Sunday, August 29, 2010

Georgia: Jonathan Hee convicted of animal cruelty after shooting his neighbor's dog

GEORGIA -- A Forsyth County man will be sentenced next month for shooting a dog.

Jonathan Griswold Hee was convicted Wednesday of aggravated cruelty to animals, reckless conduct, disorderly conduct and discharging a gun near a public street.

His attorney, Parker McFarland, said they have 30 days after his client’s sentencing to file an appeal.

“We haven’t discussed that yet,” McFarland said. “That certainly is an option my client will consider.”

The aggravated cruelty charge, which is a felony, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and the others carry a maximum three-year sentence.

Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn was pleased with the outcome.

“This verdict recognizes that the defendant’s actions were unjustified and irresponsible,” she said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Hee in September 2008 for shooting his neighbor’s 50-pound Labrador-beagle mix three times, wounding the dog’s neck, ear and chest. The dog, named Buster, survived.

The incident occurred on Green Summers Drive in the Green Summers subdivision in northwestern Forsyth.

According to a sheriff’s report, the dog ran out from his yard and approached Hee on the street.

Buster’s owner, Laura Hanson, chased the dog and grabbed his harness. In the report, she said Buster barked at Hee because the man was screaming at her.

Hee reportedly pulled a small-caliber handgun out of his pocket and aimed it at Buster.

The report said Hanson backed away and repeatedly said, “No please don’t.”

Hee told deputies he was defending himself from the dog.

(Forsyth News - August 28, 2010)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alabama: Puppy mill breeder Nannie Johnson, accused of keeping dead dogs in freezer, pleads not guilty

ALABAMA -- A woman accused of hoarding dozens of dead and live animals on her property went before a judge in Limestone County Wednesday morning.

63-year-old Nannie Johnson pleaded not guilty by reason of emotional defect at her bench trial. She is charged with 43 counts of cruelty to animals.

The defense told the judge they needed more time to review Nan Johnson's medical records.

"He has had her evaluated-- mental evaluation-- and he wants to have that presented to the judge along with some further medical evidence that he said he needs to some additional time to obtain," said Kristi Valls, Limestone County D.A.

The trial was continued until August 18th.

Investigators said Johnson had more than 40 dead dogs in a freezer at her Elkmont home. Dozens more were found alive on the property.

(WAFF - Aug 24, 2010)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Utah: Animal activists outraged over ‘slap on the wrist' punishment for Dayra Miller who starved dog and left him with urine burns and being eaten by maggots

UTAH -- Animal activists want people who abuse animals to face stiff fines.

Ann Davis, with The Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah, says the woman involved in a recent animal cruelty case got a slap on the wrist with a misdemeanor charge and a $200 fine.

"She caused this," says Davis. "This dog was probably outside on the side of her house for six to eight months."

"This is not an animal issue, it's an issue of cruelty. It's an issue of violence and it needs to be treated as such," said Ann Davis.

The dog's name is Gringo, an 8-year-old English sheepdog. A neighbor called Salt Lake County Animal Services to rescue the animal. Veterinarians found a hole in Gringo's hip filled with maggots.

"Underneath his wet, matted coat were burns from his own urine," says Davis.

Gringo eventually died of pneumonia.

Davis says Dayra Miller doesn't feel responsible for the dog's death because it was her boyfriend's dog and it's ultimately his responsibility to pay for vet bills.

Davis says she and others will call on Utah lawmakers in the next legislative session to beef up Henry's Law, the anti-animal cruelty bill passed in 2008. She says it's not doing enough to send a strong message against animal cruelty.

"This is not an animal issue," she explains. "It's an issue of cruelty. It's an issue of violence, and it needs to be treated as such."

But Davis also says in order to make the case to add more to Henry's Law, everyone needs to be on the same page with enforcing the law.

"It does need to be revised, but it needs to be enforced," she explains. "There are cases all over the place that are not being enforced."

Meanwhile, Davis says Henry's Law should include other animals like horses or rabbits because in a down economy dogs and cats are not the only animals vulnerable to cruelty.

(KSL - Aug 24 2010)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Family Pit Bull Attacks Girl, Grandfather

FLORIDA -- An 8-year-old girl is recovering after being attacked by her grandparents' dog.

It happened Saturday afternoon in Titusville.

 The grandfather heard the child screaming from his backyard. He ran back and saw that his pit bull - lab mix had his granddaughter's head in its mouth.

The dog then also attacked him. He said he got cuts on his arms and lower leg and foot.

The girl was covered in blood when firefighters arrived.

 She has puncture wounds along her hairline and cuts all over her leg.

 Investigators said the grandparents have had the dog for two years, but the little girl's family has moved in with them. Authorities think this upset the dog.

The dog is now with animal control.

 Thee girl and her grandfather are recovering at Parrish Medical Center but are expected to be OK.

(CFNews - August 22, 2010)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Girl, 8, requires 175 stitches in her face after being mauled in horrific dog attack

UNITED KINGDOM -- An eight-year-old girl needed 175 stitches in her face and head after she was mauled by a dog having been told by its owners it was safe for her to stroke.

