Sunday, October 31, 2010

The face of dog fighting

By Roger Bell, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald

Animal control officer: ‘Pretty big problem’ for county

The pictures of dogs with mangled faces taken at the residence of Calvin Jerome Champion Oct. 19 have brought the issue of dog  fighting into focus for many in the Roanoke Valley. While Champion’s arrest on felony charges relating to dog fighting seems like an isolated incident to some, others say signs indicate dog fighting could be a large problem throughout the Roanoke Valley and perhaps the state.

“It’s a pretty big problem,” said Robert Richardson, animal control officer in Halifax County. “I’ve been doing this for 16 years, and it’s been a problem ever since I’ve been here — all over the county.”

Richardson said the central issue with dog fighting in the county is simply catching people doing the actual fighting, but from his perspective, there are signs this problem is widespread throughout Halifax County.

In the Champion arrest, approximately 30 pit bulls were found in his yard, some tethered with very heavy chains staked to the ground with half-buried axles. Some of the dogs did not have food or water.

Where are the dogs?

Around half the dogs were removed immediately, the rest were ordered by a magistrate to be found suitable, police-approved homes, a process Capt. Andy Jackson, head of investigations for the Roanoke Rapids police, said is ongoing.

Roanoke Rapids police have also contacted pit bull rescue agencies about helping place the dogs.

In the meantime, Jackson said the city’s animal control is conducting daily monitoring to ensure the remaining dogs are all right and Champion complies with the magistrate’s orders to not interact with the dogs.

Richardson said he sees scenes such as this in Brandy Creek frequently. He and his fellow animal control officers investigate yards with multiple pit bulls nearly every day, he said, but proving the dogs are being used for fighting is tough.

“You can’t file charges unless you find evidence,” Richardson said. “When we come out, we’re looking, but if we find cut up dogs, the owners will say they broke the chain.

“We might not believe it, but you have to have proof they’re fighting. We can’t prove they didn’t break the chain but we monitor it.”

One of the biggest problems, besides proof, is simply locating the trouble in the first place, Richardson said.

“They’re not going to keep them where anybody can see them from the road,” Richardson said. “They’re kept out of sight.”

Process of the fight

These scenes, multiple pit bulls in yards tethered with heavy chains, is one of the first steps toward getting them ready to fight, said John Goodwin, manager of Animal Fighting Issues for the Humane Society of the United States.

Goodwin said putting the dogs in the yard and neglecting them leads to the next period, where a fighting dog is selected and put into a six- to eight-week period called a “keep,” where the dog receives personal attention and training.

“They’re being neglected, neglected, neglected,” Goodwin said. “And then they’re getting a lot of attention.”

After the eight weeks are over, Goodwin said, it’s time for the dog to fight.

Richardson said this period where the dogs are being kept in the yard is when the problem is most likely to be discovered, but most of those who train these dogs to fight don’t keep additional evidence in the yard, so there’s little animal control can do without proof.

Finding actual dog fights, Richardson and Goodwin agree, is very difficult.

“It’s a network that not just anybody can get in,” Richardson said. “The dog fighting world to me is pretty much like the mafia. They don’t tell just anybody what they’re doing.”

Goodwin said these things happen in the shadows because dog fighting is a felony crime and it is something regular people despise.

Jackson said detecting dog fighting in rural areas is a challenge.

“dog fighting is easy to keep under wraps,” Jackson said.

“There’s no telling where these rings could pop up in rural settings, and, unless the community comes forward and gives information, it’s difficult to detect.”

Impact in the Roanoke Valley

Jackson said Roanoke Rapids does not have a widespread problem due to its urban layout, but rural areas are particularly vulnerable.

City Councilman Ed Liverman, who along with Councilman Greg Lawson represents Brandy Creek, said via e-mail he had not heard anything in the district about suspicious activity related to dog fighting prior to the Champion case. A message left with Lawson was not returned.

Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent said his county has not shown a lot of issues with dog fighting.

“It has not come up frequently,” Vincent said. “But we are always looking for those kinds of activities and investigating any reporting of those activities.”

All involved seem to agree the public giving tips is vitally important to stopping dog fighting.

“If it weren’t for the public giving us information, we might not ever find them,” Richardson said.

Goodwin advises Valley residents in rural areas to be on the lookout for cars coming and going late at night or early morning, especially large groups of cars and out-of-town cars.

Richardson said North Carolina’s location in the middle of the east coast makes it an ideal setting for dog fighting rings because people can come from northern or southern coastal states to watch or participate in a fight, so watching for out-of-state vehicles is a good indication this type of activity is happening, as well.

Goodwin thinks, with public support, the war against dog fighting can be won.

“I think it’s a winnable fight for decent people,” he said. “It’s something we can eradicate.”

Anyone with information on dog fighting in Halifax County can call Halifax County Crime-stoppers at 252-583-4444. Those in Northampton County can call North-ampton County Crime-stoppers at 252-534-1110.

The Humane Society of the United States also has a tip line and they offer cash rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone for animal fighting.

That number is 1-877-TIP-HSUS.

Woman injured by her pit bulls

From The Register-Mail

Officers responded to 630 N. Cedar St. Friday in response to a woman who had been injured trying to separate her two fighting pit bulls.

The dogs were still fighting inside when police arrived. Junie Theobald, 54, answered the door soaked in blood coming from her arms. Her left hand appeared to be broken.

The two pit bulls, Sam and Zeus, stopped fighting when an officer banged on the window, at which point officers entered the house and secured Sam with a pole lasso provided by animal control officers. Zeus showed aggression toward the officers, and was captured later with the help of Theobald’s daughter Terah Clewell, 31.

The dogs were turned over to the Prairieland Animal Welfare Center for euthanization.

Theobald was taken to Galesburg Cottage Hospital and treated for her wounds, which included a broken hand and bite marks to both arms. Due to the seriousness of her injuries, Theobald was transferred to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Lawmakers considering stricter penalties for owners of dogs deemed dangerous

By Kontji Anthony, WMC

The Tennessee State Legislature is considering a series of stricter dog ownership laws after two pit bulls mauled five people, leading to the death of an elderly Memphis man earlier this year.

Tennessee State Legislator GA Hardaway said he wants to beef up dog ownership law after the death of 71-yearold William Parker.  He said four bills he is working to push through the Legislature address irresponsible behavior by dog owners.

"It's our responsibility in Article 1, Section 1 of our rights, that we have to address the safety issues," said Hardaway.

Hardaway spent time with the Parkers in July after two loose dogs mauled the family patriarch, his daughter, responders and another neighbor.

Investigators soon learned dog owner Bernard Humphrey was locked up for failing to update his sex offender registry.  His brother's girlfriend, Sherry Wooten, had a stranger let the dogs out so a plumber could get in.

Since the attack, Parker's daughter, Gardenia Parker, has racked up enormous bills.  One of Hardaway's bills would require owners of loose dogs deemed dangerous under current guidelines to carry at least $15,000 of liability insurance.  Another bill would prohibit violent felons from owning a dog deemed dangerous.

"Those who've proven they have a propensity of violence and irresponsibility," said Hardaway.  "Why is it they can't have a gun, but they can have a vicious animal?  That's wrong, that's just not rational."

The third bill said if a felon wants a dog, the courts would have to pre-approve it.

"That's something that's going to be in the hands of the parole boards or probation," said Hardaway.  "They'll be able to address the courts to get the OK to get the exception."

The last bill would increase the $50 leash law fine.  Fines would start at $100 and increase if the dog injures someone.  The highest fine would be $1,000 if the dog causes someone to die.

If a dog was previously deemed dangerous, the penalties would be even higher, ranging between $500 and $25,000.

"It's more than just the leash," said Hardaway.  "It's about the ability to secure and confine that animal for the safety of the community."

None of the bills specified dog breed.  The bills are currently under review in a state committee.

Altercation turns violent, shots fired, but no one hit

From The Register-Mail

Police responded to reports of shots fired at 2:46 a.m. Saturday at 798 E. Brooks St.

Gerald Johnson, 32, had entered the address sometime between 1:30 and 2 a.m. to confront his step-son, Christopher Miller, 16, according to police reports. Johnson said he saw four of Miller’s friends attempting to break into the house.

An argument ensued and turned physical, and Johnson allegedly choked Miller and punched him repeatedly in the face. Johnson then left the house, and Miller called his mother and friends.

As Miller’s brother, Ryan Miller, 17, and his friends entered the home, Johnson barged in behind them with his pit bull and punched Jacob Bohn, 29, in the face. The dog also bit Bohn, tearing his pants leg. After a fight, Johnson was subdued.

Christopher Miller, Ryan Miller, Jesse Vogler, 17, and Alex Bushnell, 17, left the residence and got into Bushnell’s car to leave.

Gerald Johnson then pulled out a revolver and pointed it at the residents inside the house. James Raska, 39, attempted to wrestle the gun away from Johnson, who ran outside with it and pointed it at Bushnell’s car, pulling the trigger twice. The gun did not go off, and Johnson proceeded to load it.

Johnson then shot at the car twice as Bushnell drove off, and fired a shot at people standing near the house before leaving the scene. No one was injured by the shots.

