Friday, December 31, 2010

N.C. man charged with starving pets, selling drugs

By Thomasi McDonald, The Bellingham Herald

A Garner, N.C., man has been charged with selling drugs from his home, where police say they also found several dead animals, including an alligator.
Police think Kelvin Leroy Dunston, 31, killed the alligator, as well as two pit bulls, two large snakes and two lizards, by failing to feed them, court records show.
They also think he neglected to feed a third pit bull, nearly starving the animal to death, according to court records.
Police charged Dunston on Friday with eight felony counts of animal cruelty; one felony count of maintaining a place for a controlled substance; possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana; possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to arrest warrants filed at the Wake County Magistrate's Office.
Police have accused Dunston of neglecting to feed two brown and white pit bulls that were chained to a tree. Police also found two dead lizards of unknown sex or species inside Dunston's home, court records show.
Police found one of the lizards, described as black with white spots, inside a large glass aquarium and a dark green lizard inside a wire cage. Both animals had been deprived of food and water, police said.
Police found the dead alligator in another aquarium. Police have accused Dunston of depriving the reptile of food and water for an unknown period of time, court records show.
Police say one of the dead boa constrictors was inside a cardboard box, while the other was in a large organizational drawer. Police say both died as a result of not being provided food and water, court records show.
Police also found a digital scale, 51 grams of marijuana and a black, .25 caliber handgun that had been reported stolen, court records show.
Police took Dunston to the Wake County jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of $145,000 bail. He is considered a flight risk, court records show.

Related articles:
Police: Dead alligator, lizards, snakes found in Garner home of man charged with dealing drugs - WGHP
Garner man accused of starving dogs, alligator, boa constrictors - WRAL

Dog Bitings

By Roger the Scanner Guy, Edhat

Three people bitten by dogs so far today. One on Sterns Wharf just before 9 AM. Another involving a brown pit bull that bit someone and the owner and his friend left the scene and were contacted by SBPD on the 400 Block of East Cabrillo. Just now I heard of 2 people bit in the 1200 Block of Cacique. Animal control is being requested on scene by Engine 2. Roger

2 men steal pit bull from outside a Paterson store

By Marlene Naanes, The Record

Two men walked off with a pit bull tied up outside a Getty Avenue grocery store, and police are asking for the public’s help in finding the dog. The dog owner tied up the female pit bull, named Isis, outside of the Food Basics store about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. When he returned, Isis was gone, said Lt. Richard Reyes.
Police saw two men dressed in all black and wearing hooded sweatshirts walk off with the dog in security footage from the store. Isis is a brown pit bull with a white nose and had a yellow collar and red leash.
Police ask anyone with information to call detectives at 973-321-1120.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Supports laws restricting pit bulls in Friday Harbor

By Shawn Kleine, from Journal of the San Juans

I am the father of the latest pitbull attack victim and I am outraged that yet again we have to deal with another attack in this community.
My three-year-old son was attacked and bitten by a pitbull in the parking lot of the San Juan Island Library as he was trying to attend a children’s play group to see Santa with many other small children present. Time and time again over the past few years, we have all heard of similar attacks. People being attacked in their own yards; other dogs and livestock as large as alpacas have been killed by these dogs. Is it going to take the death of my child or your child before we take action in this community?
Many will argue that other dog breeds attack people as well and this is true, but rarely are these attacks fatal. A child climbing on or scaring an unfamiliar dog can initiate an attack or bite, but it is out of fear or defense. Sadly, pitbulls have been bred to be aggressive and non-submissive and often they show dominance toward humans and other animals. Most attacks by these dogs are so vicious that they cannot be separated from their victims. I have witnessed this myself here on this island on three different occasions.
Not all of these dogs are dangerous but I would say that 90 percent of pitbulls that I have personally witnessed in this community are. Knowing this, I feel that 90 percent of these owners are irresponsible as well. Why own an animal that is hard to control and is known to be very aggressive toward other animals and other people? Why own an animal that causes people to cross to the other side of the street or huddle there children closer as you pass by? What is the novelty of these animals?
I urge everyone else in this community that feels the same way to say enough is enough. Whether it’s outlawing pitbulls within town limits to keep them away from highly populated areas with our children and schools and libraries or outlawing them completely, something needs to happen before there is a tragedy.
I also urge anyone who does not feel this way to contact me and explain to me why they feel differently. You can see my son’s wounds in person and ask him why he no longer wants a puppy for Christmas.

