Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DNA links dog to site of Henderson man's death

NORTH CAROLINA -- Tests have matched DNA found at the scene of a Henderson man's death over Memorial Day weekend with a nearby pit bull, but Person County authorities are waiting for more test results before filing any criminal charges.

Deputies found the body of Eugene Cameron, 65, under a carport at 1189 Semora Road, west of Roxboro, on May 26. Family members said he was checking on the house while his friend was out of town.

Witnesses said that Cameron was found naked, with his clothes balled up beside him, and bloody dog paw prints surrounded him. He had a severe injury to his right arm that authorities said could have caused him to bleed out.

The injury was consistent with a dog bite, and animal control officers seized an 8-year-old pit bull named DMX from Antonio Ford, who lives next to the house where Cameron was found dead.

A California lab that is conducting specialized tests in the case determined that DNA from DMX was found in the blood at the scene, Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said Tuesday. He said the lab is now checking to see if the dog's DNA is on Cameron's ripped clothing.

Ford could be charged with involuntary manslaughter if authorities determine that DMX is to blame for Cameron's death, Jones said. The charge might be upgraded to second-degree murder if investigators can establish that the dog was known to be violent, the sheriff said.

Ford maintains that DMX was caged up the night Cameron was killed and that he believes a person or a wild animal is responsible for the attack.

Residents have said that the dog sometimes roams the neighborhood and tries to attack their dogs.

(WRAL - July 31, 2012)


Pinellas Park man, Clifford Paul Hyatt, arrested for arson and animal cruelty after burning cats to death

FLORIDA -- A Pinellas Park man was accused of arson for the July 21 apartment fire that engulfed a four-unit, two-story apartment building at 7380 63rd St. and killed two cats.

Clifford Paul Hyatt, 39, lived in apartment B in the building.

Fire investigators found irregular burn patterns that suggested the use of an accelerant on the floor of a room where he lived, said fire spokesman Lt. Gary Berkheimer. Hyatt’s apartment took the brunt of the fire damage.


“The other apartments just sustained heat and smoke damage,” Berkheimer said.

Firefighters responded shortly after 11:30 p.m. Twenty-five firefighters from 12 units fought to keep the flames from spreading that night.

Pinellas Park police arrested Hyatt on July 22 for first-degree arson. They believed he started the fire inside his unit, police spokesman Sgt. Brian Unmisig said.

Two neighbors walking home from the grocery store first saw the fire and called 911. They broke a window to wake one resident who was sleeping in his apartment, Unmisig said. They also kicked in the door of another apartment to alert a second resident.

There were three cats living in apartment D. While one escaped, two were killed in the fire, Unmisig said. Police charged Hyatt with two felony counts of cruelty to animals for their deaths.

None of the residents were injured in the fire. Hyatt was on scene during the fire, Berkheimer said. Police have not released a motive for the alleged arson.

The investigation is ongoing. Samples of the possible accelerant were sent to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to be tested, Berkheimer said.

Berkheimer said that while arson is not the typical reason behind a fire, the Pinellas Park Fire Department already has investigated two other arson cases this year. A fire that started in the carport of the home at 7441 35th St. N. on May 23 was classified as arson. The department also investigated the fire in which the body of Gary Yarnell was found on May 28. Police now believe the fire was set to cover his murder.

(TBN Weekly - July 31, 2012)


Name: Clifford Paul Hyatt
Alias: Cliff Hyatt, Clifford Hyatt Jr.
White male
DOB: 6-15-1960

Bailbondcity.com records say that Hyatt committed the following offenses on July 21, 2012:

ARSON WILLFUL DAMA.DWELLING - sentenced to 20 years
1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT.(ATTEMPTED) - sentenced to 20 years
1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT.(ATTEMPTED) - sentenced to 20 years
TORTURES ANIMAL W/INTENT INFLI - sentenced to 5 years
TORTURES ANIMAL W/INTENT INFLI - sentenced to 5 years

He was sentenced on July 12, 2013. Records show that he is currently incarcerated at Dade Correctional Institution and he will remain there until November 17, 2031.

It appears that the DA's office must have combined all the sentences and have him serve them concurrently (at the same time) rather than consecutively (one after the other). If they had sentenced him consecutively, he'd have been in prison for 70 years.

Dog attack victim says she won't return home

SOUTH CAROLINA -- Danielle Green says it's not only the debilitating wounds to her arm that are causing her agonizing pain, but her memory that has become scarred from a recent dog attack.

"I'm full of fear for my life to even go home right now," Green said.

The 38-year-old woman was released from Roper St. Francis hospital on Monday afternoon, after a several night stay where she was treated for her injuries.

The attack occurred early Friday morning on Traywick Avenue when she was on her way home from her friend's house, Jimmy Dean, who lived on that street.

She said she had just past the home where the pit-bull belonged, and from the opposite side of the street, the dog came darting at her from the woods.

"He knocked me to the ground and grabbed my arm and started ripping it," she said.

Green says she screamed for help and that's when Dean came to her aide.

"All I could think of to do was start hitting the dog in the back of the head and try to pull him off but he stayed latched on," he said.

Green said she felt she was losing consciousness while she tried to put up a fight against the dog named Woody who was attempting to drag her. She ultimately suffered 37 lacerations to her arm and deep claw marks to her chest.

"He was able to twist my body around on my stomach and he started pulling me to his yard like dragging me," she said. "I felt death. I mean I had a funny taste in my mouth the nausea in my stomach. I felt like I was dying."

According to Major Jim Brady with Charleston County Sheriff's Office, this is an ongoing investigation. He said the dog was to have broke his chain in the woods.

He said the dog was quarantined to the owner's home for ten days during this time.

Green, who won't return home with her father on an adjacent street, says the dog should have been apprehended. She fears going back not only for her safety but the children of the neighborhood.

Dean agrees.

"I think the only thing that stopped it was me pulling the dog back and if she was alone I think she wouldn't have made it," he said.

Green's father, Danny Emery, remains devastated about his daughter's attack.

"She was in real bad shape and I was scared," he said. "I just wanted to get that dog myself for what he did to her."

Green does not have insurance and recently started a job at a local marina. Now she said she will be out of work for a period of time while she rehabilitates the movement in her arm and hand.

(WCIV - July 30, 2012)


Animal cruelty charges after pit bull found tied to bumper

FLORIDA -- Liz Roehrich could barely believe what she was looking at: a starving, emaciated, flea-infested pit bull tied up to a rust-bucket car in the back yard. Deprived of its strength, the weakened dog named Buddy cowered as investigators took pictures.