Gerald Johnson was arrested at his home at 22 Chestnut St. He was charged with home invasion, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery, felon in possession of a firearm, and two counts of battery.

One year later, murder still a mystery

By Erin Rhoda, Morning Sentinel

Someone is getting away with murder — but family and police hope not for long.
The last time Virginia Hayden, 67, saw her fiance, Everett Cameron, alive was as she walked out their front door a year ago. He was resting in his chair on their porch after a morning of hunting, enjoying the fall scenery.
When she drove back home from town later, she passed the spot where Cameron, 60, was sitting in his truck, parked several hundred yards off of Town Farm Road, overlooking a field. He often went to the place near their house to think or to watch the deer, she said.
When he didn't come home, and she couldn't reach him on his cell phone by late afternoon, she drove down to check on him. He had been shot to death.
Although she won't speak about details, as the investigation continues, she said, "It was a horrible scene."
"You never know from day to day what's going to go on in your life and how it can change ... in just a few minutes," she said. "I have my faith, and I just have my family and try to keep going day to day, but it's really hard to think about sometimes. You just have to keep going."
Cameron's murder was exactly one year ago, on Oct. 31, 2009. Since then, police have made no arrests in the case, which the Maine Attorney General labeled a homicide.
Maine State Police continue to investigate, with the lead detective "working around the clock every day," said Lt. Gary Wright, who is commanding officer of the Criminal Investigation Division's Unit II.
The one-year anniversary of a homicide, Wright said, is an "important time in the investigation" as it brings back memories for family and community members that can help catch the killer.
"The only thing I can say is it is a very active and ongoing investigation," he said.
Family members continue to mourn Cameron's death. Debbie Terpstra, of New Vineyard, Cameron's daughter-in-law, said she hopes community members will contact police with information.
"It could be their family, their mother, their father. We have a killer in our community," she said.
She said she feels as if her father-in-law can't yet rest in peace. "The soul can't quite rest when whoever murdered them isn't brought to justice," she said. "We have no closure still."
Terpstra and Hayden agreed that Cameron's death was connected to the sale of prescription medication. Cameron had suffered from lymphoma for several years before he was killed and still had some painkillers.
"It's terrible to think someone would take a life over a few pills," Terpstra said.
They described Cameron as a kind, giving man who enjoyed hunting, fishing and NASCAR racing — he was a fan particularly of Dale Earnhardt.
He built ice fishing traps by hand. He constructed an end table, a stand and a hamper, which he gave to Hayden. He made toy boxes for his three grandchildren, each decorated with their name. In addition to three grandchildren, he had three children.
For fun, Cameron and Hayden went camping. His favorite camping spot was Cathedral Pines Campground in Eustis. His favorite color was blue, and he had a soft spot for Hayden's cooking, particularly her coconut cream pies and whoopie pies.
He loved his pit bull, Sadie, who rode with him wherever he went, whether it was plowing or a quick trip to the store, Terpstra said.
He most recently had been employed as a paving crew foreman for Bruce A. Manzer Inc. He lived all his life in Anson.
Today, family members will visit his grave at Sunset Cemetery in North Anson. Richard Terpstra, Cameron's son, will leave a solar light.
Hayden said she keeps a lit electric candle in her porch window, near where Cameron used to sit. She lives alone now, except for the dog Sadie, who she said still listens for the sound of Cameron's truck approaching.
To Cameron, she says, "God has you in his keeping; we have you in our hearts."

Pit Bull owner cited for failure to confine dog

By Janet Kelley and David O'Connor, Lancaster Online

William Shue of the 100 block of Akron Road was cited after allowing his pit bull Friday to run free in his neighborhood, causing a neighbor to run inside, borough police said. Shue was cited with failure to confine the dog, police said.

Two men arrested after killing dogs, burglarizing Attica home

From Journal & Courier

Two Attica men suspected of burglarizing a home, killing three dogs at the residence and attempting to set a fire to cover their tracks were arrested early today.
Gene Snoeberger said Bartlow, a former resident at the home, had recently been in a conflict with Edenburn. Police believe the two men went to the home after the altercation for revenge.
Police said Bartlow and Robinson killed an adult pit bull and two mixed terrier puppies by stabbing them multiple times. During the attack, police said the pit bull was able to bite both men.
Gene Snoeberger said after killing the dogs, the suspects brought two mo-peds from outside into the living room and tipped them over to spill the fuel. Newspapers were scattered near the mo-peds and lit on fire.
Gene Snoeberger said the materials in the living room did not ignite, and the fire only burned a small area of carpet.
Police said as Bartlow and Robinson attempted to start the fire, the residents came home and noticed the two mo-peds were missing.
The residents then saw two people running from the home, and identified one of the subjects as Bartlow. Police followed up on the report and located Bartlow at a friend’s home in Attica.
Robinson was also found by police, and both men had multiple bite marks from the pit bull. They did not require medical treatment.
Back at the home, the three dead dogs were found in an open storm ditch. Gene Snoeberger said police followed a long trail of blood that started in the living room to find the animals.
Police also recovered bloody clothes and shoes from both suspects. As of 4 p.m., the items reported stolen and the knife used to stab the dogs had not been recovered.
Both Bartlow and Robinson were booked into the Fountain County Jail on $25,000 surety bond each. Police continue to investigate.

Steven Seagal visits rescue dogs

By Joanne Clements, Monsters and Critics

Steven Seagal showed he’s a softie at heart, as he cooed over dogs at an animal rescue centre.
The 58-year-old actor visited the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter with his wife Elle.
Picking up the abandoned dogs, he exclaimed “beautiful” and even asked one puppy: “What’s happening, baby?”
When he came face to face with Tawny the Pit Bull, the film star said: “Look how nice this dog is. What a sweetheart.”
“Pit Bulls have a hard time getting adopted because they’ve got a bad rap,” he solemnly said, as Elle wept with distress.
Seagal and Elle later attended a dog adoption event, to try to persuade people to give the animals good homes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Justice in dog attacks linked to breed

By Margo Rutledge Kissell and Ken McCall, Dayton Daily News

Linda McGaughey of Xenia underwent her fourth surgery Thursday after she was mauled last month by two pit bulls.
If she’d been bitten by any other breed, she would have had a much harder time getting justice.
Ohio has the nation’s only breed-specific vicious dog law. Passed in 1987, the law defines pit bulls as vicious, but includes other breeds in that category only if there is a documented history of an individual animal killing or injuring a person or killing another dog.
A debate has raged over whether the designation unfairly singles out pit bull owners, or provides the only tool dog wardens have to protect the public from vicious dogs. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled part of the law unconstitutional in 2004, and a bill pending in the Legislature would remove any reference to pit bulls as vicious.
A Dayton Daily News examination of dog bites in Montgomery County found pit bulls led all breeds in the number of reported dog bites since January 2009. But boxers, German shepherds and Labradors collectively had more bites reported. All told, 83 percent of the reported bites did not involve pit bulls or pit bull mixes.
The data, obtained from the health department, do not include severity of bites.
But in five cases the newspaper examined — two that did not involve pit bulls — the attacks were so brutal they resulted in the deaths of three dogs, serious facial injuries to a 1-year-old child and, in McGaughey’s case, permanent disfigurement of her left leg.
Severe attacks don’t always bring severe punishment, particularly when the assault doesn’t involve a pit bull.
“It’s all very confusing and disheartening,” said Julie Sheil, whose miniature dachshund was killed by a mastiff mix in her Butler Twp. neighborhood last October. The owner was fined $25 and kept his dog.
The two pit bulls that mauled McGaughey were killed, and Anthony Hill, their owner, faces six misdemeanor counts and possible jail time. Meanwhile, McGaughey feels lucky to be alive. The bites on her left leg required more than 100 stitches, and doctors last week took skin grafts from her left forearm to cover the exposed tendons in her leg.
During the attack, which lasted five minutes, McGaughey, 59, used her body to shield her 4-month-old puppy, Jose, while the two dogs clamped down on her leg, shook it, released their grip, then clamped down again. Police arrived after residents in her apartment building heard her screams and called 911.
“Anybody who came in the vicinity of those animals once they were loose was a target,” McGaughey said. “It just happened to be me.”

Cops: Officer shot dog chasing girl

From Boston Herald

A Boston police officer shot and killed a dog believed to be a pit bull that was chasing a young girl through Dorchester last night, police said.
The shooting happened at about 6 p.m. near the intersection of Washington and Armandine streets when officers received a call for a girl being chased down the street by a dog, police said.
Police said the shooting is still under investigation but they were able to get the girl away from the animal, at which point police said they were forced to kill it.

No one was injured, police said.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Man Charged with Starving Dogs

From My FOX Memphis

A southwest Memphis man has been charged with animal cruelty after police discovered a dead pit bull and malnourished dog in his backyard.
L C Owens was charged with aggravated animal cruelty Friday.
Officers were called to his home on 3700 block on Skylark where they discovered a dead pit bull and very thin dog. Neighbors say Owens and his girlfriend who lived there had not been seen in two weeks. Officers founds no sign of food or fresh water in the backyard.
Felony response determined Owens was in violation of cruelty to animals which is defined as torturing an animal and failing to provide food and water resulting in a substantial risk of death or death.
Dr. Coleman with Animal Crime Scene Investigation made the scene and determined the pitbull mix had died 24-30 hours before and the possible cause of death was starvation.
An autopsy will be done to determine the exact cause.
Owens gave a typed statement advising he hadn't lived there in a week and did not feed the dogs in two weeks.

