that Brown had been charged Sept. 30 in Ford County with cruelty to animals and obstructing justice. That was five days after she pleaded guilty in Will County to animal cruelty and received two years' probation.

Will County sheriff 's police arrested Brown in January 2008 after they and Humane Society investigators seized 18 starving dogs from an unheated barn in Manhattan Township and the yard of an empty house that Brown owned in Joliet Township.

The animals were starving, thirsty and dirty. One dog lost part of an ear to frostbite. Another had a baseball-sized tumor and glaucoma. Authorities later removed 10 cats from the Joliet Township house.

Brown has a history of hoarding animals and has been charged and convicted of similar crimes in other Illinois counties, according to court records. 

Probation deal
On Sept. 25, Brown pleaded guilty, and the judge gave her probation.
Brown received that sentence because the dogs and cats were adopted by owners who now loved them, the judge said.

But Schoenstedt warned the woman that she couldn't have any pets of any kind. He also told her to report to her probation officer Sept. 28, warning Brown that if she didn't, he would send her back to jail and reconsider his decision.

Then Moore learned that Brown actually owned two cats at the time of her Sept. 25 sentencing hearing and didn't tell the judge.

And at the time of that hearing, Brown was the subject of a criminal investigation in Ford County, Moore wrote in documents that were filed in Will County court.

On Sept. 30, Brown was arrested in Ford County on charges of cruelty to animals and obstruction of justice, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, in another animal abuse case, a woman caught running a puppy mill at her Peotone home has pleaded guilty to abusing small dogs and been sentenced to 12 months on probation.

The judge also ordered Nikima Wright, 36, of 10047 W. Offner Road, to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Acting on a tip. Will County police arrested Wright in March 2008 after finding 49 small dogs in tiny stacked crates and cages in her home.

The dogs had not been fed or cared for properly and needed veterinary treatment, police said.

Wright gave police permission to remove the dogs from her home and take them to a shelter, but she later sued unsuccessfully to try to get them back.

Under terms of Wright's guilty plea, she cannot have any pets other than her two original dogs, must have those dogs sterilized and must submit proof every six months that they're getting proper veterinary care, according to court documents.

(Southtown Star - Oct 21, 2009)


Texas: Brenda Luellen (Brenda Kenney) sentenced for animal cruelty released on probation

TEXAS -- A San Angelo woman jailed for animal cruelty was released on probation Wednesday afternoon, according to Tom Green County jail records.

Brenda Luellen, 58, was booked into the jail June 19 after a county-court-at-law judge sentenced her to a year in jail and ordered her to pay $18,625 in restitution.

Luellen’s original charge of animal cruelty stems back to 2008, when city officials removed 69 dogs from her home on Kingsbridge Drive.

Cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

(Standard Times - Oct 22, 2009)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

South Carolina: Bryan Williams, 46, made his elderly mother and pets live in a house full of feces

SOUTH CAROLINA -- Bryan Scott Williams, a 46-year-old South Carolina man has been arrested after he neglected his mother so severely, she arrived at the hospital with maggot filled sores before passing away.

According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, deputies were notified after Williams brought his live-in mother, Carol Ruth Williams, to the hospital after finding her unresponsive on the family couch.

When hospital staff attempted to treat the 67-year-old woman, they noticed swollen red wounds on her body along with maggots that were found inside her wounds. The woman was transferred to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center where she died later the same day.

Williams explained to deputies that his mother hadn't been able to get off the sofa on her own in about a month. He went on to explain his mother used adult diapers as a substitute for using the restroom.

Deputies visited Williams' mobile home to discover a horrifying sight.... Enormous piles of trash filled the living room to a point where the floor could no longer be seen in most places. The bathroom was covered with black mold and the bedroom floor was covered with piles and piles and piles of dog feces.


"This is a tragic situation. It started as a case of neglect of a vulnerable adult and ended up costing her life," said Union County Sheriff, David Taylor.

Williams was booked into the Union County Detention Center on a charge of homicide by neglect. Bond in his case was set at $100,000.

(The Weeily Vice - Oct 19, 2009)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Florida: Robin Floyd, 53, and Lynn Floyd, 42, arrested on animal cruelty charges after starved horses seized

FLORIDA -- Two Century residents that own a horse-related business were arrested Thursday on animal cruelty charges after starving horses were found on their property.

