Thursday, July 31, 2014

'I was punching and kicking the pit bull to try and make him stop, but he didn’t even flinch'

CANADA -- At 6:40 a.m., on Wednesday morning, Pitt Meadows resident Greg Wyatt took his Yorkshire terrier Tucker for a walk.

He couldn’t imagine what would unfold before he returned to his Shoreline Strata home, located on Fraser Way in Pitt Meadows.

As Tucker and Wyatt made their way down their driveway back to the house around 7 a.m., a pit bull being walked by another resident in a neighbouring complex, broke free of his owner’s hold, ran towards Tucker with the leash still around his neck, and attacked the small dog, killing him, Wyatt recounted.

RIP little Tucker

The entire attack took less than a minute, said Wyatt.

“Tucker’s neck was broken and his tongue was hanging out, but the dog was still shaking him,” Wyatt told the TIMES.

“I was punching and kicking the pit bull to try and make him stop, but he didn’t even flinch.”

Eventually, the pit bull stopped shaking the eight-pound Tucker, dropped him, then backed away.

It was only then, he said, that the pit bull’s owner intervened, took the dog away, and carried on with their walk.

For Wyatt the tragedy of losing his beloved pet is compounded by the fact that he believes the whole event was avoidable.

Wyatt and his wife Judy live in a strata residence, and noted that a year and a half ago, a neighbour told them her dog was attacked by the same pit bull.

“We had warned the strata that something like this could happen, but no one seemed to want to address the issue,” said Wyatt, who claimed to have sounded the alarm in his family-oriented neighbourhood, fearing a baby or young child could be next.

“It’s so sad,” he said. “What if that had been someone’s child?”

Some of Wyatt’s neighbours witnessed the attack, and since then the SPCA, the RCMP, and the Strata company have been informed.

Mounties and the City are investigating. In the meantime, Wyatt said he considering civil action against the strata.

An event like this should be cause for the strata to seriously question its policies on what kind dogs residents are allowed to own, he said.

“This dog has caused trauma and it’s really gotten out of hand,” Wyatt explained.

At the moment, however, all his family’s focus is on mourning the loss of seven-year-old Tucker.

“All I know is I have a dead little dog who was the sweetest dog ever,” he said.

His wife said she was “heartbroken” by the loss. “These little ones are part of your family.”

(Vancouver Sun - July 31, 2014)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Missouri: Deputy failed to document first dog bite, office says

MISSOURI -- A woman biking in rural Greene County was attacked and bitten by a dog three days before a man was also attacked and bitten in the same area — and the Greene County Sheriff's Office says the deputy who responded did not document the incident on the day it happened, violating department policy.

In addition, a Greene County commissioner told the News-Leader on Thursday that the dog apparently responsible for the bites was not euthanized for rabies testing until Wednesday.

Acting county administrator Chris Coulter on Monday said he believed the dog had already tested negative for the disease.

Rebecca Campbell was biking on East Farm Road 170 northeast of Logan-Rogersville High School on July 3 when she said she was attacked.

On July 6, Miguel Nunez was attacked while cycling in the same area.

Campbell said four dogs rushed her just as they had surrounded Nunez and that one of them bit her.

"I had to fend off the dog with my bicycle just as he had," Campbell said.

Campbell said she was able to get away from the dogs and call 911. But Campbell said the deputy who responded, Darrell LeAn, told her there was not much law enforcement could do.

The deputy was also not worried about the threat of rabies, Campbell said, and told her to go home and rub some alcohol on the wound.

"He said, 'No, you don't really need to be concerned about that," Campbell said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rabies vaccine should be given as soon as possible after exposure to the virus and that a doctor, possibly in consultation with a local health department, will decide if a vaccine is needed.

"I'm really, really aggravated they told me don't worry about it," Campbell said.

Deputy Cathy Ussery said LeAn did not follow department policy because he did not document the incident. Campbell said the deputy called her Wednesday to say he was filing a report.

Ussery said Campbell at the time of the bite declined a report and declined to pursue criminal charges, though she indicated someone needed to observe the dog.

Campbell said her attempts to contact the dogs' owner over the next few days were not successful.
Ussery said 20 days after the bite, Campbell told the deputy she wanted to press charges.

Commissioner Harold Bengsch said the dog's brain has been sent to Jefferson City for testing in a lab.

Coulter said Monday he believed the dog's owner had already had the dog tested and that he thought it was found not to have rabies. Testing for rabies requires that the animal be euthanized first.

At the time, Nunez doubted Coulter's statement, asking what his proof was.


Campbell said she understands the chance the animal has rabies is small. But only a test can tell for sure.

In the county, there is no requirement for animals to be vaccinated against rabies, Bengsch said, adding he is not sure if the county would have the authority to implement a vaccination requirement.

Still, he urged animal owners to take proactive action.

"When animals run at large you just don't know what their exposure might be. That's why it's so incumbent to have animals immunized against rabies," Bengsch said.

Campbell has not received the rabies vaccine, but Nunez did. He said the procedure involved numerous shots and was both painful and costly.