How long had he been there?

Maybe two months, said Roehrich, an animal cruelty investigator with the Boynton Beach Police Department. The time frame wasn't clear because as Roehrich said, she couldn't get a straight answer from the two people accused in the case.

"No strength, it was anemic, it was scared," Roehrich said of Buddy. "When I took it out and put it on a leash and fed it, of course it was my best friend for that moment."
It's a moment that wouldn't last.

Sadly, even though it was rescued, Buddy couldn't learn to trust humans and had to be put down about two weeks after his rescue. He tried to bite a vet and displayed aggression, which is not uncommon for neglected dogs, Roehrich said.

Hattie M. Isaiah, 51, of Flamingo Drive in Boynton Beach and Andrew Jones, 28, of Abraham Avenue in West Palm Beach are charged with one count each of cruelty to animals and unlawful abandonment or confinement of an animal.

The pair have been ordered to appear in court Thursday.

Police discovered the one-year-old dog on Feb. 12 in the back yard of Isaiah's Flamingo Drive home after a concerned citizen called police, Roehrich said.

Roehrich said they found Buddy tied up by a cable to the bumper of an abandoned car. His rib, hip and spine bones were visible and he had a large scar down the length of his back. Sitting in a patch of dirt with no grass and no shelter, he scratched incessantly at himself.

Near the dog, police found a metal kitchen pot with "green, algae-laden water" and an empty bowl, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Roehrich.

As well, his gums were white, indicating anemia, police said. He also had hairless patches.

"It's very apparent that the dog was not receiving nourishment on a daily basis at all," Roehrich said.

As for the home owner, Roehrich said Isaiah "blurted out inconceivable statements" to avoid responsibility for the dog when police found the animal. At one point she said that unknown people walk through her yard and that somebody had probably just tied him up and left him there.

Isaiah then said her son might know where the dog came from. When Andrew Jones arrived, he said his "homeboy" left the dog at the house because he couldn't take care of it anymore. He said that the dog's owner was someone named Christopher Hall, who died in a car accident on Christmas Day. By that explanation, the dog had been at the house for at least two months.

Hall, 25, of Boynton Beach, was killed Dec. 25, 2011 in a crash on North Seacrest Boulevard. A 2-year-old boy who was in the car was uninjured.

Police took the dog to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control for treatment. When it was given dry dog biscuits, it "ate in a frantic manner," according to the affidavit.

Although it weighed 30 pounds, the dog grew to a healthier weight of 43.6 pounds after veterinarians gave him vitamins, food and deworming treatment. Normal adult pit bulls can weigh up to 60 pounds.

Despite the turnaround in his physical health, the dog became aggressive, Roehrich said.

Asked why charges are being laid now when the dog was rescued in February, Roehrich said it's not uncommon for a delay to occur between the initial investigation and the laying of charges from misdemeanor offenses because of backlogs in both her office — she's the only animal cruelty investigator with the BBPD — and in the state attorney's office.

(Sun Sentinel - July 30, 2012)

Man charged with animal cruelty after dog found dead

TEXAS -- A neighbor called police this afternoon for a dog tied to a fence in the heat of the day. By the time officers arrived it was too late.

The owner of the dog, Jesse Deleon, had to carry his deceased one year old mutt into the Animal Control van.

Deleon says his dog was an indoor pet and he had only started leaving him outside because he wasn't potty trained.

Deleon says, "It's depressing, but it happens."

There was no shade near the fence the dog was chained to. A water bowl was nearby, but the dog may have dumped it over.

Police say Deleon is facing a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.

Deleon says he's learned from his mistake and says he is going to take better care of his other dog.

"I am going to make sure he is protected. Keep the dog house, cold water."

Animal Control Officer James Ray gave some tips for keeping pets safe during these hot summer months: "As a human, you wouldn't like to sit outside all day long during the heat, chained up, tied up. Bring them inside."

NOTE: According to the weather almanac, the high temperature in Corpus Christi on this date, July 30th, was 100 degrees.

(KZTV - July 30, 2012)

California: Loose Pit Bull mix and Shepherd mix enter enclosure, chased, mauled and killed pet emu named Eleanor Rigby

CALIFORNIA -- On Tuesday morning, at the end of Sierra Cielo Lane, two loose dogs attacked and killed a pet emu inside its enclosure on the Hornsby Ranch.

"Eleanor Rigby" was killed by a pit bull mix (white with brown spots) and a brown Shepherd mix.

These same dogs have been seen running loose frequently in the last few weeks. 

Animal control has been notified, but only one of the dogs has been secured.

Double-check your livestock, including large animals. Once dogs begin to kill for sport, they will continue to do so.

(Deerhorn Valley - July 31, 2012)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Clarkston dog owner may face charges

WASHINGTON -- The owner of a pit bull in Clarkston may face two infractions and a misdemeanor and be required to maintain safeguards under a "biting dog" procedure, according to the county prosecutor.

The dog, Kilo, was shot by a Clarkston police officer last week and is currently recovering from the wounds. The dog allegedly charged at a detective, growling and baring its teeth, prior to the shooting.

After reviewing the reports, Prosecutor Ben Nichols determined there was no clear violation of state law, but several city of Clarkston ordinances may have been, he said in a letter to the city attorney.

A running-at- large law and a requirement for dogs to be leashed appear to have been violated, Nichols said. In addition, the owner could be cited for keeping a dog that "bites or attempts to bite, charges, snaps or growls at any person." The misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The city should initiate the "biting dog" procedures described in the code, Nichols advised. If the dog is found to be a biting dog under this procedure, the owner will be required to maintain significant safeguards to prevent recurrence and compensate future victims.

This afternoon city attorney Todd Richardson said he plans to ask Nichols to move forward with the recommended charges.

(The Lewiston Tribune - July 30, 2012)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pit bull shot by Jersey City police was "just being playful", relative of dog owner says

NEW JERSEY -- Jersey City police shot and killed a pit bull this afternoon after the dog attacked a woman and her child, an official said.

But a relative of the dog's owner insisted this evening the dog was just being playful.

The victim speaks to police after being bitten by the
dog that owners say "was just being playful"

Officers were called to Wegman Parkway near Van Cleef Street around 1:35 p.m. on a disturbance complaint involving three pit bulls, Police Lt. Edgar Martinez said.

As police were arriving, three unleashed pit bulls charged at the woman and her young child and one of the dogs bit the woman on her arm, Martinez said.