One of most-wanted arrested

By Karissa Minn, Salisbury Post

One of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office’s 15 most wanted people was arrested Tuesday on several felony drug charges.
Ronald Eugene Burgess, 39, of 4535 Long Ferry Road, was listed earlier this month by the Sheriff’s Office as wanted for trafficking in opium and maintaining a dwelling to keep, store and sell controlled substance.
The warrant was taken out on Dec. 20 after a series of undercover drug buys starting in early summer, said Lt. Terry Agner. Burgess was arrested Tuesday and placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $50,000 bond.
Burgess also has been charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute marijuana; possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute opium; and sale and delivery of marijuana; and sale and delivery of opium. Police say he had 35 hydrocodone pills and 7 grams of marijuana.
Burgess and his wife, Rhonda, were previously arrested Aug. 2 after detectives found 202 marijuana plants in various stages of growth inside and outside the house, as well as dried marijuana, morphine, oxycodone, methylphenidate (Ritalin) and hydrocodone pills. Detectives also seized drug paraphernalia, two rifles and $1,400 in cash.
A 6-year-old boy had been living in the house, which officers said had trash and dirt everywhere and a pit bull in a bedroom. The Department of Social Services was notified and the boy was turned over to his biological mother at that time.
As a result of the August search, Burgess was arrested and charged with numerous felony counts including trafficking in opium, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver several controlled substances; possession of a firearm by a felon; and maintaining a dwelling to keep, store and sell controlled substance. He was then released after his $300,000 secured bond was paid.
Undercover officers continued their investigation and brought the new charges against him this month based on a series of drug buys.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From Megan Backus, Animal League Defense Fund

Sixteen Temperament-Tested Dogs Saved from Kansas Dogfighting Ring in Need of Loving Homes

Sixteen of twenty-seven dogs rescued from an Independence, Kansas dogfighting operation during an October drug raid are looking for loving families to give them a new chance at life in the new year. The dogs were seized during a Montgomery County, Kansas drug raid overseen by eight Kansas, Missouri, and federal government agencies in which two men were charged with crimes relating to dogfighting. Despite the horrific abuses the dogs endured, the adoptable animals have been temperament tested and are ready to become loving family members. Kansas and Missouri residents and licensed rescues interested in opening their hearts and their homes to one of these dogs can contact Katie Barnett, president of the University of Kansas Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter and adoption director with the rescue group Game Dog Guardian, at

In years past, seizure from a barbaric fighting operation would have meant a death sentence for the dogs who are innocent victims of their abusers. Local authorities, however, were adamant that dogs like “Hercules” and “Big Mama,” rescued in the October bust, deserved a second chance. The much-publicized Michael Vick case has shed light on the fact that despite their abuse, dogs saved from dogfighting operations—which are illegal in all fifty states—can be extremely friendly, gentle, affectionate, good with children, and even highly sociable with other dogs. Katie Barnett, who founded the SALDF chapter at the University of Kansas in 2009 and owns a rescued pit bull herself, assisted Game Dog Guardian trainers in temperament testing the dogs, who are now ready for special families to give them a second chance.

“The criminal justice system plays a vital role in making sure that dogfighters are punished to the fullest extent of the law and prevented from going on to victimize more innocent animals in the future,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “But these dogs don’t just need justice—they also need a second chance. We hope the compassionate citizens of Kansas and Missouri will consider making the lifesaving—and life changing—choice to adopt one of these rescued dogs and give them a new lease on life in 2011.”

Photos and video of the rescued dogs are available upon request. Reporters interested in taking footage of some of the rescued dogs, and residents interested in information about adopting the dogs, should contact Katie Barnett at 785-832-8100 or

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit

Game Dog Guardian believes that a better life for dogs begins with a better life for people, and that a better life for people can be advanced by the human-canine bond.  Game Dog Guardian is a Kansas licensed rescue group with community outreach programs that include free pit bull training classes, humane education outreach, and Delta Society pit bull therapy dogs. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pitbull attacks family pet poodle

From 680 News

A Hamilton family wants to sue the owner of a pitbull after the animal burst into their home on Christmas morning and fatally injured their pet poodle.