Man Who Allegedly Beat Another with Table Leg in Jail

By Nicole Porter, WDTV

A Lewis County man who allegedly attacked another man with a table leg is in jail today.
Police say on September 18th, 24-year-old William Miller of Weston, allegedly hit a man on the head, with a metal table leg.
Miller then let his pit bull drag the victim to the ground, and bite and scratch him.
Miller is in the Central Regional Jail with a $100,000 bond.


Dog Attacks Police Officer in Glen Ridge

By Martta Rose Kelly, Baristanet

Officer Christopher Grogan was dispatched to Bay Avenue in Glen Ridge to investigate a report of a dog attacking another dog. While investigating the incident, the dog, a Pit Bull, attacked Officer Grogan, biting him several times.
The officer managed to wrestle the dog to the ground and call for assistance. Officer Charles Roberts and Sgt. Robert Zeuner responded and helped restrain the dog until animal control could respond.
Officer Grogan was transported to Mountainside Hospital for his injuries were he was treated and released. The incident is under investigation and charges are pending against the dog’s owner.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pomeranian Killed In Point Breeze Pit Bull Attack


A couple in Point Breeze said their Pomeranian dog was killed by a pit bull during an evening walk on Wednesday.
Michael Stradtlander said he was walking his dog Carmine along East End Avenue when a neighbor's pit bull ran off of the porch and lunged at his dog.
"He was just a little teddy bear. So cute," said Stradtlander. "The pit bull had him in his grasp and started tearing him around like a rag doll."Stradtlander said he tried fighting off the pit bull.
"I was punching it in the head and kicking it. The thing is so powerful I couldn’t stop it," he said.
The dog's owner, Suzanne Kratz, also tried saving Carmine.
"She was apologizing and screaming. I was screaming. She was terrified of the dog as well," said Stradtlander. Stradtlander said a passing driver stopped to help them and gave him a metal club to fight the dog off.
"I started pounding it and pounding it with the club, knees and fist blows. Successful," Stradtlander said.
Carmine was rushed to a nearby pet hospital where it later died.Stradtlander blames Kratz for his dog's death.
"If she can't control it, she shouldn't own it," Stradtlander said.
Animal Control officials said Kratz will be cited for harboring a dangerous dog and allowing it to run at large.

Strays Taking Over Arkansas Town

By Melissa Moon, WREG

The mutilation of a pit bull puppy over the weekend in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas is bringing new attention to a growing problem there.

Animal advocates say strays and neglected animals are taking over the small town.

The problem has gotten so bad dog lovers are now feeding street animals out of their own pockets and caring for the ones they can in their homes.

A nine-week-old pit bull puppy is lucky to be alive after two teens cut off its ears last weekend.

"They tried to crop her ears most likely for pit bull fighting," said Kate Freres with the Humane Society of the Delta.

The Humane Society of the Delta got the dog treated at a vet's office, but has no shelter to keep it in while it recovers and waits to be adopted.

In fact, the director says there is no animal shelter in all of Phillips County to even care for the strays found roaming the streets.

"State law requires when you pick up street dogs you hold them for five days, but we don't have a place to hold them," said Freres.

Two years ago the mayor of Helena-West Helena got some national attention when he released stray dogs the city had been sheltering at its sanitation department into the St. Francis Forest.

The local Humane Society says since then the animals have continued to breed and are now everywhere and are putting everyone at risk.

"Just so many emaciated and sick dogs and they spread disease," said Freres.

Six months ago some animal lovers began a "Meals on Wheels" program to feed them.

People like Leslie Galloway now carry bags of dog food in the cars.

Thursday, it didn't take very long for her to find this pack of dogs.

"I'm a social worker and I go to a lot of neighborhood when I do I usually feed anywhere from 8-10 dogs," said Leslie Galloway.

The Humane Society of the Delta now has a building, but no money to renovate it.

They are trying to get all the surrounding cities and the county to come up with a plan to get the shelter going. They say the sooner the better.

"They are going to keep breeding and the problem is going to get worse," said Galloway.

It will take about $400,000 to get the shelter up and running and they will need more money on top of that for the day to operations.

The local Humane Society has a meeting set up with a Phillips County judge and has also been trying to work the mayor in Helena-West Helena to come with a solution.

For more on the dog problems click on .

For more on the Meals on Wheels program for dogs go to

Parents attacked by pit bull while subduing son

By David Hench, The Portland Press Herald

Two people are being treated for dog bites following a family struggle that ended with police incapacitating one man with a Taser. Cumberland County Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Douglas Hill Road in Baldwin at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a domestic disturbance. When deputies arrived they found that Jesse Ewald, 25, was intoxicated and had been vandalizing the inside of his parents' home.
His 14-year-old brother had removed a rifle from the home and the parents had tried to subdue Ewald. A pet pit bull attacked the parents, biting them on the legs, deputies said.
When deputies arrived, Ewald refused to comply with deputies' commands, they said. They used a Taser to incapacitate him, arrested him and charged him with disorderly conduct and refusal to submit.
The parents required stitches for their injuries, deputies said. The dog is being quarantined to be sure he does not suffer from a communicable disease like rabies, deputies said.
Ewald was taken to Cumberland County Jail then freed on $250 bail pending a court date.

Dangerous dogs - shock stats for Cumbria

From North West Evening Mail

NOT one single owner has registered a dangerous dog in Cumbria despite hundreds being kept as pets. Crime reporter SUZANNE MURPHY spoke to the oficer tasked with changing attitudes and making sure banned breeds ae regulated

EARLIER this month, a Barrow man was barred from keeping a dog for five years and his vicious, illegal pit bull was ordered to be destroyed after it attacked another dog.
It was the first prosecution of its kind in Cumbria.
Adam Mills’ dog, Harvey, attacked Jack Russell terrier Molly, leaving her needing 200 stitches.
The 23-year-old of Stewart Street, Barrow Island, appeared before Furness Magistrates’ Court on October 5 and pleaded guilty to possessing a dog which is banned under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and having an animal dangerously out of control.
PC Charles Sowerby, part of Cumbria Constabulary’s Dogs Unit, said the force was now launching a crackdown on so-called ‘status dogs’.
The officer says while out on patrol he can see up to three such illegal hounds a day – but his hands are tied.
The PC says that as much as he would love to make sure all such pets are seized, it is not financially viable and could bankrupt the force.
There are currently four banned breeds on the government list – pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero – but the government is looking at adding more dogs to the list as new breeds are brought into the country.
PC Sowerby explained that just because a family pet was on the banned list it did not mean it would be destroyed unless it had been involved in a attack or was deemed to be dangerous.
He said the police just wanted responsible dog owners to register their pet and make them legal.
The officer said: “There are a lot of illegal dogs around and a good number never cause a problem but then there are those who simply pick the breed for their appeal as ‘status dogs’.
“Pit bulls were very popular and quite easily bred and we know there are people in Cumbria still breeding them.
“Originally, when the act came out, a dog that came to police attention would be taken away and destroyed and the plan was to eventually eradicate the species.
“People complained that healthy animals were needlessly being put down, so a right of appeal was introduced.
“If a suspected banned dog is seized now we have to impound it at the taxpayers’ expense while any appeal process goes through. We also have to employ veterinary experts in these particular breeds to check the animal.
“Due to a lack of such experts locally, we would have to employ someone from London and the whole process could take many months and be very expensive.
“Driving around Barrow on a daily basis I can see about two or three such dogs every day. We also get intelligence about people owning pit bulls. We simply cannot go out and seize all dogs as we would bankrupt the force.
“Every report we receive is judged on its individual merit.
“The Mills case was obviously one that we had to act on.
“But we will slowly get on top of it and will be targeting owners.”
The PC said the only way to stop your banned dog being seized was to register it.
He explained: “People can register it through us and it can either go through the magistrates or the civil courts.
“If the dog is from a nice family and we have no concerns then it would go through the civil courts. The dog would then have to be neutered, microchipped and tattooed.
“Owners would pay a fee to register it of about £25 and get third-party insurance, but then it would no longer be an illegal animal. Once registered, the dog must be walked by someone over 16 and in a public place must be muzzled. It would then be illegal to sell it or give it away as a gift.
“Currently, there isn’t one dangerous dog registered in Cumbria but we are looking at ways we can change that and we and other forces will be looking at policies to deal with banned dogs.”
PC Sowerby said that such a dog in the right hands could be a great pet but in the wrong hands it could be a dangerous weapon.
He added: “Owning an unregistered pit bull-type dog is illegal and we will prosecute anyone who puts themselves and others at risk by ignoring the law.
“The Mills case highlights that if these dogs are left unregistered they have a high potential to be dangerous to both other animals and people, so unregistered pit bulls will not be tolerated in our communities.
“Having a pet dog as a companion is a wonderful and rewarding experience but as a dog owner, you must be responsible at all times.”
Anyone who suspects their dog may be an illegal breed or who has concerns about dogs owned by other people can contact police on 0845 3300247 for further information and advice.