(Springfield News-Leader - Jul 25, 2014)

Woman airlifted to Topeka for dog bite injuries

KANSAS -- A woman was airlifted from an Americus home Monday afternoon for dog bite wounds.

First responders arrived on Fourth Street in Americus following a phone call just after 3 p.m. for a seizure Cheryle Hardy, 35, was having.

 Inside, they found Lisa Gardner, 51, who was barricaded inside with bite wounds. A pit bull was loose inside the house, and more dogs were in cages.

Lyon County deputies and Americus police soon arrived on scene.

Sheriff Jeff Cope said Gardner had tried to pull the pit bull off Hardy while she was suffering from a seizure.

Gardner is still in Topeka Stormont-Vail with injuries. She was listed in fair condition as of early Wednesday morning.

Hardy was taken to an Newman Regional Hospital Monday for bite wounds and the original medical call for her seizure. The hospital does not release patient information to the media.

The pit bull is under quarantine for 10 days. The case is still under investigation.

(Emporia Gazette - July 30, 2014)

Dog bite victim says town isn't doing enough

ARIZONA -- A Patagonia man who was recently attacked by a German shepherd said the town is not doing enough to protect its citizens from similar incidents.

During the June 23 regular meeting of the Patagonia Town Council, Richard Howells told the council members that he had been walking his small dog in his neighborhood when a pair of German shepherds left their yard and came at him.

“It would have been all over for my dog,” Howells said.

He managed to pick up his dog and protect it, but still got bit, he said.

Later, Howells said, he discovered that the rabies vaccination certification for the dog that bit him had expired.

Howells said he is not alone and the town is getting a bad rap due to the culmination of dog bite incidents.

“All you have to do is go to the clinic (Family Health Center) and you will hear of many, many bites in Patagonia,” Howells said adding that such incidents should be rare rather than commonplace. “It’s not a good situation. Anything the town could do to make that better would be great.”

Councilwoman Andrea Wood said she would like the council to find out how many bites there have been and how those incidents are being addressed. Wood said that a mother she knows won’t even walk down her alley with her baby because of a vicious Rottweiler that bangs against the fence, and that she fears might bust through.

Councilwoman Meg Gilbert, who has been bitten in the past, agreed. Gilbert said she would like to hear from the town marshal about the matter.

“I don’t understand why we still have this problem,” Gilbert said.

Marshal Joe Patterson, who was on a call during the meeting, said he was familiar with the incident involving Howells that occurred on Rothrock Alley. He said Howells did not want to press charges.

Patterson said it was unfortunate that Howells had to ask the council to address dog issues once again. Patterson added that he wished more people had attended the council meetings earlier this year, in which the town code was revised and issues such as loose animals and the number of dogs an owner could have were discussed.

(Nogales International - July 30, 2014)

Security guard's dog bites woman at apartment complex

OHIO -- A security guard is in trouble after his dog bit a resident of the apartment complex he patrols.

Police were called to 633 West Grand Avenue just after 11:00 a.m. on the report of a dog bite.

The security officer says the victim was being evicted. He says she charged at him and his dog attacked.

The boyfriend of the victim says “they were minding their own business” when the dog attacked.
The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of a bite to the chin.

Police cited the security guard for failure to control his dog. The dog was ordered quarantined in the security guard’s home for 10 days. Animal resource workers declined to remove it.

(WDTN - July 30, 2014)

Athens boy mauled, cop attacked by pit bull

GEORGIA -- Athens-Clarke County police reported that an officer on Tuesday shot and killed a dog that attacked him after it mauled a 10-year-old boy.

The dog was described by police as a pit bull owned by the boy’s family.

Police responded to the victim’s home in the 400 block of Nellie B Avenue at 9:46 p.m. after receiving a report of the attack. They were met by a 14-year-old boy who said his younger brother had been bitten in the face by their dog, according to police.

“(He) was visibly upset about what just happened and expressed his desire for the dog to die,” according to a police incident report.

When the victim approached officers, he was in a lot of pain and holding a towel to his jaw area.

“I observed a large laceration from the corner of his lip to the bottom of his jaw,” an officer wrote in the report. “It appeared part of the area was bitten off.”

The boy’s family members told the officers that the dog was in its cage with the door open, police said, at which time the officers moved them to the end of their driveway to put distance between them and the dog.

Emergency medical workers then arrived and one of the responders told officers he wanted to search for the missing piece of the boy’s face. He was told to wait for animal control officers to arrive so that they could secure the dog, police said.

In the meantime, the dog left its cage and began walking toward the officers, the victim and his family members, according to police.

One officer tried to push the dog away with his baton, but the dog bit it and caused the officer to drop it, police said.

As the officer retreated from the dog, the animal jumped and bit him in the arm, police said.

As the dog was biting, the officer he drew his pistol and shot it several times, killing it, according to police.

Police said the missing piece of the boy’s face could not be found. The boy was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The bitten officer was treated at the scene by National EMS personnel, but police said he later drove himself to the hospital.

The victim’s stepfather gave an account of what happened when later interviewed by police.

He said he was outside watering trees on his property while the victim was playing with the family’s dogs on the front porch, according to police.

When one of the dogs bit the victim in the face and would not let go, the stepfather said he struck the animal with a stick. It eventually released the boy and ran into its cage.