A police officer fired multiple shots at the dog that bit the woman and the animal collapsed in the driveway of an apartment building, Martinez said.

Jersey City Animal Control and Emergency Services Unit officers responded to the scene and secured the other two dogs, which were unharmed, reports said.

The woman was treated at the Jersey City Medical Center for the bite to her arm and the child was also taken for observation after being traumatized by the incident, Martinez said.

The police officer was also treated for post-traumatic stress after the shooting, Martinez said.

Martha Rush, whose nephew owns the dogs, told The Jersey Journal that she was moving the dogs from the backyard of her home to the garage in the front when the dogs got loose.

Martha Rush says she told the bite victim that the
dogs "ain't going to bite you"

Rush said the dogs meant no harm to the woman who police say got bit, but the woman panicked and screamed and that further excited the dogs.

"They were playing but she had no idea they were playing," Rush said. "I kept telling her, they ain't going to bite you."

Rush said a police officer arrived, fired a couple of warning shots in the air and then fired at the male dog, Simba, several times. Neighbors said around five or six shots were fired.

Rush said she did not see the dog bite the woman.

Rush and another relative brought the two other female dogs, Nicky and Free, into the house, they said.

"The dogs were no problem at all, they were only barking," said Fakher Fahmy, owner of a neighboring property. "I feel sorry for the dogs."

Fakher Fahmy says the dogs were only
 barking, clearly ignorant of the fact that
the dog bit the woman.

Family members said they are distraught about Simba's death.

"That was our family dog," said Ty'Jahnal Rush, 12, a cousin of the owner. "He was a good dog to us ever since we got him. He played with us. He never bit us."

(nj.com - July 29, 2012)

Woman admits dragging mini donkey behind tractor

OHIO -- The Humane Society of Sandusky County seized more than a dozen farm animals from a township property Friday after the owner admitted to dragging a miniature donkey along the ground behind a tractor.

Humane Society of Sandusky County Officer Kelly Askins said she was called out to the property at 4360 Napoleon Road on Thursday night after receiving a report of an injured donkey.

Property owner Jenny Secrist (aka Virginia Secrist) admitted to dragging the donkey behind a tractor down a gravel road, Askins said. The humane officer estimated the donkey, which suffered severe cuts and abrasions on one side, was dragged for nearly a mile.

"She just dragged him the rest of the way," Askins said. "She stood right there and told me what she did to it. It's just old-school mentality."

Askins said this and previous actions by the owner of 14 animals led the agency to seize them all from the Napoleon Road property yesterday. She said some of the other goats, horses and other animals on the property also were suffering from neglect.

"It's just a general all-over neglect," Askins said.

Joanne McDowell, board president of the Humane Society of Sandusky County, said the mistreatment of the donkey led to the decision to seize all the woman's livestock.

"This donkey was pretty cruelly treated last night and she fears for the other animals," McDowell said.

"It seems like there is kind of an ongoing problem. Rather than see this happen again, she went and got the search warrant."

Marc Wayland-Smith, another animal cruelty investigator for the humane society, said the kind of animal neglect at Secrist's property is all to common.

"In this particular case, I think the lady is just overwhelmed," Wayland-Smith said.

Secrist has, in the past, operated a business providing horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides at the annual Christmas event at the Hayes Presidential Center and at other community events.

Sandusky County Common Pleas Court Judge John Dewey signed Askins' search warrant affidavit Friday, giving the officer permission to seize all the animals from Jenny Secrist's property.

The humane officer said Secrist could face criminal charges of animal cruelty and neglect, though none have yet been filed.

The owner was not home this afternoon as humane society staff and volunteers arrived and posted a copy of the search warrant on her door.

The staff and volunteers then began an inventory of the animals and started loading each into the trailers of about five other property owners who have volunteered to foster the animals temporarily.

"Sandusky County large animal people, I just can't say enough good about them," Askins said.

Seized from the property Friday were six miniature donkeys, four goats, three horses and one sheep.

Askins said she has been on Secrist's property investigating animal neglect in the past. She said she bought a malnourished horse from the woman a few weeks ago in an attempt to properly care for the animal.

"We have had an ongoing investigation over last month," Askins said. "She was trying to cooperate."

The incident with the donkey Thursday, she said, left her no other option than to pursue criminal charges.

"I have to go after her for that," Askins said.

A Sandusky County Sheriff deputy responded to the home at 9:17 p.m. Thursday after Askins reported Secrist was threatening her while she attempted to investigate the matter.

The donkey had an appointment with a veterinarian later in the day Friday.

"I don't know if he'll ever have the use of that eye again," Askins said. "It's pretty severe. But I don't think it will kill him."

(TheNews-Messenger - July 28, 2012)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Neighbor shoots, kills pit bull attacking his dog

MONTANA -- A Butte resident shot and killed a neighbor’s dog Thursday after it went into his yard and attacked his dog.

Police responded to the 3300 block of Mantle Street about 4:45 p.m. on a report of someone firing a gun. Police discovered that a man shot a dog with a pistol because it was attacking his dog.

Witnesses told police a pit bull left its yard, went into the neighbor’s yard and attacked the neighbor’s dog, according to the report. The owners of the dogs tried to separate them, but the pit bull wouldn’t release the other dog.

The man whose dog was being attacked went into his home, got a .38 Special and shot the pit bull. The dog died at the scene.

The police report didn’t indicate what type of dog was attacked or its condition.

Sheriff John Walsh said the man likely will not be charged, because he was defending his dog on his property.

The man who owned the pit bull corroborated the story and didn’t demand further action, according to the report.

[The pit bull owner 'didn't demand further action'?! How about saying that authorities were going to be charging the pit bull owner for having an aggressive dog running loose?!]

(Billings Gazette - July 27, 2012)

Dog who attacked boy, 9, to be euthanized; fate of two others pending

MASSACHUSETTS - One of three dogs implicated in the June attack on a 9-year-old boy who had part of his scalp ripped off is scheduled to be euthanized next week.

The fate of the two other American Staffordshire terriers remains up in the air following a hearing on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court that ended with an agreement by the city to look at new information gathered by the pets' owners.

Lori Rohde, 42, of Pittsfield, tearfully told the court on Friday that she and her boyfriend, Adam Pollack, have agreed to have 3-year-old Diablo put down Tuesday.

"It's the responsible thing to do," she said in court.

According to police, the couple's three dogs attacked Perrin Petell on June 11 as he and his mother, Jessyca, entered a common hallway of a multi-family home at Ed ward and Malcolm avenues. Perrin was dragged down the front stairs and into the yard by the dogs, said police.