Barrage of bullets rips into Manatee homes

From Herald-Tribune

Police are investigating a pair of shootings launched Wednesday at two homes in Manatee County, a barrage that injured no people but killed a dog.
The first shooting came just after 11:30 p.m. and involved a home in the 5600 block of 12th Street East.
A deputy parked nearby heard roughly 15 gunshots fired off, and raced to the area of the shooting. There, he was met by residents who confirmed the shots.
An investigation showed the barrage had been lobbed at an occupied home, known to be the residence of a gang member and a home that has been similarly targeted by gunfire in the past. But, at least one of the bullets whizzed by that home and hit another, occupied home on a nearby street.
Investigators discovered several 9mm shell casings in the area of the shooting, and recovered projectiles from inside the homes.
The second shooting came just before midnight, in the 300 block of 59th Avenue East.
There, an unknown vehicle pulled to a stop near a privacy fence behind an unoccupied home, according to reports. Five or six shots were fired from the vehicle, which then raced off westbound on 59th Avenue East.
At least one of the shots hit and killed pit bull, which was later found in the home's back yard, deputies noted. A sliding glass door in the rear of the home was shattered, and investigators recovered several bullets and bullet fragments from within the home, along with one shell casing from where the shots were fired.
The shootings come a day after Demetrius Cunningham, 23, and Calvin Barnes, 16, were shot to death in separate shootings in Manatee County. Investigators think the Cunningham and Barnes shootings were related. There is no word on any possible link to Wednesday night's shootings, or whether Wednesday's shootings are related.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dog in own yard declared potentially dangerous

By Tracy Overstreet, The Grand Island Independent

A dog leashed to a tree in its own yard that bit a puppy that ran into the yard was declared Wednesday as a potentially dangerous dog.

The Grand Island Animal Advisory Board made the declaration following an appeal hearing at Grand Island City Hall.

"My dog is the one that got attacked by a dog that came to my house," said the dog owner, Leandro Vazquez. "I don't see my dog as the one that is potentially dangerous. It's on my property."

According to city code, Vazquez will now need to build a covered kennel in which to keep Luna, a 5-year-old pit bull mix. When Luna is not inside her home at 1216 N. Greenwich, or in the kennel, she will need to be leashed and muzzled, the advisory board stated.

The verdict comes after an Oct. 16 incident in which Luna was leashed outside and two neighborhood dogs entered Vazquez's yard. Vazquez said one was a large black dog and the other a small beige dog that bit him as he tried to break up the dog fight that ensued.

The small beige dog was Baby Girl, an 8-week-old golden retriever owned by Jeanie Nichols, 924 W. Ninth. Nichols said she also has a black lab, but it was not involved in the incident.

Nichols said her puppy ran across the street into Vazquez's yard and as she ran after to get the puppy, Vazquez let his dog off the chain. The pit bull then grabbed the puppy and shook it until Nichols pulled the pit bull's tail. Vazquez grabbed the puppy and handed it back to Nichols and was then bit by his own dog, Nichols said.

Vazquez said his dog was never let off the leash. It did bite the puppy in the neck, but it didn't bite him, he said.

He said the puppy grabbed onto his thumbs as he tried to break up the fight. When he tried to pull his thumb from the puppy's mouth, the skin on his thumb tore, which required 11 stitches.

Animal advisory board member Dr. Melissa Girard-Lemons said although Luna was on her own property, she exhibited aggressive behavior. That's behavior that could be dangerous to a child or an adult meter reader or technician walking onto Vazquez's property.

She also raised questions about Vazquez's injury being caused by small puppy teeth. She thought photos of the injury looked more consistent with large canines from an adult dog, such as Vazquez's pit bull.

Girard-Lemons said Vazquez essentially put his dog in jeopardy by leaving it unattended outside in the yard.

Humane Society Director Laurie Dethloff agreed, saying that pit bull owners need to be particularly vigilant about protecting their own dogs by staying with them in the yard.

Vazquez had another solution.

"Have your dog on a leash and don't let it come to my house," he said.

Police Chief Steve Lamken moved that Luna be declared potentially dangerous due to the lack of aggression puppies show and Vazquez's own responsibility for his own dog. Girard-Lemons seconded the motion and the board voted unanimously in favor of the declaration.

Woman mauled by neighbor's pitbulls


A woman was taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after she was mauled by two pitbulls in northeast Bakersfield. 

Neighbors say it's not the first time these dogs have gone on the attack, and now the victim's family wants to know why more wasn't done to prevent it in the first place.

A trail of blood runs from the kitchen, down the hall and all the way to the bathroom ... marks that show Barbara Pruett tried desperately to tend to her wounds.

"Here's the shoes she managed to get off and they're all full of blood," said Heather Worfolk, who said her sister walked outside and was suddenly mauled by her neighbor's two pit bulls.

Lucio Curiel was working across the street.  He grabbed his tools and ran to Pruett's side.

"I see the dogs.  I'm not sure what happened," said Curiel.  "I see the dogs and listen to the woman and she's loud.  I come run over to help her."

Worfolk says her sister's leg is torn up and she's lucky she didn't lose it.

Before the attack one neighbor saw the pit bulls going after a cat.  He was able to beat them off with a stick, but the dogs ran away.

John Clark says it's not the first time the dogs have hurt someone in his Mount Vernon neighborhood.  He showed us the fence the dogs broke through.  "They're getting in and out of here," said Clark.

"They got a board here and a door patching that up.  The fence is rotten."

Clark says his aunt wouldn't be in the hospital if animal control had done its job.  "The guy on the corner ... he got bit on the pant leg, they didn't do nothing about it because there was no blood.

Several people have been chased out in the road.  I don't know they just don't do anything.  They come out and look at it and they just let them ... there's the dogs still, still in the yard."

Bakersfield police say animal control only received one report of one of the dogs biting someone and it happened to a guest in the dog's home.

The owner of the dogs surrendered the animals on Wednesday which means they will be euthanized.

Man Sent To Trauma Unit After Pit Bull Attack

By April Thompson, WREG

Clarence Oliver has dog bites over much of his body

The pit bulls responsible are in the Memphis Animal Shelter.

Clarence and his wife were checking out a rental property on Benton Street Saturday.

They knew dogs lived next door.

"They were always in cages. I could hear them barking, but I didn't fear them. They were in cages," says Clarence Oliver.

A neighbor across the street tried to alert them about a problem.

"The problem they had in the neighborhood is the neighbor with the pit bulls. As she was explaining that, all of a sudden she yells out, 'here they come'. They came running out of the backyard," says Clarence.

Clarence Oliver got his young son out of the way as the dogs bit into his arms and legs.

"They were fighting in a pack, attacking both sides of me. I was kicking," he says.

He says the dogs even bit their owner. Another person had to use a shovel to get the dogs back inside.

By then, Clarence was unconscious.

"After the dogs knocked him down, he was on the ground with his eyes open. I thought he was gone," says Clarence's wife Sandra.

Her husband had a fractured skull.

Neighbors say the dogs had been in trouble before, even killing one neighbor's smaller dog.

"I am afraid to come outside. I look and look and look before I come out because I am afraid of those dogs," says neighbor Gustella Conley.

Now the dogs are under a 10 day quarantine at the shelter.

"Three adult dogs, five adult puppies were surrendered to the shelter by the owner. By ordinance and to protect the public they will be euthanized once the quarantine period expires," says Animal Shelter Director Matthew Pepper.

"Shouldn't nobody have a pit bull dog. These dogs are vicious. To me they are killer dogs," says Sandra Oliver.

Mr. Oliver is expected to be in the hospital a few more days.

Neighbors say they had called about the dogs before, but the owners always got them back.

This time the owners turned the dogs over to be put down.

But those owners are still not in the clear.

They have a November 14th court date on charges of dogs running at large and not having proper vaccinations and licenses. 


Dog Fight Leads to Injuries in Park Near Brooklyn Heights

By Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

Police and paramedics from FDNY responded to Cadman Plaza Park Wednesday morning at roughly 8:20 a.m. when a shaggy light-colored dog named Sophie bit two people — its owner and another woman — during a fight with another dog. Witnesses said that Sophie, possibly part Maltese, allegedly snapped at a brown pit bull/Lab mix named Luna, sparking a ferocious fight. When the owners attempted to separate the howling dogs, Sophie allegedly bit both of them. The sound of the fight and the screams of the owners drew dog-walkers from across the park.
Eventually Sophie sped out of the park, ran across Cadman Plaza West and Henry Street and made it to her home on Cranberry Street, with her wounded owner chasing after her. Witnesses called 911 to summon help for Luna’s owner, still in the park, bleeding from the left hand.
Luna’s owner alleged that Sophie’s owner cursed at her during the fray. “She called me a b****,” she said as a FDNY paramedic bandaged her hand. “She said, ‘You b****, get your *** dog off my dog.’ But her dog bit Luna. Everyone thinks that because Luna’s part pit bull, he’s to blame.”
“That’s racial profiling,” said one of the dog owners remaining in the park.
Sophie’s owner was unavailable for comment.
By 4 p.m., rumors were circulating on a dog owners’ email list that a pit bull had attacked, unprovoked, another dog and two women in Cadman Plaza Park.