Robin Brownie Floyd, 53, and Lynn Livingston Floyd, 42, both of Gilmore Road, Century, turned themselves in at the Escambia County Jail Thursday on charges of confinement of animals without sufficient food or water. They were released from jail on $6,000 bond each. They are due back in court in early November.

Panhandle Equine Rescue received a tip that several thin horses were being moved by the Floyds to Santa Rosa County, according to PER President Diane Lowery. She said the horses were being transferred to a Santa Rosa County residence and then moved out of state to a horse rescue in Georgia.

When PER investigated in September, they found three emaciated horses still on the Gilmore Road property.

“While this may seem like the right thing for them to do, we felt that the Floyds needed to be held accountable, since this is the second time that they have neglected their horses and then given them away”, Lowery said.

“This seems to be a pattern for them. Mr. Floyd is a local trainer and farrier and has owned horses for over 30 years, so he should know better. There is no excuse for someone with his knowledge to allow his horses to get in this condition.” 

Business tax receipt records on file with the Escambia County Tax Collector’s office show the Floyds do own an equine services business operated from a Gilmore Road address.


PER investigated a similar complaint about the Floyds in 2006, Lowery said.

Lowery said Robin Floyd transported nine of his horses to Santa Rosa County where one was in such poor shape that by the time it arrived, it had to be euthanized by a veterinarian.

She said six horses, including one carrying a foal, remain on the Century property. The Georgia group Horse Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund, Inc. has offered to take the horses.

“We would have taken in the horses, but the other rescue had already agreed to take them. It would have been difficult for us, since we are at full capacity with little donations coming in, but we would have found a way to help them had it come to that,” Lowery said.

( - October 16, 2009)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'Vicious' Dog Killed After Attack

OHIO -- Neighbors on the 200 block of Oberlin Avenue heard the screams of one woman, who was outside doing yard work.

They tell News Center7 that a dog, described as a “large black dog,” chased the woman to her porch, where she was able to run to safety.

“This dog looked like a horse coming towards me,” said the woman, who wanted to remain nameless.
After the alleged attack, neighbors picked up the phone and called 911.

Montgomery County deputies were called out to Jefferson Township Tuesday night on those reports of a vicious dog.

Deputies were searching the area for the dog, when they said the dog ran out of a fenced area and lunged at a deputy.

In a split-second decision, Sgt. David Statzer said the deputy was forced to react.

“The dog charged him. He was defending himself and had to shoot the dog,” said Statzer.

The dog died, but Statzer said the neighbors did the right thing by calling law enforcement to handle the situation.

The owner of the dog was cited for one count of failure to maintain the dog on their property and two counts of having unlicensed dogs.

No people were hurt from the attacks.

(WHIO - Oct. 13, 2009)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Maine: Carol Murphy, 65, convicted of animal cruelty, uses Taser on state trooper

MAINE -- Police say a 65-year-old New Sharon woman assaulted a state trooper with a 975,000-volt stun gun during an investigation into possible animal hoarding at her house on Lane Road.

Carol Murphy pleaded not guilty in Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday to assault on an officer, criminal threatening, refusing to submit to arrest and criminal use of an electronic weapon. She was being held at the Franklin County jail on $10,000 cash bail or $100,000 worth of real estate.

State Animal Welfare Program staff and Maine State Police seized at least 40 domestic and farm critters, including a donkey, two alpacas and a pot-bellied pig, at Murphy's house on Thursday.

"We found a lot of animals," Animal Welfare Director Norma Worley said. "Forty at minimal; maybe more."

Murphy is under a court order that bars her from keeping animals at her home.

In 2004, nearly 70 animals were seized from her property, most of them living in her house and garage.

In 2005, she was convicted of animal cruelty and possessing animals without permits. Murphy was sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 24 hours suspended, and one year of probation. She was fined and ordered to pay restitution, as well as prohibited from possessing any animals for the rest of her life.

State Trooper Aaron Turcotte, who was not seriously injured by the shock to his head and neck, went to the house Wednesday after a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked police to check on Murphy.