Sky Barker was playing in Rastrick, West Yorkshire, last Thursday evening when she asked the owner of a fearsome Japanese Akita if she could pet the animal.

However horror struck when the dog - which was tied to a wall - leapt forward and  grabbed her head in its mouth as she approached.

Incredibly, a week after the attack the animal-loving youngster has said she doesn't want the vicious animal put  down.

Her father Brian Hackett, 33, told how Sky survived the horrific attack as she was able to roll out of the reach of  the tethered dog and the emergency services were called.

The eight-year-old was rushed to hospital for a four-hour operation and received 60 stitches  to the back of her head, 85 in her face and 30 inside her cheek, which could leave her scarred for life.

Mr Hackett was on his way home from his work as a joiner when he received a call from Sky's mother Amber Barker, 30, who he is separated from, telling him their daughter was in hospital.

He said: 'She is lucky to be alive. She was playing in a communal area opposite where she lives with her mum when it happened.

'Apparently the owners had only had the dog a couple of days so why would you let it be around children like that when you don't know if you can trust it?

'The first thing I knew about it was when her mum called me and told me what had happened, she heard Sky screaming and came running out. I rushed to the hospital and I was just horrified for her.

'I am so annoyed by what has happened, and not just because of Sky but I want to make sure that this dog doesn't attack anyone else now because next time they might not survive.'

Doctors have warned that it could be 12 to 18 months before Sky regains feeling and movement in her face, while she has only just managed to crack half a smile.

Mr Hackett, who lives with wife Karen, 38, stepchildren Jordan, 17, and Phoebe, 13,  and Sky's big brother Josh, 11, in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, added: 'We are trying to make her use the muscles in her face by making her smile as much as possible, and she is just managing to smile on one side of her face now.

'Sky is going to have to go through a lot of pain in the future because of this  attack, and I just don't want something like this to happen to someone else. 

'Since the attack I have seen the dog out on a lead with the owners and I want  to make people aware that it is still in the area.'

The Japanese Akita is considered to be one of the most dangerous dogs in  Britain, with numerous reported attacks which have resulted in the victim needing stitches and surgery.

Akitas are not listed as dangerous dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act but they are classed as a fighting breed.

Because the dog is not listed under the Act, the police say that they cannot force its owners to have it destroyed.

A spokesman said: 'Because of the classification of this particular type of dog, we cannot seize the animal and have it put down. Instead, all we we can do is strongly encourage to the owners that the dog is put down.' 

The spokesman said that although there was nothing they could do, the owners have told police that they plan to have the dog destroyed in the coming days.

(Daily Mail UK - Aug 21, 2010)

Man charged after abandoning cat-filled mobile home

ILLINOIS -- A Des Plaines man has been charged after he abandoned his mobile home, leaving behind dozens of live and deceased cats inside, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.

David Heim, 56, formerly of the 7500 block of Elmhurst Rd., was charged Thursday with fifty-three misdemeanor counts of cruel treatment.  Detectives have been searching for Heim since he and his roommate abandoned their mobile home after threats of eviction last month. 

On July 29th, a Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer responded to a neighbor’s call about an “animal problem” at the home.  The complainant told police the owner of the home left approximately two days earlier and there were still pets in the residence. 

When police arrived, a strong smell of ammonia emanated from the trailer home, and the officer observed cats at the windows, roaming around the yard and underneath the residence. 

When the investigating officer entered, he discovered approximately fifty cats, including newborn kittens, inside every room of the home.  Cats were also found within the walls and ceiling of the residence, and one was trapped inside a closed dresser drawer. 

Rotting cat carcasses were also found inside the home, and there were feces everywhere.  No food or water had been provided for any of the animals.

The officer was able to secure 28 cats and one rabbit with animal crates.  A snake was also removed from the house, along with a number of dead turtles.  The animals and reptiles were transported to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge.  Two rescued cats later died.

Aware that investigators were searching for him, Heim turned himself in on August 18th. 

Heim explained that he had no money to take care of his pets.  He told detectives he’d lived in the mobile home for two years, and initially brought 25 cats with him that multiplied over time. 

Eventually the mobile home became infested with feces and fleas, and the smell inside became so bad that he and his roommate slept outside.  After his landlord threatened eviction, Heim and his roommate abandoned the mobile home, and their pets, on July 27th.

 The investigation into others who may be involved continues.  David Heim is scheduled to appear in Rolling Meadows court on September 3rd. 

(Cook County Sheriff - August 20, 2010)

Update to Story:
Despite having been charged with 53 Misdemeanor counts of Cruelty to Animals, Heim was offered and accepted a plea deal which put him on unsupervised probation for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay $360 in court costs and to perform 200 hours of community service. During these 18 months, he will not be allowed to own any animals.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New York: Albany residents rescue dozens of felines from off-limits condemned house

NEW YORK -- City officials first got wind of the problem on Orange Street when a neighbor called the water department complaining of a foul odor.