Lake City woman charged after pit bull attack

By Traci Bridges, SC Now

A Lake City woman was arrested Wednesday after her pit bull attacked a woman outside of the Lake City Migrant Head Start Building.
Jeri Filyaw, 70, of 361 Gaddy St., was booked at the Florence County Detention Center on an animal control violation about 3:30 p.m., shortly after the attack, Lake City Police Chief Billy Brown said.
The dog apparently wandered away from Filyaw’s residence and ended up at the Head Start building on Carlisle Street. The dog attacked a woman there, biting her arm several times. The victim was still in surgery late Wednesday afternoon, Brown said.
The same dog has been involved in incidents in the past, and Brown said the investigation is ongoing. In the meantime, the dog will remain in the custody of city animal control officials.

Dog fighting charges levied

By Roger Bell, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald

Roanoke Rapids police arrested a local man Tuesday on dog-fighting charges, with one officer saying it is the first such arrest he can remember in the city.

According to Capt. Andy Jackson, head of investigations for the Roanoke Rapids police, narcotics agents serving a search warrant in Brandy Creek Oct. 19 on Maria Avenue discovered evidence of dogfighting, including dogs with scars, at the targeted residence.

Jackson said officers served warrants related to those discoveries Tuesday at 3 p.m., charging Calvin Jerome Champion, 24, with two felony counts of dogfighting, four felony counts of cruelty to animals and three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

“The owner maliciously engages animals to dog fight,” Jackson said, “causing maiming to the chest, legs and face areas. The dogfighting charges stem from owning or possessing a dog with the intent that dog be used or featured in the fighting of another dog.”

Jackson said he had not seen a dogfighting case in Roanoke Rapids previously, saying most cases seem to come from rural areas. However, he felt the evidence pointed in that direction.

The warrant for Champion’s arrest expressed suspicion the nearly 30 pit bulls found at the residence were used for dogfighting, according to Jackson.

“In these cases,” Jackson said, “the officers found things that would lead them to believe these dogs were being trained to fight, (including) medications, weight chains, things of that nature.”

Champion posted a $25,000 bond and was released from the Halifax County Detention Center. He is due in court Dec. 8.

Sandy Township 2-year-old bitten by dog

From Gant Daily

On Monday, officers received a report about a 2-year-old girl who was being bitten by a pit bull at a Circle Road residence. The girl was near the dog while it was trying to eat and bit her in the face and head area. The girl was transported to the DuBois Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Vicious dog discussions continue

By Lindsay Hoeppner, West Liberty Index

Nineteen months after the West Liberty City Council reviewed a proposed model for a vicious dog ordinance, West Liberty resident Wilbur Wendt is bringing the matter to the forefront.

“We have an issue here, and I’d like to know what the resolution is,” Wendt said at the regularly scheduled West Liberty City Council meeting last Tuesday, Oct. 19. “There’s a dog down by A Street that I reported in August. It was reported again Saturday by my ex-wife. I know this individual has been cited three or four times, so explain to me, if you would — where does it become something that’s going to be done about the dog instead of citations?”

Mayor Chad Thomas agreed with Wendt, however, explained that there is not much more the city can do.

“The place we’re stuck at is within our ordinance as it exists, not as we’ve suggested it be changed,” he said. “We’ve cited the owner of that dog as much as we can.”

Thomas suggested that some of the animal control changes the Finance and Ordinance Committee originally had in mind before the council approved an ordinance amending the city code earlier this month would allow more flexibility in dealing with similar situations where a dog has not bit anyone, but is causing problems.

“I think coming down and voicing that to all of council and keeping that in the forefront is an important part,” he said. “It kind of reminds us to stay on getting that ordinance fully taken care of.”

Current city code defines a vicious animal as “any animal that bites or attacks human beings or in a vicious or terrorizing manner attacks, or approaches in apparent attitude of attack, a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any other public ground or place or any private property other than the premises of the owner, processor, or keeper of such animal, or a dog that runs after and bites or barks at horses, bicycles, or any vehicle being ridden or driven upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public ground or place within the city.”

According to Wendt, the dog of topic — a pit bull — charged at him and his children.

However, city code states that unless the dog seizes or bites one or more persons, only a citation can be issued.

“That’s part of the problem,” Thomas said. “There’s a destruction of animal, but it’s poorly written. It just says if an animal is ‘seizing or biting people or is vicious and has actually bitten one or more persons, the animal warden, or his or her designated representative may, if he finds such animal at large, kill the same without previous notice to the owner if the animal cannot be captured by any reasonable method,’ but it doesn’t say what to do if we capture it.”

While Thomas said he, city manager Chris Ward, police chief P.J. Brewer and the Finance and Ordinance committee, which council members Gerry Wickham and Tom Pace are a part of, had a lengthy list of items they wanted to change within the animal control ordinance to update it and make it more consistent, some of their suggestions did not make it into the final amendment.

“What we ended up getting back was quarantine stuff for dogs suspected of rabies and our licensing requirements,” Thomas said. “This stuff about vicious animals and destruction never made it in.”

“I know it’s politics, and you have to follow the right codes, but can’t we get something drafted to get it done, and then we can finalize other amendments to it just to et something like this taken care of?” Wendt said.

Thomas said he and Ward will talk to city attorney Bill Sueppel about the issue.

“At the very least, we’ll make sure we have something for the next council meeting,” he said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tattooed man robs El Cajon bank

By Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune

A tattooed man robbed an El Cajon bank Tuesday afternoon and escaped, possibly in a red sports car with a pit bull inside, police said. A white man in his 50s with tattoos on his neck and right ear, walked into Wells Fargo Bank on Avocado Avenue near Chase Avenue about 2:35 p.m., El Cajon police Lt. Tim Henton said.
The robber slipped a note to a teller, demanding cash. Police did not disclose the amount of money he was given. When he left, he may have gotten into a red Nissan sports car with a pit bull inside, witnesses told police.
Witnesses described the robber as of medium height, thin build, with several tattoos. He wore a black and white hooded sweat shirt and dark pants.
The red car was last seen heading east on Chase Avenue.

Dead man 'fed to dog, left in freezer'

From 9 News

The girlfriend and children of a US man have been charged with his murder after his remains were found inside a freezer

David Reuben Green Jr's de facto partner Wendy Edmond Green and his teenage children of are accused of feeding parts of his body to their pit-bull, as well as bringing friends to their home in North Carolina to show off "their father's mutilated and quartered body", the News & Observer reports.
Ms Green, who took on her wealthy partner's surname despite them never marrying, also posed as his wife to withdraw money from his bank accounts, police say.
The 41-year-old told family that her boyfriend was overseas — but after a long absence, his extended family began to suspect something was amiss and hired a private investigator to track him down.
Mr Green was formally reported missing on September 1. His decapitated body was found stuffed inside the freezer earlier this month.
It is believed the 52-year-old died of blunt force trauma as early as January.
"A piece of your heart just breaks," cousin Shawn Thornbill was quoted as saying. "My aunt (Mr Green's mother) spent last week taking down the children's pictures."
David Reuben Green III, 15, and Alexis Green, 17, have both been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy.
The pair will be tried as adults if a judge finds probable cause for the charges.
Ms Green is facing the same charges.

Man Arrested for Mistreating Pit Bulls


A pack of pit bulls are being nursed back to health. Their 27-year-old owner is behind bars for mistreating them. Ruben Salazar is charged with five counts of cruelty to animals.
A concerned citizen called police about the dogs on Southmost Road.

Police found two white pit bulls in a pen without food. Two brown pit bulls were near brown water with worms in it. The last pit bull was found inside a trashcan still breathing.

Brownsville Animal Control is caring for the dogs.

Update December 23, 2010 5:23pm - The following article is by Mary Avila, Action 4 News:

Pit bulls rescued in animal cruelty case ready for adoption

A group of pit bulls rescued in an animal cruelty case are back in good health and ready for adoption.
Police officers were called to a home at 3124 Southmost Road back in October.
Investigators told Action 4 News that police had received a call that several malnourished dogs were at the home.
Officers found two white pitbulls in a pen without food. The water in their bowl was green in color and had worms in it.
Two brown pitbulls were found malnourished. A fifth pitbull was found alive inside a trashcan.
Investigators told Action 4News that Brownsville Animal Control officers told custody of all five dogs.
Brownsville police arrested Ruben Salazar on animal cruelty charges.
The malnourished dogs were taken to the Brownsville Animal Shelter where they have recovered and are ready for adoption.
Anyone wishing to adopt the animals is asked to call (956) 544-7351

Related articles:
Rescue Dogs Ready to Find New Homes - KRGV

Fla. newborn dies after pit bull attack at home

From The Washington Post

A newborn baby is dead after being attacked by a pit bull in a Florida home.
The newborn died at a hospital. Authorities have not released the baby's name.
Department of Children and Families spokesman John Harrell says the state agency and police are investigating whether the baby was being supervised and whether the dog previously showed aggressive behavior.
City animal control officials say the young dog has been euthanized.