Rohde said she and Pollack were about to take the dogs for a walk when the door burst open and startled the dogs. They were leashed, but the males broke away.

Perrin suffered 35 tooth punctures and lost part of his scalp. He was treated at Berkshire Med ical Center and released.

"What happened that night will affect all of us for the rest of our lives," Rohde said Friday, calling the attack "unfortunate."

While police say all three of the couple's dogs were part of the attack, Rohde said that Diablo was responsible for the attack, while the other two -- 4-year-old Cleopatra and 8-month-old Zeus -- were not involved.

Cleopatra, she said, was still in the hall when the attack occurred and while Zeus was in the yard during the attack, it was Diablo who bit the boy.

Cleopatra has since given birth to a litter of puppies.

The dogs were current on their rabies shots and have never bitten anyone before, according to their owners.

Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn declared the three dogs "vicious" on June 13 and ordered that all three be "restrained, removed or disposed of as necessary."

The dogs are currently being held at the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield.

On Friday, a hearing, brought forward by Rohde and Pollack, was held before Judge Rita S. Koenigs to determine whether the police chief's order against the other two dogs had been made "without proper cause" or "in bad faith."

This came after a clerk magistrate's hearing late last month in which the chief's order was upheld.

During Friday's hearing, Rohde presented to the court a dog behavior evaluation given to Cleopatra while at the shelter.

"Cleo passed with flying colors," she said.

According to Rohde, she has donated close to 250 hours of her time at the animal shelter since the incident.

Rohde also had letters from a dog behaviorist as well as from the shelter's head concerning the other two dogs.

Koenigs asked if the chief would consider looking at the new information gathered by Rohde, especially in the light of the agreement to euthanize Diablo. Wynn agreed.

After the city reviews the new information, the hearing will reconvene, the date of which had not been scheduled as of Friday.

(Berkshire Eagle - July 27, 2012)


"My best friend just shot a pit bull"

It broke through his fence from a neighbors yard and immediately jumped on his dog and started biting it. He tried to break them up and got bit so he grabbed his gun and shot that fucker in the head.

I'm still getting more details he is at the hospital checking to see if he needs injections or stitches.

Glock 17 was his dog killing weapon.

Here is his hand, apparently you can't stitch a dog bite to ensure you don't seal in an infection, learn something new everyday.

...police were on the scene so there is definitely a report out there. I feel the same way, my bud was minding his own business in his backyard when wild dogs broke through his fence and attacked him and his dog. That was someones fault and that someone needs to pay.
Forgot to say I got a few more details of the story. It turns out 3 dogs broke through the fence and all 3 attacked my friends 1 dog. When he tried to separate them the pit bull bit his leg but he had jeans on and then his hand. His girlfriend saw blood and him grabbing a gun and the neighbor yelling so she called the cops. He shot the pit bull and kicked the other two dogs in the head over and over until they ran back to their yard.

I asked him why he didn't shoot all three he said his adrenaline was pumping and the kicking was working so he didn't think about it. He said next time he is shooting first though.

His girlfriend is a nurse and in the presence of police officers she asked if the pit was immunized and the owner avoided the question... so probably not.........

The neighbor is a **** head, my friend constantly has to mow his lawn and cut his trees or it doesn't get done. He is the type of person that has a pitbull as a status symbol if you know what I mean.

IMO I think my bud should sue the **** out of him, this wasn't some tiny accident the guy had a violent dog and didn't take any measures to make sure he wasn't getting out. It was directly his fault. Now my bud an his dog are injured due to this lazy ****head being a lazy ****head.

I have a violent dog who can jump our 6 foot block wall in one area so I made sure to fence off that area because I didn't want her getting out and biting someone. Anyone with the smallest amount of compassion or foresight would do the same.

(AR15 - July 28, 2012)

Deputy put on leave after 2 police dogs die in hot SUV

TEXAS --- A Bexar County Sheriff's deputy was placed on administrative leave this week after the two police dogs he cared for were left inside a sweltering county vehicle overnight, killing them, authorities said.

Sheriff's Deputy Steve Benoy, who has been with the office for 23 years, is on a 10-day leave while the department investigates the deaths of the two Belgian Malinois. Although authorities said they believe the dogs suffered from apparent heat exhaustion, Animal Care Services is conducting a necropsy.

This photo, from 2007, shows Depuy
Benoy with a K9 Blitz

According to Deputy Chief Ronald “Dale” Bennett, Benoy drove the dogs to his Adkins home, 23 miles east of San Antonio, after he got off work around 2 p.m. Tuesday, just like he did every day.

He had a routine,” Bennett said.

But Benoy then left town for the night. When he returned home Wednesday, the dogs weren't where he usually keeps them when at home, Bennett said.

Instead, Benoy found the dogs where he had left them: in a county-owned Chevrolet Tahoe fitted with dog kennels. Animal Care Services was called to retrieve the bodies.

Officials did not immediately release the names and ages of the dogs, but Bennett said one was a narcotics dog and the other was assigned to patrol.

“It's just a very tragic accident,” Bennett said, adding that Benoy “is completely devastated.”

[How do you 'forget two large dogs in the back of your vehicle? You supposedly have a 'routine' that you do EVERY SINGLE DAY and you FORGET?! I hope they immediately drug tested this guy. There is something seriously wrong w/his judgment and substance abuse is a possible culprit.]

Benoy, who Bennett said has been a K-9 handler for 13 years and spent 10 years before that on patrol, declined to comment Thursday on the deaths.

The sheriff's office is conducting dual investigations, one to rule out animal cruelty and the other for administrative purposes. Bennett said a decision on any further action against Benoy won't be made until the investigation is complete.

“After the 10 days, it depends on what the investigation reveals,” Bennett said, adding that Benoy is “one of my most dedicated guys.”

According to state law, a person could face a charge of animal cruelty if the offense is committed “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.” The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

Two years ago, a Bexar County K-9 named Duke died of medical complications after he was left in a patrol car for 15 minutes with the air-conditioning running. Duke hadn't been acting normal earlier in the day, officials said at the time, and his handler was making arrangements to take him to the veterinarian. No charges were brought in that case.

Handlers take their animals home overnight, Bennett said, and the county pays for their kennels. Benoy has other dogs of his own and also raises horses, he said. The county's policy regarding care requirements for police dogs was not immediately available Thursday.