But when crews arrived, they quickly concluded the stench wasn't from a sewer.

It was coming from a nearby house.

The city moved swiftly to condemn 198 Orange St., a tumbledown wood frame apartment building in Arbor Hill, on July 21 when the Department of Building and Codes determined the building was dangerously unstable, said Deputy Fire Chief Joe Toomey.

And with that, the Great Orange Street Cat Extraction began on the hush-hush. That was mostly because the mission to rescue more than 90 cats -- yes, 90 -- living in the 820-square-foot building wasn't, strictly speaking, legal.

The would-be rescuers faced a dilemma: Cats or no cats, according to the city, the building was off limits -- meaning that not even animal control could venture back inside, said Diane Metz, one of a core group of 15 to 20 volunteers who got word of the plight of the cats, and two Rottweiler dogs, living inside.

Metz said city animal control officials initially plucked about 20 of the felines -- which ranged in age from kittens to seniors -- from the filthy interior, which included large cages stacked about the living area, thickly matted cat hair and other "debris."

"The photos, I can say, do nothing to share the smell or the flies," said Metz, a veteran of the effort to corral the feral cats that took up residence in the decrepit old Wellington Hotel. "I'm a pretty hardy soul, and the flies just got to me."

Working with the cats' owner -- a woman Metz described as very helpful -- the volunteers, unaware of the scope of the task at hand, returned to the building to help her retrieve what they had been led to believe were a few stragglers.

"The former caretaker, the woman who lived there, said there were a handful left," Metz recalled. "So it wasn't until we actually went in there and started counting noses that we had any idea what we had gotten into."

What happened next was a bit like a local version of the Berlin Airlift, when the Western powers thumbed their noses at a Soviet blockade of sections of the German city under Allied control.

In defiance of the city ban, Metz and a handful of skilled cat trappers worked around the clock with other volunteers to capture, transport, photograph and log the cats.

"We trapped during the day, we trapped during the evening, we trapped early in the morning," Metz said. "We went whenever we thought we could grab a couple of cats."

The banner day was July 31, a Saturday, when the team corralled an astounding 30-plus cats, Metz said.

All together, she said, the volunteers rescued at least 72, on top of the nearly two dozen taken out by animal control. Of those, fewer than 10 were feral. The owner, she said, was able to tell the rescuers most of the animals' names and how they got them.

Now the volunteers are scrambling to find the cats foster homes and adoptive families while seeking funds to help pay for veterinary care for the respiratory, dental and other maladies the cats contracted in the filthy conditions.

The volunteers have set up a website at with profiles of the rescued animals and also a hot line -- 533-5242 -- that people can call for information or to make donations.

Metz said they've already received generous assistance from the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, Normanside Veterinary Clinic, Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital and the group Animal Lovers.

The landlord, John Lamb, said he wasn't aware how many animals his tenant had and plans to heed the city's order to raze the building.

"I knew she had a bunch of them, but I didn't know she had that many," Lamb said. "I just want to get the house torn down and move on."

While Metz said this was the single largest cache of animals she's ever encountered, by threefold, she's also certain it's not the only one in the city.

"I'm sure there's hundreds of these houses throughout the city; it just happened to be the one that we found out about," she said. "I'm not a psychologist, but it clearly started from a good place. It just got out of control."

(Times Union - August 18, 2010)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Police uncover dead sheep in Sallisaw

OKLAHOMA -- Sallisaw police needed ventilation masks Tuesday while they were trying to remove over 30 dead and decaying sheep discovered in a field at a Sallisaw home.

Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards said Kristi Lynn Hamilton was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, and unlawful disposal of an animal. He said the Sallisaw Police Department received a call that a property owner was drowning sheep in her pond.

Sallisaw Police Officer Billy Oliver drove to the home and spoke with Hamilton about the accusations. Hamilton told Oliver that she was training her dog and that the dog drowned the sheep in the pond. Oliver reported Hamilton wanted to show him the sheep and the two walked over to the location of the dead sheep.

Hamilton told Oliver she had other dead sheep on her property because she “bought a bad batch of sheep and the sheep were just dying.”

“The sheep were located in a small fenced area on the north side of her home. Hamilton took us to the fence line and showed us a row of leaves and to where the other dead sheep were located,” Oliver reported.

Oliver said when he moved the leaves he could see multiple dead sheep and some of the sheep were rotting. Oliver said officers discovered 36 dead sheep. He said 27 decayed carcasses were located at the base of trees on top of the ground, nine decaying carcasses were near a fencerow, and they also discovered two dead dogs.

During the search, officers found three vaccination papers for three dogs and an e-mail regarding the sheep. He said the e-mail indicated 90 sheep were purchased for $6,475.