The family was in their pyjamas when they answered the knock on the door from a ten-year-old girl.

The 80 pound dog burst inside and attacked the family pet.

A ten-year-old girl had found the pitbull wandering around and was looking for someone to call Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Despite spending $3,000 at the vet, the poodle Max had to be put down.

The family plans to file a freedom of information request to get information about the dog's owner and pursue the incident in small claims court.

Update January 14, 2011 7:19pm - The following article is from The Hamilton Spectator:
Pit bull that killed family dog was euthanized 

The pit bull that tore through a family home Christmas Day, viciously killing a pet poodle in front of its owners, has been euthanized.
Hamilton’s Animal Control confirmed the dog, which they seized the same day as the attack, was destroyed Jan. 7.
The animal was linked to two attacks on the same day.
The city has never named the animal or its owner or commented on whether the dog was illegal, according to the provincial ban on pit bulls born after 2005.
Animal Control’s investigation into the incident is ongoing and it could be a month before any charges may be laid, said city spokesperson Debbie Spence.
The city will notify the public if there are charges, she said.

Dogs that lack bull getting dumped

By Gloria Campisi, Philadelphia Daily News

A CANE CORSO might look like a pit bull on steroids, as one expert described it. But don't let any backyard breeder fool you about these big Italian mastiffs that, with their ears cropped, can look like American Staffordshire terriers, a breed often lumped in the pit-bull category.
More Cane Corsos have been dumped in the Philadelphia area than in the rest of the country combined - presumably by disappointed purchasers who wanted to enter them in dogfights or just keep them to look "bad," a local rescuer says.
Amy Parsons, treasurer of Big Paws, Big Hearts, a Philadelphia-area Cane Corso rescue group, thinks that people who buy the dogs want "a big, tough dog breed to fight" but soon learn that they're not fighting dogs.
"We think that's why a lot of them are getting dumped," she said.
Chris Schindler, manager of animal-fighting law-enforcement for the Humane Society of the United States, said the agency had never heard of a Cane Corso being used for fighting.
But the dogs are a "very popular breed" for buyers "looking to get a dog that's big and bad-looking," said Nicole Wilson, an animal-abuse investigator for the Pennsylvania SPCA.
She said the agency was seeing "a lot of cases of neglect and cruelty" involving lack of food, water, shelter and veterinary care for Cane Corsos. She couldn't give a specific figure.
Female Cane Corsos can weigh as much as 100 pounds, males as much as 120 pounds. Despite a good temperament, the dogs require an owner who is firmly in control, Parsons said.
Since February, when Big Paws, Big Hearts started to assist national rescuers, the local group has taken more than 55 Cane Corsos from shelters in Philadelphia and from Camden, Trenton and Delaware County.
"We have some dogs that were used for breeding purposes and then dumped," Parsons said. One of the older dogs was thrown out of a moving vehicle in the Northeast. "We just took in a litter of puppies" along with their mother from Trenton, she added.
"Sometimes we get dogs in that have scars on them that are indicative that they have been forced to serve as 'bait' dogs," used by dogfighters to attack as part of training, Parsons said.
The Cane Corsos - some of which are strays - taken in by the local rescuers must be trained to trust people and other animals, and are placed in foster homes or on to seek permanent homes.
Petfinder last week listed 127 Cane Corsos and Cane Corso mixes from around the country.
"We've turned down a large number of additional dogs because we don't have the space," said Parsons.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Woman loses 3 pet sheep to roaming dogs