The man told police he believed the dogs may have recently been mating.

(Online Athens - July 30, 2014)

Tennessee: John Turner Charged with Aggravated Animal Cruelty

TENNESSEE -- In his latest report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 45 year old John Michael Turner of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal and reckless endangerment.

His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on August 21.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, July 21 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on A.B. Frazier Road where a man was reported to be shooting at a mobile home.

Upon arrival, the officer spoke with neighbors who said that a man (Turner) was on the roof of his house shooting at a dog as it ran toward their home with two children playing in the yard.

The deputy went next door and spoke with Turner who admitted that he had shot and hit the dog as it ran limping from his yard. A shotgun and three shell casings were found at the scene.

According to the warrants, Turner intentionally shot the dog causing serious physical injury to the animal and that he placed the neighbor's children in imminent danger.

(WJLE - July 29, 2014)

Grand jury indicts woman for stealing guide dog after dog is found on Craigslist

OHIO -- The Dayton woman accused of stealing a guide dog out of a blind woman’s backyard, then selling the dog on Craigslist, will be heading to court, reports WHIO.

On Wednesday, Bonnie Ritchie, 21, was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on one count of theft from the elderly or disabled, which is a fifth degree felony.

Prosecutor Mat Heck, Jr. said in a news release “This defendant stole from someone with challenges. This dog was the owner’s helper dog as well as the family pet.”

On February 17, Sheryl Williams, who is legally blind, let her Rottweiler named Diamond out into her backyard. Before long, however, Diamond was gone, stolen off its chain. When Williams made a plea on the local news, asking that the person who stole her guide dog return Diamond, she found out that person allegedly sold the dog on Craigslist.

When Thomas O’Shea saw the missing guide dog on the news, he recognized the dog as the one he purchased from Bonnie Ritchie through her Craigslist ad. Ritchie had told O’Shea she was finding a new home for her neighbor's dog, after the neighbor landed in jail. O’Shea knew the right thing to do was to return Diamond, so he contacted the police on February 25.

After returning Diamond, the O’Shea family received offers for Rottweiler puppies. The puppy they accepted they decided to name Diamond.

William’s community also stepped in to help. Hearing her story inspired Ron Gillespie to donate a fence, and neighbors came together to build it.

While people may feel their animals are safe in their own yards, Heck encourages pet owners to license their pets for their safety, and make sure to “have them micro-chipped, which will ensure identification if they become lost or stolen.”

Online court records show Ritchie’s next court date is scheduled for July 31.

(Examiner - July 19, 2014)

Cop forces family to leave their elderly, nearly blind Chihuahua on side of road. Three days later, Guero is found dead on the side of the freeway

TEXAS -- Ten days ago, a traffic stop forever changed the life of a Houston family and they say, cost the life of their pet.

Josie Garcia says her husband often took their Chihuahua, named Guero, for rides. On Sunday, she says he left a family party to give a friend a ride. Guero, as usual, was in the SUV.

A few minutes later, Garcia says an HPD officer pulled over the truck for failure to use a turn signal.

The vehicle was searched, and prescription medication she says belonged to the passenger was found. Both men were taken into custody.

Guero, she claims, was taken out of the truck that was about to be towed and left on the side of the Highway 59 feeder road near Collingsworth.

"My husband pleaded with the officer to let him call someone to come get Guero, and asked him to call Barc (Houston's animal shelter), but he said it wasn't his problem, that the dog would be fine," Garcia said.

Three days later, after someone responded to a 'lost' sign Garcia has left around Fifth Ward, she was told where she could find Guero. She was also told he didn't make it. She found him on a shoulder of the Eastex Freeway. The dog, which was nearly blind from cataracts and old age, had been hit and killed.

Garcia cried as she told the story of wrapping his body in a towel and taking him home, where the family buried him.

The story doesn't end with his death. Instead, it has a new chapter.

Garcia filed a complaint against the officer with HPD Internal Affairs.

Tuesday, she spoke before City Council, compressing her story into three short minutes. It got an immediate response from Mayor Annise Parker.

"Let me give you a public apology right now on behalf of the city of Houston," Parker told Garcia. "I don't know what airhead -- there's another word in my mind but I'm not going to say it -- would throw, you wouldn't put a kid on the side of the road. You shouldn't put someone's pet on the side of the road."

Council members are asking that if a policy regarding pets caught up in police activity isn't clear, it should be.

Garcia says she is glad someone is listening, and recognizing that for a lot of people, pets are part of the family.

(ABC13 - July 23, 2014)

Teen and his friend torture and kill his family's Jack Russell

CALIFORNIA -- An 18-year-old from Sonora was arrested following an incident over the weekend.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Sgt. Scott Johnson says deputies investigated a report of underage drinking Sunday morning at a home in the 20000 block of Lyons Bald Mountain Road.

When they arrived, they learned that 18-year-old Morgan Kenneth Styre, and an unidentified 16-year-old, had physically assaulted and killed a six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier the previous day.

Styre was arrested for animal cruelty. The Sheriff’s Office is still trying to locate the 16-year-old male that was involved.