Oliver also found registration papers from the American Paint Horse Association for a horse at the residence. Officers spent most of Tuesday cleaning up the rotten sheep. Edwards said the carcasses were sent to the landfill for proper disposal. Officers loaded the remaining live sheep along with a horse and nine chickens on a trailer and turned it over to Randy Freeman, Sallisaw animal control officer, who took them to a facility for care. Oliver said the remaining live sheep were in very poor condition. He reported being able to see their ribs, backbones and hipbones.

Edwards said this isn’t the first time Hamilton has been accused of animal cruelty.

On July 27 an employee of Hamilton’s reported Hamilton killed two dogs on July 22. She reported that Hamilton said the two dogs got out and killed two sheep, and Hamilton told her to get the two dogs and tie them to a tree. The employee told officers Hamilton then came outside with a rifle and shot one dog two times and the second dog four times.

The report states that after Hamilton killed the dogs she looked at her employee and said, “You better not tell anyone what just happened because it would cause her (Hamilton) a lot of grief.”

Hamilton then told her employee to bury the dogs under the tree but not to bury them deep and cover the dogs with leaves.

The first incident was reported on Sept. 22, 2009. Hamilton’s previous employee reported she watched Hamilton beat her dogs with a whip on several occasions. She reported that on Sept. 22 Hamilton had gone outside with a worker to do some yard work and one of her dogs started to bark.

“Hamilton got in a golf car and drove down to the dog pen then went inside the pen. She whipped the barking dog with until she was red in the face and could not hit the dog any more,” the worker reported.

According to the report Hamilton voluntarily surrendered 72 chickens and several sheep on Sept. 29, 2009, and agreed to pay the fees for the caring of the live animals so the case was not prosecuted.

Edwards said Hamilton was taken to the Sallisaw City Jail and later released on a $10,000 bond. She will be arraigned by Special District Judge Dennis Sprouse Wednesday at Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw.

(Sequoyah County Times - August 16, 2010)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Police: Man admits throwing dog across the room

VIRGINIA -- A Virginia Beach man is charged in the death of a dog he said was stray.

According to investigators, Byron Mcadoo said a small male Yorkshire Terrier was in his front yard on July 1, so he took it in. 

Then, on July 4, investigators say Mcadoo told them the dog became aggressive after a bath, so he picked it up and threw it across the room.

Authorities say he told them the dog went into convulsions and died.

Animal Control picked up the dog's remains from the Lavender Lane home in Aragona Village and began an investigation.

Mcadoo, 22, was arrested Wednesday on charges of felony cruelty to animals and failing to notify about a found dog charges. He's free on a $2,500 bond and is due in court Monday, according to online court records.

Authorities don't know if the dog belonged to someone.   He was about nine years old, tan with black fur and weighed 5-7 pounds.

If you're a Virginia Beach resident who's missing a Yorkie that matches that description, call Animal Control at 385-4444.

(WVEC - Aug 13, 2010)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dog drags girl, 7, down the street by her head, leaving her with horrific eye and face injuries

UNITED KINGDOM -- A girl of seven has been left with appalling facial and eye injuries after being mauled by a dog while playing out just yards from her home. 

Maleeka Smyth was dragged along the street by the Staffordshire bull terrier, which tore skin close to her eye and caused two puncture wounds to the back of her head.

Last night the youngster had plastic surgery to repair damage to her face

Doctors told her distraught mother that her daughter would be scarred for life following the terrifying attack in Great Lever, near Bolton.

They also revealed that a muscle in the eye had been torn by the attack.

Mother Vicki, who herself owns three dogs, said: 'The dog should be put down. If it was one of my dogs I would take it straight to the vets. 

'Maleeka has been very lucky. It could have been a lot, lot worse. She could have lost an eye.'

She was playing with a friend close to her home on Wednesday at 6pm.

The dog had escaped from a nearby house and barked at Maleeka.

Her mother said that the dog then jumped at her, grabbed her head and dragged her along the street, shaking its own head. 

The animal eventually stopped its attack and ran back to its owner's house.

Maleeka was then taken back to her house by her friend. 

Surgeons at the Royal Bolton Hospital were working on the youngster's eye yesterday morning. 
They told her mother that her tear duct had been damaged and she will have to have a tube strapped to her eye for the next six months.

A muscle at the back of her eye socket has also been torn. Maleeka required a general anaesthetic for the operation. 

Miss Smyth, 32, called police following the incident.  She added: 'Maleeka has been very brave but she has already said she doesn't want to play out ever again.

'My other children were traumatised.  There was blood everywhere.'

A police spokesman said: 'Officers attended and found the girl had sustained a cut and puncture wounds to the back of her head and a torn right eyelid. Pet Medics attended and seized the dog.

'The owner of the dog has been made aware and has indicated they support having the dog put to sleep.'

A hospital spokesman said Maleeka was stable following the surgery.  The family which owned the dog last night said they were too upset about the incident to talk.

(Daily Mail - August 14, 2010)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vinco Woman Ordered To Pay Restitution In Animal Cruelty Case

OKLAHOMA -- In what the undersheriff called "the worst case of animal cruelty I've ever seen," a Vinco woman was placed on five years' probation last week -- conditioned on her not owning any domestic pet and paying restitution for the cost of caring for about 80 dogs and two cats seized from her property southwest of Perkins.