Sharon Gregory, the executive secretary of the Veterinary Medical Association of Bexar County who also manages a vet clinic, said handlers work with their police dogs during the day and go home together at night.

“I know they become extremely attached,” she said. “Not only were they companions, but it's also a tremendous financial loss.”

Buying a police canine costs about $2,000, she said, estimating that training, supplies and upkeep can cost close to $40,000.

Although it wasn't clear Thursday exactly what time Benoy discovered the bodies of the dogs, the high temperature both Tuesday and Wednesday was 96, according to the National Weather Service.

In just an hour, the temperature inside a vehicle on an 80-degree day can reach 123 degrees, according to the San Francisco State University's Department of Geosciences.

Veterinarian Donald Vestal said although dogs have a higher normal core temperature than humans — 101.5 is a normal temperature for a dog, he said — they have a harder time controlling their body temperature.

“Dogs are able to expel the heat from their bodies by panting,” Vestal said, “but they don't have many sweat glands; so they don't sweat efficiently. They have a much tougher time in hot situations.”

As a dog's body heats up, their ability to regulate their temperature weakens, he said. At 106 degrees, a dog's brain cells begin to fail, and cellular death soon follows.

Vestal said in San Antonio's hot, humid weather, heat exhaustion in pets is frequent. But of the 15 cases he sees in one year, Vestal said he typically saves 80 percent. The most effective way to cool down a dog suffering heat exhaustion is by an ice bath or cool water, he said.

Gregory said similar types of pet deaths aren't uncommon. Just last week, she said, she arrived at her clinic to a box of dead puppies outside the door.

“I'm sure they didn't mean to kill the puppies, but because they were left in a box with no water while we were closed, all six puppies died before we got there,” she said. “It's very serious in this kind of weather.”

(Mysanantonio.com - July 27, 2012)

Ohio: Deputies escape pit bull attack, make arrest

OHIO -- Clark County deputies arrested a 39-year-old man Friday night after nearly being attacked by a pit bull.

Deputies said they tried to serve an arrest warrant on Keith Mumma at 160 Neosha Ave. The warrant was issued from domestic violence and assault charges earlier in the day.

As they entered the yard, they said Mumma released a pit bull out of the back door.

They said the dog came at them, and they were barely able to get out of the yard.

Deputies said Mumma went back inside the house.

They contacted the Clark County Humane Society which was able to secure the dog.

Deputies said Mumma then came outside, and was arrested.

In addition to warrants for domestic violence and assault, Mumma now faces two charges of felonious assault on a police officer.

Mumma is scheduled to appear in Clark County Municipal Court Monday at 10:30 a.m.

(WHIO - July 28, 2012)

Pit bull attacks Amite mail carrier, bites and goes for her face

LOUISIANA -- The unprovoked, come-from-behind attack of a pit bull on an Amite mail carrier July 19 may be the latest support for a new vicious animal regulation proposed by council member Jonathan Foster.

The brown and white-spotted pit bull attacked her from behind, knocked her down, bit her on the buttocks and was going for her face. It emerged from under a mobile home without a bark. The mail carrier, an animal lover who herself once owned a pit bull, is hurt and enduring painful rabies shots.

She never approached the dog—or the owner’s home.

As for the pit bull that attacked her, it is being held by Tangipahoa Animal Control in Hammond.

The pit bull’s future is unclear. It could return home, maybe with a fine for its owner. Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards says the parish has no restrictions about this type of dog. He addressed the problem when a Hammond girl was attacked by a vicious pit bull earlier this spring.

The mail carrier who was attacked says that a vicious animal may not be taken away from its owner and/or euthanized unless it has four complaints filed about it. She knows there is at least one complaint—hers.

The proposed vicious dog law for the city of Amite is strict, requiring warning signs, adequate pens/fencing, liability insurance, fines and penalties and restrictions against using dogs for fighting.

“I am very concerned about the dog ordinance. I hope it gets passed,” she said July 25.

This is her story. She asked that her name not be printed for reasons relating to her job and privacy. The Amite Tangi Digest confirmed her circumstance.

Here is how the attack happened:

“I was across the street from the house. I delivered the mail there to the mailbox: 710 Church St. I was walking to deliver mail to another house.”

“I never saw the dog coming,” she says.

“The dog jumped, knocked me to the ground. He bit me on the buttocks. I was on my back. I pushed the dog back, put my hands up. He was going after my face,” she said. “I was rolling around on the ground.” A pit bull, brown with white spots. If the dog has a name, she doesn’t know it.

That is unusual because she knows most of the 650 residents and business people on her central Amite delivery route. She knows their children and many of their pets.

“Her growled once. He was biting me. It was unprovoked.”

“He never barked. He was silent. He came from under the house,” she said. A white mobile home.

“I didn’t go to the house or the yard,” she said. She had stepped out of her delivery vehicle, parked across the street at 709 Church St., and walked about 20 feet to the 710 mailbox, also at the street. “I went to the box on the road. I was not in his territory.”

“I had to get shots for tetanus, rabies. I am still on antibiotics for a week.” The bite in a photo looks to be about six inches long. She got no stitches. “Rabies shots are painful. The actual injury hurt worse.”
Will she support the proposed Amite vicious animal ordinance?


“People should be responsible for their animals to make sure they are kept in a safe place,” she says.

“I walk quieter now. I am afraid to touch my own dogs. As far as my job, it makes it more difficult,” she says. “It’s slowing me down a bit, beside my injury. Any little noises, I get real jumpy.”

(Tangilena.com - July 28, 2012)

Clifton officer saves girl, shoots pit bull

NEW JERSEY -- A-15-year-old girl was hospitalized after her family's pit pull viciously attack her and left her bruised, battered and bloodied.

The teen is expected to recover thanks to her 9-year-old brother's quick reaction to call police.

Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken said a 911 call came in to the Clifton Police Department around 1:30 p.m. on July 19 reporting a pit bull attacking a young female on Starmond Avenue. The call came from her younger brother.

Sgt. Harold Van Winkle said he was "around the corner" from the caller's home when the call came in and was able to arrive on scene in less than a minute.

"I've been on the job a long time," Van Winkle said, "and you know something is wrong when a call comes in like that. It's not a run of the mill call."

Upon arrival, Van Winkle said he saw the brother standing in the driveway with a cell phone still to his ear. Van Winkle said the boy appeared to be in shock and would not communicate, but the sergeant was able to get the boy to point downstairs toward the basement through the side door entrance to the home.

Inside, Van Winkle said he noticed staircases leading to the second floor and to the basement and both were stained with blood. He said it was clear there had been a struggle.