By Allison Floyd, Athens Banner-Herald

State law classifies her sheep as livestock, but Patricia Voytik thinks of the woolly animals as pets.
So she's understandably sad after a trio of roaming dogs attacked her flock the day after Christmas, killing one and leaving two others so injured they had to be euthanized, according to Voytik's daughter, Linda Bridges.
"One died before we even found it. Two had to be put down. Six or seven had to have some sort of surgery," Bridges said.
The family was together at the Voytik's home on Deerfield Road, a rural area off Cleveland Road in Western Clarke County, when they discovered the sheep huddled in a corner of the pasture, Patricia Voytik told Athens-Clarke police.
When Voytik spotted the dogs, a relative rushed outside and shot two of them; the third got away while he returned to the house to get another round of ammunition, according to a police report.
The area hasn't had much trouble with roaming dogs hurting pets or livestock, Bridges said. "My mother has lived out here 30-something years, and there's usually not a problem," she said.
The dogs were pit bull mixes, according to the police report, and the one that survived went to its home nearby.
That owner and the person who owned the other two dogs were cited for failure to control an animal and failure to display a rabies tag, according to Patrick Rives, superintendent of Animal Control for Athens-Clarke County.
But there's not much else they can be charged with under state and local law, according to Rives.
If a dog is unprovoked but attacks a pet cat or dog, the aggressive animal may be classified as a potentially dangerous dog, invoking certain requirements for fencing. If a dog bites a person, that dog may be classified as dangerous under state law, and even more protections kick in, according to Rives.
But the law treats livestock victims - like Voytik's sheep - differently, Rives said.
"We didn't think that made a bit of sense considering the amount of damage they did," Bridges said.
"The sheep are pets," Bridges said. Voytik had bottle-fed one of the ewes in her kitchen when it was a lamb and watched the animal grow into the oldest sheep in the flock.
"It was hard to see that animal put down," Bridges said.

Pit Bull Attacks Baby, Neighbor Saves The Day

By Peter Busch, KPHO

Marquis Melvin was just learning to walk.
Now, the 9-month-old can't even crawl.
"He had about two to three cuts that went through the bone, and he had a fractured leg," said Marquis' mom, Judy Cruz.
Cruz said she had just stepped out her front door near 67th Avenue and Adams Street last week, when a stray pit bull latched onto her son's leg.
"It was basically like we were fighting for my son's life. I just couldn't get him off he was so strong and I thought he was going to kill him at one point," said Cruz.
Fortunately, a neighbor heard Cruz's screams for help.
"It was very persistent. I've never seen an animal that was so determined to have that baby," said Richard Farrell.
Farrell said he choked the dog until it let go of Marquis.
He then fought off the pit bull again when it charged into the house after the baby.
Farrell's courage cost him a chunk of his right hand.
"I can feel my fingers so I'll be fine," he said.
As for Marquis, his mom said he's not in too much pain but he's frustrated that he can't move his leg.
Animal control did catch the pit bull on the same day of the attack, but they did not immediately respond to inquiries on the current status of the dog.

Related articles:
Neighbor Saves Baby In Pit Bull Attack - KPHO

15 dogs rescued in Warwick after being left in the cold


One by one, 15 pit bulls were led from the windswept woods and into dog crates Monday.
The canines were plucked from a piece of land off Tolgate Road in Warwick.  "They were kept outside, so it wasn't adequate conditions for them, seeing they don't have much hair," said Ann Corvin of the city's animal shelter.  "I understand some of the dogs were chained to trees and not necessarily having shelter, others were chained to shelters.  I was horrified, it was incredulous that anything like that could happen," added City Council President Bruce Place.
Place said constituents alerted him to a possible problem late last week and he after the weekend blizzard he dropped a dime to police.  On Monday afternoon police and animal control officers acted.
The dog’s owner, identified by police as Clifford Dennis, was seen confronting officers, at one point yelling, "You’re stealing my dogs."  All 15 are now at the city's animal shelter and the director says they're in good health and will most likely go up for adoption.
For city councilor Place, this is how government can do well.  "It's been a nice Christmas for me because I know 15 animals are alive today because we took some action."

Update January 25, 2011 11:50am - The following article is by John Howell, Warwick Beacon:

City drops 1 count, pursues charges on lack of shelter for pit bulls rescued from blizzard

Clifford Dennis says he will find homes for the 15 pit pulls police rescued from a wooded area near Kent Hospital during the Dec. 27 blizzard, but that doesn’t let him off charges that the dogs weren’t properly sheltered under city law. If found guilty, he faces fines of $100 per dog.

Dennis, 47, who last gave his address as 66 Potowomut Road, appeared Thursday evening before Municipal Court Judge Joel Gerstenblatt on a multitude of charges including not having the dogs licensed, not having them vaccinated and having more than three dogs in violation of city ordinances. Attorney Joseph Patriarca represented him.