Martuan Louise Middleton, 59, had been found mentally competent to stand trial and spent eight months in jail before she pleaded no contest to animal cruelty and was released on a personal recognizance bond pending her sentencing.

Payne County First Assistant District Attorney Tom Lee had argued in court that that she should be given a five-year prison term for allowing more than 80 animals to live "in unfit conditions."

Her court-appointed attorney, Debra Vincent, told District Judge Donald Worthington, "Martuan Middleton loves animals so much that she can't say no to them. That's how you end up with 84 dogs.

"One person on a limited income couldn't take care of all those animals," the defense lawyer argued in asking the judge to put her on probation.

"I think the court can understand her no contest plea is based on her belief she didn't have the intent to do harm to these animals.

"She was working at WalMart at the time she was arrested," noted the defense lawyer, who added that Middleton had lost everything and was now staying with a friend in Stillwater.

Since Middleton did not have a plea bargain regarding her punishment, the judge held an Aug. 6 sentencing hearing at which the only witness testified about the deplorable conditions in which the animals were found last September.

"This was probably the worst case of animal cruelty I've ever seen. There were 84 dogs -- one dead and another died at OSU. They were in feces and mud a foot deep. They were climbing on top of each other to get out of the mud," Payne County Undersheriff Garry McKinnis testified.

"In the house, there were cockroaches everywhere. It was in such poor condition, the defendant (later) admitted she couldn't live there," the undersheriff testified.

"The animals were seized and taken to the OSU Veterinary Center, all turned over to them," said the undersheriff, adding that all the surviving animals were adopted.

The undersheriff personally took care of 18 of the animals at his residence, he testified.

"The long-haired dogs were matted with open sores. There were cockroaches and eggs on the bodies of the dogs," the undersheriff testified.

"There were dogs in the house including pups with no access to water in cages," the undersheriff testified.

The undersheriff said he had been in law enforcement for 30 years and called it "the worst case of animal abuse I've ever seen."

The judge ordered Middleton to pay restititution for the expenses incurred by the Sheriff's Office in caring for the animals "in an amount to be agreed on by the defense and the District Attorney -- if they fail to agree, the court will have a hearing in 90 days."

After court recessed, the undersheriff said that "OSU donated spay and neuter on all of them. Our actual cost to OSU was about $4,000. All of the animals have been adopted."

Although she was given the opportunity to speak in the 25-minute sentencing hearing, Middleton chose not to make a statement to the judge.

Payne County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Myers said that he had arrived on the property in Vinco on Sept. 17, 2009, about 20 minutes after a neighbor called the Sheriff's Office.

"He could see a deceased dog in the yard. He wanted us to check on the other dogs as well," commented Myers, who said that he found another dead dog in the yard.

Most of the dogs on the property were full-blood Cocker Spaniels, Dachsunds or Chihuahuas, he said. The animals were very malnourished, the deputy said.

Middleton, who was not on the property, was arrested a week later, court records show.

"The dogs had skin lesions from fecal material and urine, mange and fleas. The cocker spaniels had hair mats so full of feces that they had difficulty walking," Myers said.

"When we got to the OSU Vet Med Clinic, they had 11 veterinarians on standby and 20 students and technicians to start assessing the dogs.

"Most of the dogs had poor body condition, averaging 0 to 3 on a scale from 0 to 9 -- with 9 being normal," Myers said.

Six dogs had to be euthanized -- five due to suffering and one due to aggression he said.

Middleton was previously convicted of animal cruelty in Missouri where she was given a one-year suspended sentence with two years' unsupervised probation for 14 misdemeanor counts in 2002, records show.

Over 200 dogs and a few cats were seized from Middleton when she lived in West Plains, Mo., Christine Portman, Animal Cruelty Task Force Coordinator for the Humane Society of Missouri, said.

In placing Middleton on a five-year suspended sentence for the felony crime of animal cruelty in Payne County, the judge emphasized that a condition of her probation is "to not own any animal or other domestic pet at all -- permanently or temporarily."

HISTORY: In July 2001, deputies and Missouri Department of Agriculture officials seized more than 200 dogs and cats from the woman's unlicensed breeding facility. Some of the animals were missing limbs. Authorities found a dead horse and nine dead dogs at the scene.

(StillwaterNews.Net - Aug 12, 2010)

Nebraska: Residents ask council to toughen dog laws, ban pit bulls

NEBRASKA -- The Blair City Council's Police Committee will research wants to toughen up the city's dangerous dog laws.

After the council heard stories of encounters with dangerous dogs and pleas from several residents, Mayor Jim Realph asked the council's Police Committee to research the issue and bring back a proposal for the council to consider.

The effort to toughen up the laws is being spearheaded by Bill and Jane Straube, whose dog was attacked by two pit bulls in their driveway.

The Straubes also want the city to consider banning pit bulls in town.