Van Winkle slowly made his way down the stairs into the basement where he said conditions were quiet and dark. Van Winkle said he had his flashlight drawn as he continued down while calling out to announce that he was a police officer.

Van Winkle described what happened next as "surreal." He said the young victim came running out of a side room in the basement completely saturated in blood while the dog was chasing "two steps" behind. Van Winkle said the nearly 100-pound, year-and-a-half-old male pit bull had a red ring of blood around its mouth.

"It was like something out of a movie," said Van Winkle. "I grabbed [the girl] and put myself between her and the dog. The dog was fixated on her and I don't believe the dog ever even saw me. [The dog] ran into my legs trying to get to her. I had my gun drawn. With one arm covering [the girl], I fired two shots – one in [the dog's] back and one in its head – and the dog spun around and went down."

Van Winkle quickly snatched the girl up and escorted her up the stairs where back-up officers were arriving. The secondary units grabbed medical kits and began administering first aid to the girl.

"My only first thoughts were to get the girl to safety," said Van Winkle. "She had very severe injuries to her left arm. It was horrible."

Bracken said the girl also received scratches and lacerations to her legs and abdomen and was quickly taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson where she was declared to be in serious condition. On Tuesday, Van Winkle said he last heard the girl will recover and will keep her arm, despite some damage to her tendons.

After the girl was secured, Van Winkle said he moved back into the basement to ensure the dog was down, but instead he found the dog was gone.

After conducting a search of the basement, Van Winkle said he saw the dog hiding in the corner of the laundry room.

"Apparently the bullet bounced off [the dog's] head," Van Winkle said, explaining that at this point Clifton Animal Control Officer Bob Boyle was on scene. Van Winkle alerted Boyle that the dog was still alive and needed to be snared.

Boyle and Van Winkle made their way into the basement slowly. Van Winkle said the dog was staring at them and growling and as the two made their way closer the dog became aggressive and started coming toward them as if to attack.

Van Winkle said he then fired one final shot in the dog's head, putting it down.

"At this point there is no indication that the animal was provoked," said Bracken, adding an investigation is still underway. "It appears to have been an unfortunate circumstance."

During a subsequent investigation, police learned the dog was unlicensed and Boyle said a violation fine will be issued to the family. Upon noticing a large scar on the 9-year-old boy's forearm, officers learned the same dog attacked the boy sometime in 2011.

Boyle said the typical fine for unlicensed animals is approximately $75, explaining additional summonses will be issued if the owner does not obtain the proper licensure.

Boyle said an animal license can be obtained in the Clifton Health Department and will be issued to those with vaccination papers that expire after the term of the license.

A one-year license costs $12 for a fixed dog and $16 for a dog that is not fixed. A three-year license costs $33 for a dog that is fixed and $45 for a dog that is not fixed. Boyle said there are special rules or exceptions for specific dog breeds.

"With any animal," Boyle said, "male or female, when they're not fixed, they can be more aggressive as they get older. A dog in heat can be more aggressive. And it's not healthy for the animal if you're not going to breed."

Boyle said the pit bull involved in the attack had been neutered.

(NorthJersey.com - July 27, 2012)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Illinois: Todd Mandoline accused of setting fire that killed woman and her dog

ILLINOIS -- Todd Mandoline was so enraged when his ex-girlfriend didn't respond to a text message that he torched her car, igniting a quick-moving fire that killed the Lombard woman who had just celebrated her birthday, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Villa Park man was being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and arson in the Sunday fire that killed Paula Morgan, 24, and critically injured her 25-year-old friend.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said Mandoline was one of several people at a birthday party for Morgan hours before the fire. At some point, an argument broke out and Mandoline was driven home. He then walked about two miles back to the party and stood outside the victim's home, sending her text messages for hours.

"What helped kind of set him off was that, at one point, she didn't respond," Berlin said.

He added Mandoline watched the victim come out of the house at one point, then saw her go back inside.

"The defendant became enraged, picked up a piece of paper, twisted it up, put it in the gas tank of the victim's vehicle parked in the driveway and took a lighter and set it on fire," Berlin said. "The whole car was engulfed in flames. Unfortunately, the fire spread to the home as well."

Authorities said the fire moved quickly from the vehicle to an attached garage, then into the home on the 1000 block of South Ahrens Avenue. Firefighters pulled Morgan and Jason Cassidy of Villa Park from the upstairs when they arrived about 4 a.m.

Morgan's 6-year-old son, who lived there with his mother and grandmother, heard a smoke detector and managed to escape on his own. Berlin said the child wandered outside and told several partygoers sleeping in the backyard that there was a fire.

Morgan, who would have turned 25 on Monday, died of smoke inhalation, Berlin said. Her dog Spencer also was killed, according to court records. Cassidy was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday.

"He is fighting for his life as we speak," Berlin said.

Lombard police arrested Mandoline, of the 200 block of Terry Lane, about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. After an initial denial, he "did admit setting the fire that caused the victim's death," according to Berlin.

Berlin said Mandoline and Morgan had a dating relationship but that he could not elaborate as the investigation continued. He said investigators have yet to review some phone records that will show exactly how many texts were sent and what was said.

Earlier Wednesday, Mandoline briefly appeared before Judge John Kinsella, who set arraignment for Aug. 13. The defendant was cuffed with his hands in front and wore a yellow jumpsuit indicating he's considered a high-risk inmate at the county jail.

Mandoline was represented by a public defender but told Kinsella he is working to retain private legal counsel, prompting the judge to delay a formal bond hearing. A private attorney referenced by Mandoline in court did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

If convicted, Mandoline could face up to natural life in prison. He has prior convictions for marijuana possession, driving under the influence and criminal damage to property, according to court records.

Several of Morgan's family members and friends were in court Wednesday but declined to comment. They have asked for privacy, prosecutors said.

"Our hearts go out to the victims' families," said Berlin, who described the case as "horrific."

"Fortunately, (Morgan's) son was able to get out from the flaming house," he said. "Unfortunately, however, her son will now grow up without his mother's love, comfort and protection, which is just heartbreaking."

(Daily Herald - July 26, 2012)

Full Name: Todd Mandoline
Gender: Male
Height: 5'09"
Weight: 150 lbs
Hair Color: BROWN
Eye Color: BLU
Arrest Date: 07/24/2012
Agency: DuPage County, Illinois

Roving pit bull dogs attack 2 people in Seattle

WASHINGTON -- Two pit bull dogs running loose attacked a 3-year-old girl and 74-year-old woman Thursday night in south Seattle.