The Sheriff’s Office says the dog belonged to the Styre family.

(My Mother Lode - July 28, 2014)

Rayville Man Charged for Animal Cruelty

LOUISIANA -- A Rayville man has been charged with animal cruelty, according to the Richland Parish Sheriff's Department.

Ashton Williams, 22, was arrested and charged after leaving his dog tied up outside without access to food, water or shelter.

Sadly, the sheriff's department says the dog died due to the neglect.

Richland Parish Sheriff Lee Harrell says mistreatment or cruelty to animals is not tolerated.

(MyArkLaMiss - Jul 26, 2014)

Animal services seeks cruelty charges against owner of 61 Shelties

CALIFORNIA -- The director of Riverside County Animal Services said he plans to seek animal cruelty charges against the owner of 61 Shetland sheepdogs that were impounded after a house fire displaced them near Riverside last Sunday.

The dogs were recovered after an attic fire damaged a single-story home on Pick Place in the Woodcrest neighborhood south of Riverside. Three people were also burned out of the home.

According to a news release, the owner of the dogs, Ginny Dennis, surrendered ownership to animal services Sunday afternoon and veterinarians began the long process of examining each one of them.


When the dogs were first found on the property, they appeared to be in excellent condition with good coats and no behavioral issues, according to John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services.

But after veterinarians had a chance to examine the shelties in-depth, Chief Veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys said the dogs showed signs of years of neglect and almost every one of them had poor dental hygiene.

"We believe the dogs were never cared for in a manner consistent with proper animal husbandry," Dr. Drusys said. "All dogs require a proper level of dental hygiene, similar to us. There was a complete lack of oral hygiene provided to these animals. In some cases there was more tartar than teeth in their mouths. The condition of the mouths was a direct reflection of complete lack of care the owner provided. Basically these dogs were fed, and nothing else was done for them."

Directory Robert Miller said almost every one of the Shelties was tick-infested, matted and had flea infestations. None of them appeared to have been bathed or groomed regularly, if at all.

"The animals were living in filth," Miller said. "Essentially, our plan is to seek animal cruelty based on her lack of providing proper veterinary care for these animals. A pet owner must provide consistent veterinary care for their animals."

Employees and volunteers with Riverside County Animal Services washed and groomed dozens of the Shetland sheepdogs to prepare them for adoption. On Friday, they began calling back more than 100 people who expressed interest, according to officials.

Miller said the department reserves the right to do a yard check, or inspection of a potential adopter's property, as a contingency to adoption.

Adoptions will likely happen sometime next week. Some people have already placed a 'hold' on the dog they wish to adopt.

Anyone still interested in adopting can send an email to Riverside County Animal Services: They ask you to please not call their offices.


The department is concerned that some of the would-be adopters are actually friends of the dogs' former owner and are going to attempt to somehow get the dogs back to her.

"We're going to do everything to ensure these dogs are going to loving families and not end up back in the possession of someone we do not believe is capable of caring for animals in a proper manner," Miller said.

Volunteers from the American Shetland Sheepdog Association, Southland Shelties Rescue Inc., Sheltie Rescue Alternative, the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southern California and the Santiago Shetland Sheepdog Club came to the aid of the dogs to clean them up for their new homes.

(KESQ - July 25, 2014)


Long Island Man Sentenced To 60 Days In Jail For Animal Cruelty

NEW YORK -- A Long Island man was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to an animal cruelty charge back in February.

Lee Hughes, 40, of Oyster Bay, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation for failure to provide veterinary care to a dog suffering from a neck wound that became so infected that it compromised the dog’s ability to breath, the Nassau County District Attorney’s office said.

Hughes’ probation also comes with an order barring him from owning animals for five years.

The incident happened in March of last year. The pit bull mix named “Snowball” was adopted by private citizens following several surgeries.

Hughes’s wife, Shawanna, was sentenced in May to 30 days in jail and three years of probation on a different animal cruelty charged related to Snowball.

According to the DA’s office, Shawanna had failed to provide veterinary care between October 2012 through December 2012 for a severe injury suffered by the dog. She has also been banned from owning animals for five years.

The Hughes's are also accused in a separate animal cruelty case involving a veterinary assistant and a 7-month-old puppy named “Miss Harper.”

The Nassau County couple is accused of using a friend, veterinary technician Reginald Smith, to cut off the puppy’s ears, likely with scissors, the New York State Attorney General’s office said.

The complaint against the suspects said they then put rubber bands and socks on Miss Harper’s hind legs to prevent her from scratching. That caused the blood to not properly circulate to her legs.

The Hughes's allegedly illegally paid the vet tech hundreds of dollars to amputate one of the pup’s legs, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported in February.

All three were charged with various counts of animal cruelty, practicing veterinary medicine without a license and conspiracy in that case.

Miss Harper was put up for adoption after receiving care by veterinarians.

(CBS Local - July 24, 2014)


Sumner animal cruelty hearing draws protesters

TENNESSEE -- "Where are the dogs?"

That's what a small group of protesters shouted outside Sumner County General Sessions Court in Gallatin Friday morning when Nicole Friedman Hulbig appeared for her scheduled preliminary hearing.