Jane Straube told the council pit bulls are bred to be dangerous and are not safe to have in town.

"At some point in time the dogs will attack," she said.

Several other residents agreed.

Chris Ulven said when the same two pit bulls that attacked Straubes' dog lived near his Davis Drive home two years ago, his children were "terrorized by these same dogs."

After one incident, Ulven said he called police and when an officer arrived, "the dog went at him."

A week later, Ulven said, one of the dogs came after him and he called 911. The owner was cited, he said, "but the dog stayed put."

Ulven said the dangerous dog laws need to be beefed up because "there's only so much the police can do to protect citizens. My kids will just now go outside and play again."

Tammy Hughbanks said she likes to take walks in town, but now will not leave home without her cell phone, pepper spray and a whistle after a run-in with a dog a few years ago.

Ken Stier, the Straubes' neighbor who helped carry their dog to safety after the July 21 attack, said the city needs to toughen its laws to give police more ways to deal with dangerous dogs.

"If a dog has proven to be vicious, they should not be allowed to be in the city limits," he said.

In the case of the attack on the Straubes' dog, police chief Joe Lager said both dogs are still being held at the Blair Animal Shelter until the case has been decided in court.

City attorney Geoff Hall said the city will argue to have one of the dogs, which was previously identified as a dangerous dog in 2007, destroyed.

Councilman John Abbott, who is on the Police Committee that will study the situation, said it could take a month or better for a new proposal to be crafted and he hoped to have a public hearing during the process to get input on the proposals.

He said the committee will look at two issues: A possible ban on a specific breed and tightening the dangerous dog law.

(Pilot Tribune & Enterprise - Aug 12, 2010)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maine: Brett Ingraham arrested on 7 counts of animal cruelty; his wife Alexis Ingraham facing charges

MAINE --  Brett Ingraham, one of the owners of Fair Play Farm and Stables, a former horse breeding and boarding operation on Tardiff Road, was arrested Sunday on seven counts of animal cruelty.

Ingraham and his wife, Alexis, became the focus of an investigation by state animal welfare authorities in February after the state received complaints that horses on their farm appeared malnourished and in declining health.

Although a warrant also was issued for Alexis Ingraham, she was not taken into police custody on Sunday.

As of Tuesday, the reason Alexis Ingraham was not arrested had not yet been made clear to Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle or to Norma Worley, director of the state’s animal welfare bureau,

Worley said Tuesday she had heard “conflicting stories” about that matter, but it was her understanding that the woman is in her third trimester of pregnancy.

Though the Ingrahams could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, they denied the accusations about their 5-month-old business in a story in the Bangor Daily News last February. At that time, they said they were taking in as many as 10 horses a week, with the majority quickly being sold to new homes.

Some of those horses came to them in poor health, from owners who couldn’t care for them, they said.

“There’s no problem here,” Brett Ingraham told the BDN. “Anyone who wants to come see for themselves is welcome. We have nothing to hide.”

After visits to the farm on Feb. 18 and June 3, however, state animal welfare officials stepped in and seized a total of 23 animals described as being “in declining health,” Fowle said Tuesday, adding, “We didn’t seize all of the animals.”

The seven-count animal cruelty complaint alleges that Ingraham “did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly deprive [animals in his care] of necessary sustenance, necessary medical attention, proper shelter, protection from the weather or humanely clean conditions.”

Of the animals taken from the farm on June 3, 15 were horses, he said. The rest of the animals taken from the Ingrahams’ farm were goats, dogs and pigs.


Now in state custody, the malnourished and sick animals are being cared for at an undisclosed location, Fowle said.

“They are improving,” Fowle said.

According to Worley, a search warrant and subsequent arrest warrants were the result of an investigation and inspections by Christine Fraser, a state animal welfare veterinarian.

According to Worley, the Ingrahams closed Fair Play Farm in mid-July. The couple and their remaining animals have moved in with Alexis Ingraham’s parents, who live in Burnham.

Worley declined to say whether the state is monitoring the animals now in the Ingrahams’ care.

“We really don’t want to comment too much on that because it’s an open case,” she said.

After his arrest, Ingraham, 24, was taken to Waldo County Jail in Belfast. He was released on bail Monday, a jail official confirmed Tuesday.

Fowle said Ingraham is scheduled to appear in court to respond to the charges on Nov. 2.

In the meantime, Fowle said, Ingraham is barred from acquiring additional animals and must submit to inspection of any now in his possession.

Worley said that if convicted of the animal cruelty charges, Ingraham could be banned from owning animals or restricted in the number of animals he could own at a given time.

“My goal in all of this is to make sure that the animals are protected and that they are not neglected or allowed to live in an environment that is unclean or unsafe,” Fowle said.

(Bangor Daily News - Aug. 10, 2010)


Authorities search for pit bull which bit child in face

SOUTH CAROLINA -- A white pit bull who has the knack for escaping fences is being sought after the dog allegedly bit the face of a 3-year-old in Newberry.