Police say the little girl, her sister and mother had just left church and were trying to climb into their car when one dog bit the girl in the face. The second dog bit the girl on the head, leaving two puncture wounds. Some men in the group chased off the dogs.

About a block away they knocked down the 74-year-old woman. She was not bitten, but she hit her head on the ground and also injured a hand.

Fire department medics took the girl and the woman to a hospital for treatment.

Police searched the area but couldn't find the two dogs. Animal Control is investigating.

(Sacramento Bee - July 27, 2012)

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/27/4667379/roving-pit-bull-dogs-attack-2.html#storylink=cpy

Hundreds of Animals Allegedly Cruelly Confined in Hunt County

TEXAS -- Inadequate food, water, shelter or care is why the SPCA says they teamed with authorities to seize 249 animals Wednesday near the Kaufman County line just north of Terrell.

186 of those animals were of various fowl species, 32 were rabbits, 13 cats, 11 dogs and seven piglets. Various images of the animals and conditions were added to the SPCA's Flickr page.

Acting on a tip, officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated the property and confirmed the abuse.

According to a release, they attempted to work with the owner to bring the animals' conditions into compliance, but upon return nearly two weeks later conditions had deteriorated.

"The odor of feces was strong throughout the property. Dogs, cats, fowl and rabbits were living in feces-filled, overcrowded conditions in pens, cages and coops. Most of the animals were housed outside on the property, all of which was covered in feces and urine. Several dogs were living in make-shift pens made of chicken wire."

No arrests have been made in the case.

The animals have been transported to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney where they’ll remain at least until Tuesday’s custody hearing in Greenville, scheduled for 1 p.m. in front of Judge Sheila Linden.

In most cases, should the SPCA receive custody the animals will be evaluated and potentially offered for adoption.

(KETR - July 19, 2012)

Horse rescued after five days in underground bunker

UNITED KINGDOM -- A two-year-old horse has been rescued after being stuck in an underground chamber for five days.

Chico fell through a hole in the ground near a farm in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, on Saturday 14 July.

He was stuck in the concrete bunker for five days before firefighters dug him out on Thursday 19 July.

Eleven firefighters worked for four hours to free him. He was sedated and walked out, uninjured.

“We were called out on the Wednesday (18 July) and could hear an animal in distress but didn’t know where it was coming from. We spent three hours looking but couldn’t find him,” Pete Owen from West Yorkshire Fire Service told H&H.

“The next day the owners had found him — he had fallen into a bunker through a foot-thick concrete roof. It had steel walls and concrete slabs,he’d fallen through a 2ft hole in the ground.

“We assessed him and he was fine, so a vet sedated him and we dug through the walls to get him out.

“It was remarkable — after being down there for five days he was absolutely fine. We’ve been called out to other trapped animals in the past but the outcome hasn’t been as positive. He’s now back in the field with the other horses.”

(Horse and Hound UK - July 24, 2012)

Neptune woman pleads guilty in death of 36 cats

NEW JERSEY -- A township woman pleaded guilty Thursday and was fined for the deaths of her 36 cats, authorities said.

Lorraine R. Smith, 66, of West Bangs Avenue in the township, had raised the 36 cats in her separate residence on Laraine Avenue in Bradley Beach, said Chief Victor “Buddy’’ Amato of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Amato said the smell at the borough residence was so bad that he had to wear a hazardous materials suit just to go inside when he was called to go there in late May. He said he found the 36 dead cats throughout the three levels of the residence.

As a part of her penalty, Smith is not allowed get any new animals for the next five years. However, she is allowed to keep the other 15 cats she already owns and keeps at her township residence because they are healthy, Amato said.

She also was fined more than $5,000 and has spent $50,000 to clean the residence, Amato said.

The Asbury Park Press asked Amato for a photo of the suspect, but he declined. State law allows authorities discretion in releasing suspect photos, but they often refuse to do so saying media publicity could affect their ability to select a jury.

(Asbury Press - July 26, 2012)


Cats rescued from filthy garage

OHIO -- Sixteen cats found living in feces and trash were rescued by the Geauga County Humane Society. The cats were confined to a dangerously hot garage when they were found.

"These cats are victims of trauma and will need kind, patient individuals to adopt and work with them," Barnee Woolf with the GHS said. "These cats deserve no less help than what was, and is still being offered to the shepherds."

Video of two of the cats rescued were posted on YouTube by the GHS. They are nursing the cats until they are adopted.

You can help by donating to Project S.A.V.E., which helps fund veterinary care to rescued cats. The GHS says several cats are currently up for adoption. You can visit www.geaugahumane.org to donate and find out more about donating to Project S.A.V.E.

(WOIO - July 26, 2012)

Dog bite victim recovering

GEORGIA -- Chloe Carr, 10, of Cedartown said knows first-hand what it’s like to be once bitten, twice shy.

Carr was the victim of a bad dog bite while playing at a friends house the afternoon of July 16.
“I will be asking the breed before I touch,” she said.

Carr said she was at her friend’s house on Spruce Street watching over a toddler boy with the homeowner’s dog, a pit-Labrador mix on a rope nearby.

The dog had never been a problem before and she had been at the house many times, she said.

“There was a little boy and he was going to pull the dog’s tail,” she said. “I moved the little boy away from the dog and set him down.

“When I set him down, that’s when the dog attacked me.”

Carr’s mother had been waiting for her in her car.

“When she came around the side of the house, it looked like a scene out of a horror movie,” Mrs. Carr said.

She immediately rushed her daughter to Polk Medical Center. Carr was then transferred to Floyd Medical Center in Rome, where she had to have surgery on her mouth.

“Her lip was slit all the way down,” said mother Carol Carr, “so they had to repair it on both sides and bring it up.”

Carr’s arms were also scratched from where she pushed it away.

Police and Polk County Animal Control were called, according to Mrs. Carr. The dog is quarantined to check for signs of rabies and will likely be euthanized, she said.

Cedartown police didn’t have a report on the incident and Polk County Safety Director Randy Lacey, who oversees animal control, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Carr still has a long way to full recovery, her mother said. Now, she has to eat out of syringes because she can’t open her mouth fully and can’t chew.

Stitches will come out soon, but doctors told the Carrs it would take a year for a full recovery.

Neither Chloe, nor her mother, hold a grudge against the dog’s owner. They are friends and their children will continue to play together. There will not be any litigation, according to Mrs. Carr.