Judge James Hunter instead bound the case over to the grand jury and criminal court, where Hulbig has to appear on Aug. 22 for an arraignment.

Hulbig, 29, was charged with eight counts of animal cruelty after deputies with the Sumner County Sheriff's Office discovered 37 bags of dog remains and 39 unhealthy dogs on June 5 at her RRR Service Dogs organization inside a New Deal community barn. The barn was behind Hulbig's mother's house.


Hulbig is also charged with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty in Montgomery County after police found four dead puppies in a Clarksville home, where she lived with her husband, Eric Hulbig, who was also charged in the case.

Prosecutors with the Sumner County District Attorney's Office requested to skip Friday's preliminary hearing and move the case forward to criminal court.

 "I see no advantage for her to have a preliminary hearing today," said attorney Randy Lucas, who had been appointed to represent Hulbig until Friday.

Protesters: 'Voice for the voiceless'
Hulbig claimed she was rescuing dogs and training them to be service animals for disabled veterans and children.

On Friday, protesters held signs that read "No Mercy for the Hulbigs" and "No excuses, no mercy."

The Clarksville-based animal-rights advocates wore matching T-shirts with a red paw and the phrase "We are the voice for the voiceless."

(The Tennessean-Jul 25, 2014)


100+ animals suffer in Las Vegas heat inside un-air-conditioned house full of feces/urine. Owner cited on ONE count of cruelty even though they all suffered horribly

NEVADA -- The woman who kept more than 100 cats in her house has been cited for animal cruelty, North Las Vegas police said.

Animal control officers last week rescued 112 cats and a dog from a home in the 800 block of Harp Way, near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue.

Police said the house, which had a broken air conditioner, was uninhabitable.

The 47-year-old woman, who police have not named, was charged with a misdemeanor citation of animal cruelty.

Animal control took the cats and dog to Lied Animal Shelter.

(Review Journal - July 28, 2014)

Future Serial Killers? Teens plead guilty to animal cruelty after beating goose to death

MICHIGAN -- Two teens from Dexter pled guilty to animal cruelty related to an incident involving a pair of mated Canada geese that happened April 13.

The boys received a deferred sentence with six months of probation and mandatory community service.

“The two boys, who happen to be baseball players, admitted to throwing rocks at a pair of Canada geese,” said Michele Baxter, HSHV Cruelty Investigator. “When we arrived, the female was protecting her nest and her male partner was lifeless in the water. According to a witness, he confronted the boys, but was too late to save the male.”

The deceased goose had a USGS band which was placed on him in 2011 as a fledgling.

“This is a very sad situation for all involved,” said Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV President and CEO.

We know taking pleasure in tormenting an animal can be a troubling red flag. We also know that the seeds of compassion are within all of us, but they must be nurtured. We hope these young men will receive meaningful intervention.

"In the meantime, HSHV will keep working to not just protect animals, but to prevent cruelty by providing humane education that teaches children compassion and respect for life.”

(Heritage Newspapers - Jul 29, 2014)

Man gets probation for giving puppy beer and then dragging it, unconcscious, down the street

MASSACHUSETTS -- A 46-year-old Lowell man accused of dragging his unconscious German shepherd puppy by a leash during the Lowell Folk Festival a year ago was given a suspended sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.

In Lowell District Court Monday, Carl Manherz was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for a year while he is on probation, prosecutor Rachel Perlman said.

As part of the plea, Manherz forfeited ownership of the dog, Kinoka, Perlman said.

Police say Kinoka, then a puppy, appeared to be unconscious and was being dragged on its side on July 27, 2013, police said.

Bystanders and emergency personnel aided Kinoka, who was later placed in the care of a family for adoption, Perlman said.

Manherz, who was allegedly unsteady on his feet, slurred his words as he told police the puppy was sleeping. He allegedly told police he had been giving the puppy beer to drink throughout the hot day.

While the case was pending, a condition of his release was that he remain alcohol-free. In May, a judge ordered him to either go to detox or jail after he admitted drinking a dozen beers.

His attorney suggested that instead of jail, Manherz be allowed to complete a detox program at Tewksbury State Hospital and participate in after-care.

(The Sun - July 30, 2014)

Upgraded charges could be coming in Lauderdale animal cruelty case

ALABAMA -- It’s been called one of the most severe cases of horse cruelty animal control officers and rescue groups have seen in Lauderdale County.

A sight so disturbing there are many pictures from the seizure we can’t show you.

When looking at two mares that were rescued, you can see tail-bones protruding out, skin rot on their backs, and a bridle which grew into the skin on one of them.

They were confiscated from a small farm on County Road 81 in Lauderdale County that at one time had 32 horses in a pasture.

Kristi Mitchell with Singing River Equine Rescue was with the team of animal control officers and deputies who seized 16 surviving horses.

“One horse had to be euthanized on the scene. He either had, it appears he had a really bad eye injury that had gone untreated for a long time and it was bleeding,” explained Mitchell.

The owner of the horses, 65-year-old Horace Mearl White is facing 32 counts of animal cruelty, class “A” misdemeanors.

Prosecutors said they are researching the possibility of upgrading the charges to felony status due to the deplorable conditions and death of 16 horses.