Turcotte wrote in an affidavit that when he arrived at the house he saw several roosters walking around outside and Murphy walking toward her car. He told her he had a warrant for her arrest and asked if she needed to lock her home. She shook her head and walked into her house, he wrote. The warrant was issued for unpaid fines and fees in connection with the animal cruelty conviction in 2005.

After Murphy had been inside for five minutes, Turcotte said he opened the storm door and knocked on the inside door and it partially opened.

This horse is barely alive

"I could smell a strong odor of feces coming from inside the home," he wrote. "I could hear what sounded like several dogs barking from inside."

When Murphy finally came out with her back to him, Turcotte held the door for her because he thought she was having some difficulty.

"At this time, I felt something striking my face and neck, jolting me," he said, and he saw a black object in her hand. "I could then hear the noise being made from the black object and realized I had been shocked by a stun gun on the face and neck," he wrote.

Turcotte said he ordered Murphy to drop the stun gun, which she refused to do and began to advance on him. He used pepper spray on her and grabbed her by the arms, pulling her to the ground. She continued to resist, but he was able to handcuff her, he said.

Murphy was arrested and taken to the Franklin County jail in Farmington on Wednesday. Her house was watched through the night by state police, Trooper Samuel Tlumac said from the road in front of Murphy's property on Thursday.

A donkey could be heard braying and a dog was barking. There were roosters in a pet carrier in the driveway.

State veterinarian Christine Fraser carried a large animal crate to the house from a vehicle parked on the road. The animals were to be taken to shelters around the state, Worley said.


(Sun Journal - Oct 6, 2009)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Jersey: Cliff Zager's wolf hybrid attacked and killed a cat; fourth time his hybrids have been loose

NEW JERSEY -- Holland Township police continue to search for a wolf dog that escaped with five others on Wednesday and was hit by a vehicle on Route 519 in front of Dutch Hill Market.

Six of the hybrid animals escaped Wednesday morning through a damaged portion of their pen on Spring Garden Road.

As of 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, all but one had been captured, but not before one of the wolf hybrid dogs had mauled and killed a cat, police say in alerts posted on the township Web site.

Upon completion of the investigation, charges will be filed, according to the police Web site.

The lone remaining escapee was struck by a vehicle about 9:40 p.m. Police and Cliff Zager, who owns the wolf dogs, searched a nearby cornfield, but could not find the animal. It was last seen about 8 o'clock this morning  in the area of the Farmhouse Inn. The severity of the animal's injuries is unknown.

Township police Sgt. John Harris said Wednesday this is at least the fourth time the wolf dogs have gotten loose in the past few years.

The dogs are the subject of a proposed ordinance in the township. But Zager, who owns 14 wolf dogs, thinks the township has a personal vendetta against him.

(Lehigh Valley Live - Oct 1, 2009)


West Virginia: Clint Casto starved one horse to death and starved a second horse nearly to death, say police. But Casto got the charges dismissed on a technicality. Worse, he wants the horse he nearly starved to death back

A dead horse almost completely decomposed found locked in a stall

A second horse was locked inside the next stall and was completely emaciated and barely able to stand

WEST VIRGINIA -- A case against a former House of Delegates candidate charged with animal cruelty has been dismissed, and the man accused of starving his horse hopes to get the animal back.

Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Tod Kaufman dismissed the case against Clint Casto, 30, of Charleston for lack of evidence. Casto's trial was scheduled to begin this week.

Casto was arrested June 15 after a humane officer found a dead horse in his Big Chimney barn and another horse that allegedly was starving. He was indicted by a grand jury and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The surviving horse was taken from his property and taken to a Tornado rescue farm where it has regained its health.

Last week, Casto's attorney, Troy Giatras, made a motion that the surviving horse had been taken illegally from his property without a search warrant

This is where the article ends because I don't have a subscription. I would hope the officer argued that the animal was in imminent danger of death and that that superseded needing a warrant. However, since the judge dismissed the charges due to "lack of evidence", he must've disagreed that the horse needed immediate care and thrown out all evidence obtained - including the dead horse and the dying horse.

Clint Casto was not found "not guilty" of animal cruelty. 

(Charleston Daily Mail - October 1, 2009)