A little girl and her mother were visiting a friend at a home near Silverstreet when a dog, owned by a woman who is a family friend, attacked the little girl, biting her face.

Newberry sheriff's deputies were sent to the Newberry hospital to investigate. The mother didn't want to press charges, saying the dog belonged to a family friend.

That friend later turned in the dog to authorities after the incident. However, he escaped overnight, according to Mike Pisano from the Newberry Animal Care and Control Center.

"We're actively seeking the dog," said Pisano. "We're checking former addresses where the dog has lived. We have traps set in the area."

In any case, he says anyone who comes in contact with the animal should stay away.

Officials believe the dog to have been up-to-date on his rabies shots, however, the child will have to get rabies shots if the dog is not found.

If you do find the dog, call Newberry County Animal Control at 803-321-2222.

(WISTV - Aug 10, 2010)

Woman and Pet Injured in Dog Attack

TEXAS -- At 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Leslie Cantrell was walking her two dogs, on a leash, in her neighborhood.

In a matter of minutes her morning walk turned violent.

She found herself and her dogs under attack by two dogs roaming free.

"By the time I made it to the end of my street I heard noise. I turned and looked and I saw two large white Akitas charging me" says Cantrell.

Akita dogs are considered great guard dogs, can weigh more than 100 pounds and are known for the possibility of being aggressive toward small dogs.

Cantrell's dogs weigh 30 pounds.

"I was screaming. I was yelling. I was trying to fight the dogs off" she says.

Cantrell adopted Indy 12 years ago.

The Border Collie has undergone two surgeries and a blood transfusion after last Thursday's attack.

"They severed one of her kidneys. They sliced open the abdomen wall. They did damage to her intestines. She's still fighting for her life. We have to decide whether or not she can survive another surgery or if we have to make the decision to euthanize her" says Cantrell.

Six days after the attack, Cantrell is headed into her second surgery.

Neighbor Marcia Gibbs and others came to her rescue that day.

"I couldn't see her finger and I thought at first her finger was gone. When we got in her house and rinsed it off I saw her finger was still there but it was just mangled" says Gibbs.

Cantrell says she can't move and doesn't have feeling in her right, pinky finger.

She's told she's in for a number of surgeries to attempt to restore the feeling.

The dogs, it turns out, are not strays but belong to a neighbor.

They're now at the Fort Bend County animal shelter.

Legally the owner can get the dogs back because they haven't been accused in any prior attacks.

The animals will likely be returned on Saturday.

That's 240 hours after the bite, as required by law.

"It's not the first time those dogs have been loose in the neighborhood" says Cantrell.

"I don't think it's right that someone has to die in order for the dogs to be put to sleep. If they've shown aggression that should be enough." says Gibbs.
This is where the Akitas live

So what does it take to have a dog euthanized?

The animal has to be deemed "vicious" in court and a judge has to order the euthanization.

Several residents say if the dogs come back they won't feel safe.

In Fort Bend County it is against the law to let your dog roam free.

Dog owners are required to have their dogs on a leash or in their immediate control at all times.

If you see dogs roaming in your neighborhood you are encouraged to stay away from them and call Fort Bend County Animal Control Service.

Animal control officers will be sent out to pick the dogs up.

Cantrell believes the owner of the dogs should be held criminally responsible.

The truth is dog attacks are normally handled in civil, not criminal, court.

Fort Bend County works 10 to 20 dog bites every month.

(myFoxHouston - Aug 11, 2010)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Illinois: Local boy critically injured in pit bull attack

ILLINOIS -- A 5-year-old boy was hospitalized after being critically injured by dogs Friday morning in Bush Village Park.

Hurst Police Chief Ron Harvel identified the boy as Winston Bankston. According to a Williamson County Sheriff's Office news release, the incident occurred at about 10:24 a.m. The victim was taken to Herrin Hospital with multiple wounds on his face, head and body, according to the release. He was then airlifted to a St. Louis hospital and was listed as being in critical condition.

Taylor said he was in contact with the family Friday and Bankston's condition looks promising. He said Bankston underwent surgery late Friday night.

Lester Taylor, a Bush city worker, said he was checking a water meter nearby when he heard Bankston's mother, Regina Culpepper, scream. The mother left Bankston and his 9-year-old brother in the park to retrieve refreshments from their home across the street.

When she returned, the 9-year-old was running toward her and screaming that dogs were attacking his brother, according to the news release. She witnessed the dogs dragging Bankston and fought them off enough to pick him up.

Taylor said he drove his truck into the park toward the dogs, honking and screaming. He said he saw three dogs attacking Bankston and they began to attack Culpepper's legs after she picked them up. Taylor was able to drive the dogs away long enough for her to take the child into Bush Village Hall.

Harvel arrived on the scene and shot and killed one dog and wounded another. The wounded dog will be euthanized at the request of the owner, Harvel said. The dogs were identified as pit bull mix breeds.