Update October 26, 2010 1:18pm - The following article is by Amy Judd, Now Public:

Newborn Baby Dies After Being Attacked By Family Pit Bull Terrier

A Four-Day Old Baby Died in Jacksonville Florida After Being Attacked By the Family's Dog

The parents say they only left the baby alone for a few seconds when the dog attacked the newborn, who died as a result of its injuries.
The dog did not have any prior history of aggressive behavior, but it has now been destroyed after the attack on Sunday evening. The incident is now being investigated by Florida's child welfare agency and the Jacksonville Sheriff's office, who will attempt to determine how long the child was alone when the attack occurred. 
The final report will not be available for weeks, but DCF wanted to remind parents how dangerous it is for pets to be around small children unsupervised.

Update October 26, 2010 1:36pm - The following article is from WJXT:

Dad: Dog That Killed Baby 'Very Loving'

Police: 3-Day-Old Baby Attacked In Arlington Home Sunday Night

Investigators are trying to figure out why a family's pit bull described as a "very loving dog" attacked a 3-day-old baby in Arlington Sunday night.
Police said they when they arrived at the home on Dickson Road in Arlington at 10:40 p.m., the baby was being transported to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, where the boy died.
The baby's father told Channel 4 that he and his family are devastated by the loss of their new son, Justin Valentin. He said the dog attacked the baby on the bed while the mother took a shower.
The father said he and his family are grieving over the tremendous loss of their child.
The father said the family raised the pit bull since it was a puppy and that the dog never showed any signs of aggression toward anyone in their family.
"I want parents to know ... don't think you'll be quick enough," said the father, Mark Valentin. "It can happen in the blink of an eye."
The young, red pit bull was turned over to Jacksonville Animal Control and Protective Services, then euthanized at the request of the family.
Police, animal control officials and the Department of Children and Families are all investigating.
In a separate case Monday night, Manatee County deputies fatally shot a pit bull that charged them after attacking a 5-year-old boy in Bradenton. Authorities said the boy tried to climb a tree to get away, but the dog bit into his arm and tried to pull him down.
"I would never recommend leaving an animal alone with an infant, period," Animal Control Officer Robert Currey said. "Even if it's a family pet, you never know how they're going to react to a new, basically, living being in the residence with them -- which is basically the animal's territory."

Update October 26, 2010 2:19pm - The following article is by Michael King, from WXIA:
Newborn Dies in Jacksonville After Being Mauled by Pit Bull

A 3-day-old infant died after being attacked by the family pet pit bull, said the state Department of Children and Families.
A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report said the child was bitten by the dog inside a home on Dickson Road in Arlington Sunday night.
Police said when they arrived, a rescue worker was carrying a small baby from the home.
JSO said the baby was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.
Police said owners secured the dog inside a cage at the home by the time they arrived.
First Coast News attempted to reach the family at the Arlingnton home listed in the police report. The infant's mother asked for privacy during their time of mourning. Police identified the infant as 3-day old Justin Valentin.
DCF is investigating and told First Coast News the pit bull "went after the infant."
Animal Care and Protective Services said the male dog, named Biggs, was put down yesterday at the request of the owners.
Police said, "This is an active ongoing investigation."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pit bull attack sends man to hospital

By Renee Dials, WALA

A Mobile man was taken to the hospital with bites on both his legs after he was attacked by a pit bull Monday morning. The incident happened around 7:15 a.m. outside the man’s home on Riverside Drive.
It took animal control officers more than an hour to subdue the dog.
Timothy Sealhorst is the dog’s owner. Sealhorst told FOX10 News he was asleep when the 1 1/2 year old pit bull got out. Sealhorst was issued two tickets and he'll have to appear in Municipal Court on November 12.
The victim was with his own dog when the incident happened.
Ellen Lursen, Director of the Mobile County Animal Shelter, said the pit bull was taken to the animal shelter. She said the dog will have to be moved immediately to a private veterinarian at the owner’s expense. The dog will be held for 10 days.

Pit bull rips woman apart

By Justin O'Brien, NT News

A TOP End woman has told of her horror after she was severely mauled by a pit bull.
Heavily bandaged Bianca Sommerville last night described the dog attack as the most terrifying event in her life.
Surgeons were preparing Ms Sommerville for a second operation on her arms and legs when she spoke exclusively to the NT News.
"(It was) extremely frightening, there are no other words to put it, it was terrifying," she said.
Ms Sommerville, 35, was attacked by a friend's pit bull at a rural block last Friday afternoon.
She was checking on her friend's Humpty Doo house when she let the pit bull out of the yard for a run.
"It was running along a fence, trying to attack some other dogs. I stood about 20m away from it and it turned around and attacked me," Ms Sommerville said. A friend was able to pull the pit bull away and put the animal back inside the yard.
Three days after the pit bull attack, the full extent of Ms Sommerville's injuries are not known.
"I haven't even looked at my arms yet," she said. The owners have destroyed the dog.
Ms Sommerville was in obvious pain as she warned others: "Just beware of pit bulls, mate."
"You get some good ones and you get some bad ones ... they're not as friendly as you think they are," she said.
A second dog attack over the weekend left a young boy with six stitches in his face after his was attacked by a friend's dog in the front yard of a Malak house.
Anthony Hill was mauled on the chin and right side of his face by a mixed breed dog on Saturday afternoon.
It's owner heard Anthony's screams and freed the 10-year-old from the dogs jaws.
"He jumped up and bit me and latched on," the boy told Channel Nine.
Darwin City Council rangers seized the dog from the Darwent St house yesterday afternoon.
The animal is being held at the Darwin City Council pound until a decision is made on whether to allow the dog to live.
Kim Ellis, Anthony's mother, wants the dog destroyed.
"It could have went for his throat, if it went for his throat he wouldn't have had a chance," she said.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Woman and pets attacked by pit bulls

From CTV News

Surrey, B.C., resident Patti Agnew is calling for tougher vicious dog bylaws after she and her seven-year-old cockapoo Molly were suddenly attacked by two pit bulls on Saturday morning.
Agnew says she was walking Molly and her other dog Max past a local corner market at around 10 a.m. when the pit bulls escaped from a parked car and charged at them.
"We didn't do anything to provoke these dogs," she said. "I can't even imagine if it had been a small child. We're very lucky that she's going to be okay."
Molly sustained several puncture wounds on her hind leg and a gaping wound on the inside of her thigh that required several stitches. Agnew was bit on the hand.
Agnew was left covered in blood, but says when the dogs' owner ran out of the corner store to retrieve her pets, she did not offer any help.
"She went to leave and I yelled to somebody to get her licence plate," she said. "I just couldn't believe it."
She took Molly to the vet and called police, who told her there was nothing they could do. Surrey's animal control officers are investigating, and Agnew has been told the pit bulls were not licenced.
She says it's time Surrey's dangerous dog laws are given more bite.
"It's probably the most violent, traumatic experience I think anybody could go through, knowing that you have two dogs charging you like that," she said. "In seconds they were on us."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lincoln officer shoots loose pit bull

From Lincoln Journal Star

A Lincoln police officer shot a pit bull early Saturday morning.
The officer saw a pit bull sitting inside a running vehicle as he was walking into the Kwik Shop at 33rd and Holdrege streets at 4 a.m.
When the officer exited the convenience store, he noticed that the pit bull was not in the car, so he began searching for the dog. The pit bull was loose and roaming around the building.
Lincoln Police Capt. Joseph Wright said the pit bull charged at the officer, aggressively showing his teeth. The officer tried keep his distance, but the dog persisted.
Police reports say the officer shot the pit bull on its left side. The dog ran away and was found bleeding at 34th and Starr streets.
Animal Control took the pit bull to the Veterinary Emergency Services, 3700 S. Ninth St. At 10 a.m. Saturday, Wright said the dog was still alive.