Mitchell said in her time as a volunteer, she has never seen anything like this.

“There was a water cooler that had water in it, but mosquitoes covered it. Lots of mud. The hay looked like broom straw, the horses wouldn’t eat it,” Mitchell stated.

While prosecutors decide on charges, Mitchell said she will work to slowly rehabilitate the horses that are now in her care, hoping they make it through.

Singing River Equine Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit facility who takes in the most severe cases of horse cruelty from law enforcement and nurses the animals back to health.

To help donate funds to the rescue or to adopt a horse, follow this link.

(WHNT - July 29, 2014)


Former volunteer at rescue group charged with aggravated animal cruelty

GEORGIA -- A former volunteer at a Macon animal rescue group was charged Tuesday with 17 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

Deborah Lynne Scott, 52, has been in the Bibb County jail since Sunday, when she was arrested on a second-degree burglary charge from her time at Macon Purrs N Paws. The animal cruelty charges are all felonies, said sheriff’s Lt. Sean DeFoe.

Macon Purrs N Paws representatives said they recently learned that Scott was keeping multiple animals at an abandoned house with no running water or electricity, but they didn’t know where the house was located.

When Scott was jailed on the burglary charge, she refused to reveal the animals’ location, leading Macon Purrs volunteers to use Facebook pleas and neighborhood fliers to try to track the animals down with help from the sheriff’s office, said Anne Brennaman, founder of the group.

But that break didn’t come until Tuesday afternoon, and the animals -- which had been inside a house with no air conditioning -- had been without food and water since at least Sunday morning.

“Macon Purrs N Paws stopped a man and asked (him) if he recognized a picture of her,” Brennaman said Tuesday. “He led (the volunteers) to a house (on Dewey Street) ... where (the animals) were found.”

Fifteen cats and one dog were inside, alive but in bad shape. One cat was already dead, she said.

“We had to put on masks and gloves to go in and get the animals,” she said. “The smell, it was horrendous. We were all covered in fleas. ... (The animals) all were weak and dehydrated. ... The cats have scabs from all the flea bites. It was awful.”

The cats found in the house were being kept in small carriers, with little room to move and no way to get out to use a litter box. Scott, who is listed as having an address on Schley Street off Pio Nono Avenue, was a volunteer for Purrs N Paws for about two years, Brennaman said.

All of Purrs’ volunteers are screened, and Brennaman said nothing initially stood out as a potential problem when Scott applied.

After the first year and a half, “we realized something was wrong,” she said. “She changed a lot. That’s about the only way I know to put it.”

As for the animals rescued Tuesday, animal advocacy group Central Georgia CARES is donating up to $1,000 toward veterinary costs, said CARES spokeswoman Patti Jones. Various veterinarians did initial assessments on the animals Tuesday afternoon.

Scott’s bond on the burglary charge is $5,700, and there is no bond set for the animal cruelty charges, DeFoe said. Scott is expected for a Magistrate Court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

(Macon Telegraph (blog) - July 29, 2014)

South Street couple charged with animal cruelty

CONNECTICUT -- A South Street couple is facing animal cruelty charges after an Animal Control Officer found a pit bull in their care malnourished, dehydrated and with maggots eating open sores under the dog’s tight-fitting collar.

Syra Santana, 44, and Wilfredo Andino, 44, came under investigation after ACO James Russo responded to an anonymous complaint June 21 that a dog was possibly being neglected at their address at 541 South St.

He could smell that the dog had an untreated infection when he arrived and found the animal surrounded by flies, Capt. Thomas Steck said.

“The collar was too tight because he had grown into and it was never loosened,” Steck said. “When they cut it off, underneath there were maggots eating open sores.”

A veterinarian confirmed that the dog had been neglected and was dehydrated, malnourished and had widespread, visible skin infections, he said.

The dog is expected to recover and is the custody of the New Britain Police Department as the case is adjudicated.

Santana and Andino were each charged by warrant July 17 with animal cruelty.

Both were released after posting $5,000 bonds and are scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court July 31.

(Newbritainherald - July 29, 2014)

Louisiana: 5-year-old mauled by pit bull in Harvey, TV station reports

LOUISIANA -- A 5-year-old girl had to be treated at a local hospital after relatives say she was mauled by a pit bull in Harvey over the weekend, WWL-TV reported.

The dog bit Diamond Banks, of Marrero, on then lip before ripping into her cheek, her mother, Connie West, told the television station.

The attack occurred Saturday afternoon (July 26) at a family gathering on Woodmere Boulevard in Harvey. Diamond and another child went into a bedroom where the pit bull was being kept.

The little girl received stitches and could be treated by a plastic surgeon. Jefferson Parish animal control seized the dog for a standard, 10-day bite quarantine, the station reported.

(Nola - July 29, 2014)

Tennessee: Boy stable after pit bull attack

TENNESSEE -- Family members say 7-year-old Seymour boy is on a long road to recovery after being attacked by a relative’s pit bull Monday afternoon,

Austin Foust, of Burnett Station Road, is in stable condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, hospital staff said.

Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the 500 block of Burnett Station Road at 4:31 p.m. Monday to a report that a dog had mauled and injured a child.