Harvel said the third dog seemed to be a pit bull/boxer mix and after interviewing witnesses, it was determined not to have been part of the attack. He said the dogs were not up to date on their vaccinations and Bankston will have to receive rabies shots.

Taylor said he saw puncture wounds on Bankston's throat and that the boy and his mother were covered in blood. He said Culpepper suffered multiple wounds to her legs. The dogs' owner was identified and interviewed. The Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation and reports will be forwarded to the Williamson County State's Attorney for review.

Harvel and Williamson County Deputies responded to the call.

Taylor said there are a lot of pit bulls in the area but this is the first attack of this kind he has heard of.

(The Southern - August 7, 2010)

Friday, August 6, 2010

26 dogs rescued from house of horrors in Clifton

NEW JERSEY -- Rescue workers removed a throng of dogs and enough debris to fill a Dumpster from a stench-filled house of horrors on Brighton Road on Thursday afternoon, as stunned neighbors stared in disbelief and held their noses in disgust.

After nearly four hours of work under a blazing sun, Clifton officials counted 26 dogs they had rescued from the house, including one in such poor condition it had to be taken to an animal hospital, said Deputy Fire Chief Norman Tahan.


The homeowner, Joanne Zak, was arrested on multiple counts of animal cruelty, charges that could send her to jail and slap her with thousands of dollars in fines. She remains in the Clifton jail until bail is set and paid.

The city Clifton on Thursday issued an emergency order for the cleanup in order to remove an imminent health hazard, said City Manager Al Greco.

Zak, who works for a state government social services agency, told authorities she had rescued the animals, Tahan said. It’s a claim officials found perplexing because the dogs had been kept locked in cages with several inches of feces, and they had fleas and pink-eye and were in need bathing, Tahan said.

The Princeton-based shelter she claimed to volunteer with told police they had not heard from her in a long time, said Greco.

The debris, which included empty bottles, blankets, dog food and old newspapers dating to 2003, was piled so high – near the ceiling – that firefighters, some cloaked in protective gear, had difficulty reaching the animals, who were spread throughout the house.

“It’s a horrible situation,” said John Biegel, Clifton’s health officer.

Fire and gas utility officials were alerted by neighbors Thursday of a strong gas odor emanating from the two-story Cape Cod-style house at 179 Brighton Road. When they knocked down the front door, they made the stomach-churning discovery.

Biegel said he had tried to contact Zak several days ago at the request of neighbors, but she didn’t respond.

“She said she lived in the house but neighbors said she hadn’t lived there for six months,” said Greco.
Zak refused to allow officials to clean out the place and did not want to surrender the dogs. “We felt it was a health hazard,” said Greco, explaining the city’s emergency order. “There are rodents running around the place. We are scared we may find dead dogs.”

Workers were still removing loads of debris from the home Thursday evening.

Neighbors said they saw Zak occasionally walking a single dog and sometimes two dogs. But neighbors interviewed Thursday said they never imagined that she kept more than two dozen dogs in a poorly ventilated house.

“She was a friendly lady who I’d see around walking her dog,” said Janice O’Brien, a neighbor. “We’d say hello to each other. She seemed normal. She volunteered to help out with rescuing animals. I’m shocked by this.”

Neighbors said it was hard for anyone in the neighborhood not to notice the smell that seemed to engulf the house like a toxic cloud.

“When you walked by the house, there was always a bad odor,” said Peter Korotky, a neighbor. “I just feel so bad for the animals. Those poor dogs.”

The dogs were mostly of small breeds, Chihuahua and terrier mixes.

“They are all filthy,” said Biegel.

The dogs were sent to the Clifton Animal Shelter where a veterinarian will examine them for disease and abuse, and will remain there until safe homes can be found for them, he said.

“This is the best thing that ever happened to them,” Biegel said about the rescue.

( - Aug 5, 2012)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ohio: After judge let Nicholas Reynolds, 18, out on bond after allegedly beating a baby alpaca to death, he leads police on a high speed chase

OHIO -- An Ohio teen charged in the beating death of a baby alpaca could get up to five years in prison if convicted on a felony charge incurred while he was out of jail on bond.

Authorities say 18-year-old Nicholas Reynolds (aka Nick Reynolds), of the Middletown area north of Cincinnati, and his friend Stacie Mullins, 23, led them on a high-speed chase June 26. They were caught when the idiots crashed into a pole on Trenton Franklin Road.

Mullins was in the passengers seat along with several cans of beer and two bottles of whiskey.

A judge on Tuesday transferred a felony charge of failure to comply with a police order to adult court. Two related misdemeanor charges will remain in juvenile court because Reynolds was 17 at the time.

Mullins is in the Butler County Jail charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Stacie Mullins is also accused of stealing the baby animal and torturing it to death for fun. 

Reynolds' attorney declined comment Wednesday.

Reynolds has pleaded not guilty to charges he and another teen stole a 3-month-old baby alpaca from a southwest Ohio farm last winter, took turns beating the baby animal to death and then dumped its tiny body at an abandoned farm.

(WCPO - Aug 4, 2010)