Dog thought dead and buried found alive

From Boston Herald

There were tears aplenty when Mark Dolph buried his brindle pit bull mix named Patch outside his mother’s home near Waymart on the morning of Oct. 7. The dog had disappeared about 36 hours earlier while Mr. Dolph and girlfriend, Penny Holland, visited from North Carolina. When one of mother Patricia Dolph’s neighbors called to say he had spotted Patch lying dead along a road, Mr. Dolph resigned himself to the painful reality that his beloved pet was gone.
"We already had in our heads that he was dead," Mr. Dolph said.
But in a quirky case of canine mistaken identity, the Dolph family buried the wrong dog.
It turned out Patch was very much alive, having taken refuge with Stacey and Bryan Struble, who that same day opened up their home on Belmont Turnpike - more than six miles from Mrs. Dolph’s Dutchman Hill house - to what they thought was a mere stray.
"I must have thanked them a thousand times," Mr. Dolph said Thursday in a telephone interview from his Monroe, N.C., home. "If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have Patch."
The strange tale started unfolding late on Oct. 5 when Patch was nowhere to be found when Mr. Dolph and Ms. Holland went outside that Tuesday night to bring inside their other dog, Jake. Patch had never run away before, and Mr. Dolph was concerned he might have been attacked and injured by a bobcat spotted near the home.
The family spent the next day scouring the area, alerting neighbors and leaving a description of the missing dog with the Dessin Animal Shelter in Honesdale, to no avail.
The following morning — Oct. 7 — a neighbor who was familiar with Patch called.
"He said he had bad news," Mr. Dolph said. "He found the dog, but he was dead on the side of the road, about three miles away."
Mr. Dolph drove to the area, wrapped the dead animal in Patch’s favorite blanket and brought him back to his mother’s home for burial.
"The whole house had tears in their eyes," he said.
In hindsight, Mr. Dolph said the clues were obvious. The dog on the road lacked Patch’s faded orange collar with paw prints on it, his nose appeared snubbier and, despite the identical white patch on his chest, his brindle coat seemed more uniform. In his grief, Mr. Dolph attributed the anomalies to the accident that killed the animal and the rain that had fallen overnight.
"Now, looking at my dog and at that dog, we should have known," he said. "But at the time, they looked enough alike."
Patricia Dolph said the shelter called the next day, Friday, Oct. 8, to say the Strubles had found a dog matching Patch’s description. The family was skeptical, she said, until they spoke by phone with Mr. Struble, who described Patch "to a T," right down to the faded collar.
"Now we were getting excited," she said.
But there would be one more disappointment. By the time the family got to the Struble home, Patch had gotten out and run away again. A search failed to locate him.
Around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, Mrs. Struble called again to say Patch had returned overnight and would remain safely inside until Mr. Dolph came to retrieve him.
Mr. Dolph said the owners of the dead dog are still unknown. If they are ever identified, he said he hopes they will take comfort in the knowledge their pet received a loving, tearful burial.
Mrs. Dolph said Thursday she believes providence played a role in Patch’s return, and she told her son as much.
"I said that God must have seen you were so good to that dog," she said, "and that’s why he decided to give your dog back to you."

Startling discovery in Halifax

By Roger Bell, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald

Human remains under investigation

When Ivette Coulombe moved to Halifax from New York City nearly two years ago, she never believed one day she would discover skeletal human remains on her property. However, Friday around 9 a.m., Coulombe, near her home on Montford Street in Halifax, was taking her dog, a Weimaraner-Shar-Pei mix, out for her morning walk in her backyard when they passed under her clothesline.

“I ducked up under the clothesline and that’s when I saw the bone.”

Coulombe, who was a dance major at Lehman University in New York and studied anatomy and physiology, recognized the bone as a human thigh bone. A few steps later, she discovered a leg bone and what appeared to be a jaw with teeth attached.

“It creeped me out a little bit,” Coulombe said.

For some time, she said she could only stand and stare. “You know when you’re half-believing, half-not believing it?” Coulombe said. “That’s how it was at first.”

After a time, Coulombe realized what was happening.

“I started to think, this is a person,” she said.

Coulombe contacted her neighbor Raye Burnell, who was outside the house next door at the time, and directed her to the find. “When I saw it I thought it was a deer,” Burnell said. “I still believe it was a deer.”

Coulombe had her husband call the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office to report the find. As they waited, Coulombe and Burnell began to believe Burnell’s dog, a pit bull which had gotten loose the night before, had found the remains in nearby woods and brought them to the yard.

Coulombe was still in a bit of shock Friday afternoon. “It’s not real,” she said. “I really can’t explain it. I expected to maybe one day see a skeleton in a classroom setting, but not in the woods.”

Capt. Jay Burch, of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed officials were investigating skeletal human remains near Montford Street. The State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Team had also responded, but no identification of the remains has been made.

Woman attacked by pit bull


A woman has been attacked by a pit bull mix in her backyard.
The attack happened Saturday at a residence located on the 8100 block of Hydra Lane, near N. Durango Dr. and W. Vegas Dr., just after 10am.
The dog bit the woman on the arms and legs when she went into the backyard. She was able to pull herself back into the home, leaving the dog locked in the backyard.
It is unclear whether the animal belonged to the woman's daughter or if the daughter had been dog sitting for someone else.
The victim was transported to UMC with non-life threatening injuries.
Metro officers stood watch on the dog until Animal Control could pick it up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dog undergoes surgery for gunshot wound in Tampa

From Tampa Bay Online

Mercy is looking for a new home.
The dog, who was shot in the head, underwent surgery this morning to remove portions of a bullet from her skull.
Just who shot the pit bull mix and why remain mysteries. She was found wandering recently near Falkenburg Road and Progress Boulevard. She had a collar, but no tags or a microchip. And she was clearly injured.
That's where the Lost Angels Animal Rescue group and Tampa Veterinary Hospital come in to the picture.
Veterinarians at the hospital operated today on Mercy, and the animal rescue group is seeking a home for her.
"She's a wonderful dog," said Lily McCarty, who is with the Lost Angels group. Veterinarian Melissa Webster said she was concerned about the dog's eyesight and hearing, given the unknown nature of the impact of the gunshot.
"That's our biggest worry for her," Webster said.
For information on how to adopt Mercy, go to

Tasered dog died of suffocation

By Nancy Raskauskas, Gazette-Times

According to police, necropsy results showed that it wasn’t the effects of an officer’s Taser that killed a dog in a northwest Corvallis neighborhood on Monday. Rather, the animal suffocated after it was muzzled for transport to the Heartland Humane Society.
A police spokesman said Friday the dog had a previous injury that caused swelling in its throat, and the jolt from an officer’s stun gun played no role in the dog’s death.
The incident happened when two Corvallis police officers responded to a report of two dogs at large near Linus Pauling Middle School that were attempting to bite people. After the larger dog bit one of the officers, he discharged his Taser into the animal. The owners were located and cited, and the dog was taken to the shelter in the back of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office animal control truck.
“When the muzzle was put on the dog, it closed the airway. The dog suffocated,” said Capt. John Sassman, a spokesman for the Corvallis Police Department.
“When animals have an illness or injury they can be aggressive, even if they are a great dog otherwise,” he added. “I would categorize this under one of those really unfortunate situations.”
The dog, named Deuce, was initially identified as a pit bull mix in police reports. According to Lt. Cord Wood, public information officer for the Corvallis Police Department, owners Mable and Keith Akina say Deuce was actually a Neapolitan mastiff.
Wood said Corvallis officers have used Tasers to subdue other aggressive dogs in the past.
“It usually has the desired effect,” he said.
Wood said the officer who used the Taser after being bitten in the arm is doing fine. The dog’s teeth did not actually break the skin.
Wood called the dog’s sudden death during transport “very unfortunate.”
“We were all very surprised,” he said.

Police: Suspected drug dealer had 82 grams of packaged cocaine in home

By Dennis Sullivan, From Chicago Tribune

A suspected drug dealer is being held in the Will County Adult Detention facility in lieu of $300,000 bail.
Edward Gutierrez, 43, of the 2100 block of Siegel Drive in Crest Hill is scheduled to appear in Will County court Nov. 10 on a charge of manufacture/delivery of more than 15 grams of cocaine.
The charge is a Class X felony that carries a mandatory sentencing range of six to 30 years upon conviction.
Joliet Police arrested Gutierrez on Oct. 19 at his home, where they also reportedly seized 82 grams of cocaine packaged in 13 bags, a digital scale and $1,029 in cash.
Joliet Deputy Police Chief Trafton said Gutierrez and his wife cooperated with the arrest, but police “neutralized a pit bull” in the home that was preparing to attack them.

Puppy stolen during Superior Township burglary

By Lee Higgins,

A 9-week-old pit bull puppy was stolen during a burglary Thursday afternoon in the 8000 block of Nottingham Drive in Superior Township, a Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department media summary said.
Someone opened a garage door and took the puppy between noon and 4:30 p.m., the summary said.
Deputies do not have any suspects.
Sheriff's department spokesman Derrick Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment this afternoon.

Cruelty charges pending after neglected dogs, puppies apprehended in Surrey

From The Province

Authorities have stepped in to apprehend 13 neglected and starving dogs and puppies in Surrey — and animal cruelty charges are pending.
The B.C. SPCA reported Friday that two adult pit-bull cross dogs, a sixth-month-old pit-bull cross, and 10 two-week-old pit-bull cross puppies are now in their care. The female dog was starving, with her spine and ribs protruding, and the puppies were dehydrated and underweight. The adult male dog was suffering from a large open wound on his front paw.
“In addition to our concerns about the health of the animals, the dogs were living in substandard conditions,” says Eileen Drever, senior animal protection officer for the BC SPCA.
“The female and her puppies were being kept inside the home in a dark room with no ventilation and an overwhelming smell of urine and feces. The two male dogs were outside with no adequate shelter, no access to potable water and surrounded by hazards and debris.”
The adult dogs and puppies are currently receiving veterinary treatment and care in SPCA custody. The investigation continues and charges of animal cruelty are pending.


Pit Bull Dog Stolen

From Bowling Green Daily News

Someone took a 5-month-old female pit bull dog from outside a residence in the 1900 block of Sandra Street between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a city police report.