The man who called authorities, Anthony D. Reed, said he heard screams outside and looked to see a dog in the grass biting and attacking Austin. The dog was a mixed breed, part terrier and pit bull, the report said.

A 7-year-old boy is recovering at University of Tennessee Medical
Center after being attacked by his mother’s cousin’s pit bull at this residence
 in the 500 block of Burnett Station Road in Seymour Monday afternoon.

Reed said he ran to help Austin, and struck the dog in the face. Reed said he then used a choke hold around the dog’s neck until the animal released Austin.

Seymour firefighters arrived and said Austin was bitten on his face and both ears, cutting off most of the left ear. The child’s arm might also have been broken, the report said. The torn ear was put on ice and taken to the hospital for surgery.

Jessica Foust, Austin’s mother, said he was doing fine Tuesday as he lay in his hospital bed, watching the movie “Frozen” and eating Popsicles. Despite his calm nature, she said it would be a long, emotional process for her son.

Implanted ear
“He will be OK,” Foust told The Daily Times. “They implanted his ear in his arm to save it, and they will go back in and put it back on in a couple of weeks, and repair the damaged tissue and vessels in there. He will have anything from two to four surgeries for him to make a full recovery.”

The dog’s owner, Geoffrey Franklin Reed, 22, Burnett Station Road, who is a cousin of the victim’s mother, signed an agreement to have the dog put to death. A Blount County Animal Control officer removed the dog from the scene.

The attack happened in Foust’s yard near a gravel driveway separating Foust’s home from Geoffrey Reed’s residence. Anthony Reed also lives at the same residence as Geoffrey Reed, the report said.

Geoffrey Reed declined to comment on the incident when contacted.

Frank Enter, Austin’s great-grandfather, said the boy will be in recovery for some time. “He’s in the hospital,” he said. “He’s got a long road ahead of him.”

Family baffled
Foust said the dog was never a threat, and was baffled as to why it attacked Austin.

“(The dog) was a big baby,” she said. “He stays inside and if he is outside, he is on a chain that even a horse can’t break. He managed to break the chain somehow. I just checked on (Austin), and (the incident) happened in a matter of two minutes.

Story of the Scorpion and the frog:
 One day a scorpion asks a frog to carry him across the river. The frog, afraid of
being stung during the trip declines helping the scorpion. The scorpion argues
that if it stung the frog, both would sink and he would also drown, so for his
benefit he would never sting him. The frog eventually agrees and carries the
scorpion across the river until midway, the scorpion does indeed sting the frog,
dooming them both to drown.

As they slowly sink into the water asks why he had stung him, crying out,
"Now we shall both die!". The scorpion simply points out that,
I had no choice; it's in my nature“.

“I think something triggered him,” Foust added. “Who knows what it was, who it was or what noise it was, nobody knows.”

Foust said she did not know when Austin would be released from the hospital. “They may transfer him to Children’s (Hospital),” she said. “It’s a long process and he’s on a day-to-day basis. He will be here for a few days.”

(Maryville Daily Times - July 29, 2014)

No charges after pit bulls kill boy

FLORIDA -- No charges are going to be filed in the case of a 4-year-old boy who was killed when he was attacked July 19 by his uncle's two pit bulls. And, a deputy smelled marijuana at the scene but no charges will be filed because none of the drug was found.

Michael Shepard didn't want to speak with 10 News on camera about the state attorney's decision not to file charges in his son's death, but he does say they have hired an attorney. Last week, Shepard told us he blames his family member Billy Fredericks Sr. for the loss, saying he was careless and negligent.


Little Logan with his mom, Stephanie

The attack happened about 10:30 p.m. July 19 when Logan and his mother Stephanie walked to the Fredericks' home nearby at 12509 Rhodine Road. Detectives say Fredericks told them he had put the dogs in a pen so they would be able to come inside. But family members say Fredericks didn't leave the animals locked up during the visit but, instead, wanted them be out so they could roam "to protect his property."

Logan ate ice cream and watched cartoons in the family room in the home along with his 15-year-old cousin. That child's mother tells 10 News that family members were talking and celebrating a new business venture. She says they were all just a few feet away in the master bedroom when she says Logan somehow slipped outside away from his cousin and was attacked.

"We have determined that the evidence does not prove the criminal intent required for the charge of child neglect or the charge of aggravated manslaughter," the state attorney said in a letter to the sheriff's office. "While the evidence indicates that the adult caregivers went into a room and left the child in the care of a 15-year-old child, delegation of caregiver responsibility to another person, including a minor, does not necessarily constitute child neglect."

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office now says the responding deputy smelled the strong odor of marijuana when he arrived at the scene and that family members admitted to smoking it, but detectives didn't find any of the illegal drug.

"Even with an admission to smoking marijuana, a charge for possession of marijuana cannot be sustained because no marijuana was recovered from the scene. After reviewing the totality of the circumstances the evidence does not prove culpable negligence in this case," said Mark Ober, the state attorney.

Either way with several pit bulls in the community the tragedy has changed the way some neighbors do things like Rosa Aguirre. She and her young daughters live two doors down from where the attack happened and says she worries about her young daughters so much that she no longer leaves her gate open to her property.