However, Carr said she is telling her story as a warning to other dog owners. She said owners, particularly those owning dangerous breeds, need to be extra cautious with children around and should always provide adult supervision.

She also said all owners should make sure their dogs have their rabies shots.

(The Fish Wrap - July 27, 2012)

Convicted dog abuser gets nine years probation

IOWA -- A convicted animal abuser who had her original probation revoked for violating a judge’s order not to live with dogs has been sentenced to a new, nine-year term of probation.

Denise K. Withee, 49, of Mapleton, Iowa, was convicted by a jury in July 2009 of three counts of felony cruel neglect of animals. She was sentenced by Hall County District Judge William Wright to four years of probation, and was ordered not to own, possess or reside with animals for five years.

Denise K. Withee

On Jan. 12, authorities found 13 dogs in the Iowa home she shared with her mother. She returned to Hall County in March to spend time in jail for the violation and Wright ordered her to the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York for a 90-day diagnostic evaluation.

On Thursday, Withee appeared in court to be resentenced due to the revocation of her original probation.

“We’re going to start over with something,” Wright said.

Withee’s attorney, Deputy Hall County Public Defender Vicki Kenney, asked for consecutive terms of probation in the interest of helping her client and protecting animals. Consecutive terms would allow additional time for the court to supervise Withee. If she is sentenced to prison, she would likely be paroled quickly due to having already served 132 days behind bars and having a minimal criminal history, Kenney said.

“What she needs is supervision and psychological help,” she said.

Kenney said the evaluation done in York didn’t address animal hoarding specifically. Having done some research of her own, she said her client fits the description of an animal hoarder. She is someone who keeps a lot of animals and can’t see that she isn’t properly caring for them. Withee has severe depression and has soothed herself by owning animals that will give her unconditional love. Kenney compared the animal hoarding to a drug addict or an alcoholic taking more of a substance to reach a high.

“Unless treated, animal hoarding has a 100 percent recidivism rate,” Kenney said. “She’s an addict. She’s an addict of animals. She’s an addict of their unconditional love.”

During her trial, Withee testified she had been taking the dogs across Nebraska in July 2008 when she got sick and passed out. When she woke up, 20 of the dogs were dead and three were dying. She left them in a field near Grand Island before checking into a hotel with more dogs.

The field where the dead dogs were found

Deputy Hall County Attorney David Medlin said Withee violated a condition of her probation that was directly related to the charges against her. He said he was aware of her mental health history and acknowledged she has some serious issues. He believed those issues could be fully addressed in the prison system.

She had the chance to get treatment while on probation before, but she failed to completely address her issues, Medlin said. He asked that she be sentenced to prison for the structured environment that will keep her away from animals for a while.

“Obviously, this court can’t control her forever,” he said.

Withee chose not to make a statement in court before being sentenced.

“You’ve obviously been an ongoing problem for this court for some time,” Wright said.

He said the Department of Corrections evaluation shows the limitations the state has in treating people with mental health issues. Withee had been treated at Mercy Behavioral Health Center in Iowa, where she received electroshock therapy and anti-depression medication. Wright said the electroshock shock therapy had apparently been working.

“You do have a severe, a major depressive disorder,” he said. “There is little point in keeping you incarcerated except to protect animals. You need ongoing treatment. I’ve got to put you on probation again, but this probation will be longer and have additional requirements.”

Those requirements include 100 hours of community service, electronic monitoring, intensive outpatient treatment including electroshock therapy, continuing on prescribed medications, and not owning or living with any animals for nine years or until her release from probation, he said.

In addition, Wright said, the probation office in Iowa doesn’t have to accept Withee’s probation and has 48 business hours to respond to Nebraska’s request that they supervise her probation. Wright ordered Withee to remain in Nebraska until Tuesday at 5 p.m. If Iowa doesn’t accept the supervision, Withee will have to return to court for another hearing, he said.

(The Independent - July 26, 2012)

Abused Conklin dogs are recovering

NEW YORK -- This was the condition of thirteen Dobermans when they were removed from Christine Macan's home on July 4th. They were emaciated, covered in feces and had been living with the bodies of several other dead dogs and dead small animals.

"I've seen a lot in my years, but this one truly is one of the worst I've seen, because of the conditions they lived in and the amount of animals was quite alarming," said Humane Society Animal Cruelty Investigator Tarah Tripp.

Two weeks later, the Humane Society says the dogs and other small animals taken from the home are taking steps toward recovery. The living rabbits and hamsters are being given care. Twelve of the thirteen dogs are still alive and are slowly regaining their health.

"They are gaining weight. They are very friendly and very happy. They are getting their exercise. They've been given several baths," said Tripp.

Two of the dogs have already found new homes, but the Humane Society is accepting adoption applications for the other ten. The dogs will be ready for adoption next week.

"I'm very hopeful they will find wonderful home. I'm going to be personally adamant that each and every home I choose, I will do a home visit and checking references and making sure it’s a perfect fit for their lifestyle," said Tripp.

A recovery effort that investigators say was helped by the support of the community.

"We're very pleased that the community has come out and helped us, we've never had so many food and monetary donations that I can remember in my six years," said Tripp.

And one that can remind the public of the important role they can play in reporting alleged case of animal cruelty.

(YNN - July 17, 2012)


Four Corners man facing charges for animal cruelty

NEW MEXICO -- Six malnourished and neglected horses were seized by the livestock board Wednesday morning in the Four Corners.

“The deputy and the livestock inspector are going up to the residence to serve the warrant," said Debbie Coburn.

Coburn is the owner of Four Corners Equine Rescue.

She received a phone call from the livestock board after authorities received a tip that led them to the home of Joe Gallagher.

Behind the property were six horses in very bad shape.

“They're thin...very thin. Their hooves...some of them haven't been trimmed in at least two years," said Coburn.

This is Coburn’s fourth seizure this year.

The owner of these horses is someone she has dealt with before.

“He had come to the rescue about seven years ago and tried to adopt a couple of horses," she said.

Going on her instincts, Coburn denied his adoption.

After carefully loading the horses, they were taken to Animal Haven in Farmington for evaluation.

“They're in bad shape. I'll have to do some blood work and some fecal exams...see how bad everything is," said Doctor Joe Quintana.

After hours of work, Coburn is happy with the way everything turned out.

“Today is a good day that we got the horses out of there. Unfortunately it's just the first step in the process."

Gallagher faces six counts of animal cruelty and will appear in court on August 14 in Aztec.

(KOB - July 25, 2012)