The woman who reported the theft told police she had been caring for the pit bull, which belonged to her brother, and had kept it chained outside. The dog is valued at $2,000.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Redding Man Biten By Dogs


On Thursday afternoon, a man was attacked by two pit bull mixes, while he was walking his dog in his wheelchair.
According to the Haven Humane Society, Charles Osborn, 57-years-old, was attacked by the two dogs on the 1800 block of Roanoak Avenue in Redding, where he lives.
Ruddy Chacon, Osborn's neighbor, said that he heard Osborn scream and when he ran over he saw the dogs attacking him.
"And he was over in the gutter and he was in real pain, but when two or three dogs are fighting, you can't go over there to save them because the dogs could bite you," said Chacon.
Haven Humane said the two dogs got loose from a nearby apartment, and bit Osborn multiple times.
Officials also said that they have had prior contact with these particular dogs.
The dogs will be held at Haven Humane for the next ten days, and their fate could either be a dangerous dog hearing, being relocated, or possibly being put down.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Property dispute involves gunshots, run for office

By Dan Nienaber, Mankato Free Press

Dispute lingers in court system

A woman hoping to fill a seat on the Mankato Township Board has been in a property dispute with a neighbor that has lingered in court for months and escalated, more than once, to the point of gunfire.

At first glance, the scenic acreage south of Mankato where Caroline Wood and John Enger live seems like the type of place that would naturally encourage peace and harmony. Both of their houses are tucked into a hillside along the west side of Highway 66. Directly across the highway, people can be seen enjoying the Red Jacket Trail as they walk, jog and bike along the popular path. Mount Kato and the bluffs behind Indian Lake provide a colorful backdrop for that scene.

Enger and his wife, Danette, built their house about 30 years ago. Wood and her husband, Russell, moved into their house in 2008. The initial source of their many disagreements is a 40-foot easement, set aside in the middle 1990s when Highway 66 was improved, that provides a driveway to the Engers’ house.

The easement travels parallel to the highway across the Woods’ front yard. The Engers’ original driveway was removed when the highway was changed because sight lines made it hard to see for passing motorists.

Wood has also reported problems with the Engers’ dogs, including one that lost one of its front legs in July after it was shot in the chest by Wood. She has already spent about $20,000 in attorneys fees alone for the property dispute, which

hasn’t gotten her very far in court.

Enger said he’s concerned Wood is hoping to replace Howard Drummer Jr. on the Township Board so she can bring her dispute to a different forum.

“I’d be real concerned — for anyone living in this township — if she becomes our supervisor,” he said. “The rules tend to be pretty lax here. She complains about everything and has done everything she can do to make me afraid to enjoy my property. I’m afraid that’s what she’d turn this township into. That’s what she’s tried to do to me.”

According to a harassment claim filed by Wood, she received a medical discharge from the Air Force due to post traumatic stress and other health issues. She said she moved to Mankato because her husband, who grew up in the area, is still on active duty. He will be returning from Iraq next week and retiring soon, Wood said in an e-mail Wednesday.

She said she’s a qualified township board candidate because of her experience as an Air Force air traffic controller. Wood, 34, also has served as the manager of the Mankato Farmer’s Market this year.

“I believe in integrity, service before self and excellence in all I do,” Wood said in the e-mail. “My lack of direct civilian supervisor experience may cause hesitation, but I hope my prior military experience, positive energy, fresh perspective, and love of Mankato will lead to some support.”

Deputies have been called to the Wood and Enger residences “numerous times” since the property dispute started about two years ago, said Capt. Rich Murry of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department. Reasons for the calls have included complaints about the use of the driveway, fences that have been built too close to the easement and gunshots. Reports from the dog shooting in July have been turned over to the county attorney’s office and could result in criminal charges.

It is illegal to shoot a stray dog on your property unless you are in fear for your safety or it is chasing wildlife such as deer, Murry said. He also said there had not been a problem at the two houses, or Enger’s house alone, before Wood moved in.

Enger said Brownie, his Thai ridge back (or Asian black lab) dog, was lured on to the Woods’ property before it was shot by Caroline Wood. Enger also said another dog that was living with him temporarily “fainted dead away” after both Wood and her husband fired numerous rifle shots near that dog during an earlier incident.

Here is how Wood describes what happened in July in a 92-paragraph affidavit she filed in September accusing Enger of contempt of court:

“On July 9, 2010, I saw the Enger’s pit bull dog enter our property when it was unsupervised and unrestrained. I waited to see if the dog would return home. Instead it proceeded into our yard.

“I therefore went outside with a 9mm handgun I had acquired because of a recommendation from law enforcement and my first attorney. I pointed the gun into the hillside one handed to fire a shot to scare the dog into going back home. At that moment the dog began to run and noticed me, at which point it charged toward me.

“I then took a two handed grip and fired the gun one time. I believe I hit the dog. The dog then returned home and I went inside to call law enforcement. I did not fire out of anything but fear. Once the dog was not a threat, I immediately went into the house.”

In the same affidavit, Wood claims Enger owes her more than $31,000 for what she has spent to protect herself since becoming his neighbor. That figure includes the attorney fees, the cost of audio and video surveillance equipment and more than $1,000 she paid to a private investigation firm to sweep her house for electronic bugging devices she suspected had been placed inside her house by Enger.

Update October 26, 2010 8:46pm - The following article is by Dan Nienaber, The Free Press:
Township candidate facing charges for shooting dog

A Mankato Township board candidate who has been in a long property dispute is now facing a felony charge for shooting her neighbor’s dog.

Caroline Ruth Wood, 44, also was in civil court Tuesday asking a judge to find her neighbor, John Enger, in contempt of court. Enger responded with his own motion asking the court limit when and where Wood can use her firearms.

Judge Kurt Johnson said he thought the situation had been settled with an order he issued in December. He was clearly surprised that the dispute had escalated to gunfire on July 9, which is when Wood admits to using a handgun to shoot Brownie, Enger’s Thai ridge back (or Asian black lab).

“She shot the dog?” Johnson asked at one point during Tuesday’s hearing. “Ms. Wood shot the dog?”

Enger and Wood, who have adjoining yards on Highway 66 across from Mount Kato, have been in a property dispute since Wood moved into her house about two years ago. She is not happy about a driveway that the county had acquired for Enger in the 1990s when Highway 66 was improved. It runs along her front yard, parallel to the highway.

The original driveway Enger put in when he built his house 30 years ago had to be moved because it had poor sight lines for passing motorists. His house is now above a retaining wall that prevents him from having a driveway on his own property.

Wood filed a lawsuit in June 2009 initially questioning whether Enger’s driveway easement was valid. Her attorney conceded early on that there was clearly a 40-foot easement that had been sold to the county by a previous owner.

Wood has also accused Enger of not doing enough to keep his dogs off her property. She said she’s concerned for her safety and the safety of her small service dog, which she brought into the courtroom with her Tuesday.

After scaring the dogs away with gunfire during previous incidents, she used a 9mm handgun to shoot Brownie. The dog survived a direct hit to the chest, but lost one of its front legs. As a result of that incident, a felony charge of mistreating animals and a misdemeanor charge of reckless use of a dangerous weapon were filed against Wood last week.

She called 911 to report she shot the dog, which she described as a pit bull, at about 4:30 p.m. on July 9. When a deputy arrived, she told him she grabbed her gun after she saw Enger’s dog in her yard. She said she stood in her doorway, yelled at the dog, then shot one round when it came toward her, according to the criminal complaint.

“(Wood) was asked that, if she was standing in the doorway at the time she shot the pit bull, why she didn’t just close the door instead of shooting it,” the complaint said. “(Wood) claims she was scared and feared her two dogs would get out and get attacked by the pit bull. (She) was advised that she could have closed the door and called 911.”

The deputy also interviewed a witness, Ben DeMars, who reported he was sitting with Enger on Enger’s patio when he heard one gunshot and a “yelp” from the dog. DeMars said he did not hear Wood yell at the dog or call for help before the gun was fired.

An empty shell casing also was found about 26 feet away from Wood’s front door. If the casing had been ejected from the gun in the location where Wood said she was standing, it would have gone toward the house, the deputy told her. He also said it was unlikely the casing would have flown that far when it was ejected from the gun.

When the deputy returned to interview Wood again four days later, she told him she wasn’t sure where she was standing when she shot the dog, the complaint said.

Wood described the incident in detail in an affidavit she filed with the civil suit in September. She was requesting Enger be found in contempt of court for not following an earlier order to keep his dogs on a leash while on the easement. She also claimed to have photographs and video of Enger’s dogs being walked on the easement without a leash.

Wood only produced two photographs during Tuesday’s hearing. Johnson said neither showed anything conclusive.

Enger’s attorney, Daniel Bellig, told Johnson the July incident and Wood’s inability to show any proof of her civil claims suggest she isn’t acting reasonably. That’s a concern for Enger and his wife, Bellig said.

“It just is not safe for my clients out there,” he said. “Law enforcement doesn’t want to come out anymore. They’re fed up.

“The situation is getting out of hand and, considering what happened in July, it’s getting dangerous.”

Johnson said he thought the dispute was settled, but would consider the motions. Wood is scheduled to make her first court appearance for the criminal charges on Nov. 18.