"It's a lot of sadness because they're our neighbors - because he was a little kid of 4 years old - and they won't see him again," she said.

The state attorney notes that adults in the household admitted to smoking marijuana, but because investigators were unable to recover any drugs at the scene, no charges of possession of marijuana would be filed.

(WTSP 10 News - July 29, 2014)

Louisiana: After being mauled by her pit bull, Kathleen Shaffer says it had attacked her family before but her husband refused to get rid of it

LOUISIANA -- A Dulac woman was severely injured when she was attacked by her pit bull, which she said had previously attacked other family members, including two children.

Kathleen Shaffer, 54, is being treated at Terrebonne General Medical Center with injuries to her left arm, legs, throat and chest.

“The doctor said he couldn't even count the bites on me,” Shaffer said during a hospital interview today.

Bubba, a 70-pound pit bull, is being held at the Terrebonne Parish
Animal Shelter after attacking his owner, Kathleen Shaffer,
 Sunday outside her home in Dulac. -    Chris Heller/Staff

Shaffer said she was picking up trash that had fallen out of her garbage can in her Orange Street home about 5 a.m. Sunday when her 70-pound pit bull, Bubba, attacked her.

The dog dragged her out of her home and into the front yard, she said.

“He took my pants completely off and was gnawing down my legs,” she said. “I tried to keep his mouth open and away from me, but he just kept biting me,” she said.

She managed to get to a garden hose to spray the dog in the face as the attack continued.

“When I sprayed him in the face he just started looking around to start coming at me from the other direction,” she said.

The attack went on for around 45 minutes, Shaffer said.

“I wanted to just give up, thinking that would stop him from biting, but he didn't. But as long as I stayed still he just kept biting,” she said.

Shaffer then tried to distract the dog by calling his attention to something else.

“I said 'get 'em boy' and pointed under the trailer. Once he was under my trailer, I got inside,” she said.

Shaffer said she was able to lure Bubba back into the house using slices of roast beef. She then slammed the door behind him and made her way to her neighbor's house.

Shaffer said she's afraid she won't be able to walk again.

Bubba was taken in by the Shaffer family around eight to 10 years ago, Shaffer said.

In the past couple of years, he has gotten more aggressive and has attacked several family members, including two children, she said.

The previous attacks weren't reported to the Sheriff's Office, she said.

“He went from two different animals, the dog we used to know and changed to another dog,” she said. “I was scared of him, but my husband loves him so we kept him,” she said.

Bubba is being held for 10 days at the Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter while he is screened for rabies, said shelter manager Valerie Robinson. Then he will be euthanized.

“I'd like to see him gone because I don't want anyone else to get bitten like this or to have to go through what I'm going through now,” Shaffer said.

Terrebonne and Lafourche parish councils have both discussed stricter measures against vicious dogs in recent months after a 4-year-old Houma girl was killed in March in what police say was an unprovoked attack by her mother's pit bull mix inside their apartment.

Earlier this month, the Terrebonne Parish Council passed an ordinance that increased penalties for owners of dangerous and vicious dogs.

The Lafourche Parish Council is expected to consider a stricter dog ordinance at an Aug. 12 meeting following a July 6 pit bull attack on a Chackbay resident.

(Daily Comet (blog) - July 29, 2014)

Why is it so difficult to charge owners of vicious dogs after attacks?

OHIO -- After high-profile vicious dog attacks, WLWT News 5 investigated how often dog owners were charged.

One dog-attack victim was still at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital recovering six weeks after being mauled by her neighbor’s dogs.

Zainabou Drame, 6, was viciously mauled in Westwood June 4. Doctors placed her in a coma and had to remove her tongue.


“She's up walking around and toileting on her own. She still needs some assistance; we're working on balance right now,” Zainabou's aunt Gina Tyus said. “She's getting better.”

Her family said they wonder if stronger consequences for pet owners would help keep other children safe.

“If you or something that you own causes major damage or takes a life, you should be held responsible. Whether it’s a dog, a gun, whatever it is. If it’s yours, you're responsible for it and we need to take ownership of that and it looks like we need the law to help us with it,” Tyus said.

The Cincinnati law director said the current law makes it hard to strictly penalize an owner because, in order to prosecute someone under the vicious dog ordinance, there has to be proof that the dog has already attacked someone else.

“It shouldn't matter if it bit somebody before. One time is enough,” Tyus said.

A vicious dog conviction, prosecutors say, can land an owner six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The lesser option is to charge an owner with failure to confine his or her dog, but in that case, a conviction comes with a $150 ticket.

Prosecutors said there was only one vicious dog case in Cincinnati within the last year, but it got dismissed for lack of proof.

There were 47 tickets issued for failure to confine a dog.

“The laws could be much stronger, unfortunately they're not,” SPCA of Cincinnati Director of Operations Mike Retzlaff said.

In Zainabou’s case, the dogs’ owners have not yet been charged with the attack. Prosecutors said they were waiting to see if they were convicted of drug and gun charges first. They also want to see how Zainabou recovers.

(WLWT - July 21, 2014)