Gerstenblatt dismissed the charge on having more than three dogs on grounds that the ordinance refers to keeping them in a domicile. The former Allen Farm where Dennis had the dogs chained to stakes beside meager shelters is not his property. There is a vacant house and a trailer on the land, but technically not a dwelling premise as defined by the law, city prosecutor Kerry Rafanelli explained after the hearing.

“This is a gray area. They were in a field, not a dwelling,” he said.

City Council President Bruce Place, who brought the complaint against Dennis on Dec. 27, was disappointed that the charges on having more than three dogs was dropped. Yet, he said, had action not been taken during the blizzard, the outcome for the animals, especially given this week’s frigid conditions may have been far worse.

“This could be a blessing in disguise before some real tragedy happened,” he said.

As for the law, Place is looking for a review of all city pet ordinances for the purpose of its intent and if it requires amendment or new legislation. On a broader scale, he said he would be talking with Rep. Jan Malik of Warren this week.

“If nothing else, all of this publicity has focused our eyes on some problems we can fix,” he said.

He said Malik is interested in the uniformity of state code as it applies to the cruelty of animals in particular.

Dennis provided documents after Dec. 27 showing that the dogs had been vaccinated and that they were due booster rabies shots as of last Friday, the day following the court hearing. Rafanelli said neither the charges on licensing nor vaccination would be dropped until Dennis could show the dogs had been licensed and vaccinated.

As explained to Gernstenblatt by Sgt. Robert Rocco, Dennis will be permitted to pick up three dogs at a time from the Animal Shelter as he proves he meets the licensing and vaccination requirements.

Asked after the hearing where he plans to take the animals, Dennis said he has already had a number of requests to adopt the dogs, including some from Warwick police officers. He said he intends to keep three of the pit bulls and that they would be located on the Allen property. He has told police he serves as a caretaker for the land and that he is allowed to cut wood there.

“I have a lot of people who want dogs,” Dennis said.

Some of the pit bulls have already been adopted from the Animal Shelter. Rocco said Dennis agreed to the adoption of two dogs.

Dennis countered negative publicity that has surrounded the incident, pointing out, as police and the shelter have said, that the dogs are healthy. He also maintained that the straw in their shelters provided insulation from the cold and that chains were 14 feet long, not the six feet as reported.

Rocco questioned the adequacy of the shelters. He said they were so small that a dog could not find protection from the cold. In addition, he said police found no food or water when they took the animals.

“They didn’t need vet care,” Dennis said to support his contention that the dogs were well cared for. He also said the trailer and the house on the Allen property had heat, a contention questioned by Rocco.

The city’s case on the charge of improperly sheltering the dogs hinges on specifications of the law relating to time, food and water and temperature as defined as being “beyond a weather safety scale” as set by the Tufts Animal Care and Conditions Scale. Under the law, the city will need to show that Dennis kept the dogs tethered without access to adequate shelter, water and food for more than 30 minutes. The Tufts scale takes into consideration a dog’s size, whether it is longhaired or shorthaired and its body fat.

A trial on the sheltering of the dogs is set for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.

Dog and owner plucked from Schenectady park pond

By Paul Nelson, Times Union

City firefighters rescued a pit bull and its 17-year-old owner from an icy pond inside Vale Cemetary over the weekend, according to Deputy Fire Chief Mark Fragomeni.
Shortly before noon Sunday, the teen was walking his dog, that was not on a leash, when the animal darted onto the ice after ducks.
The teen chased after the dog that ended up in icy water and got to the edge of the ice when it started to crack. He stayed put as about a dozen firefighters and rescue crews were summoned to the cemetery.
Two firefighters, in dry suits, which protects one against hypothermia, strapped to a harness and crawling next to a ladder, made it out about 100 feet to the trapped youngster. He was outfitted with a life preserver and harness and was able to crawl to safety.
The frightened dog that had started to swim away turned around, and firefighters snatched him.
"It worked like clockwork," said Fragomeni, of the ice rescue which lasted about 15 minutes. He said the teen and dog were doing well and urged people to be careful on waterways that may appear to be frozen.

Don't dump dogs by the roadside

By Deborah Cornely, from The York Daily Record

To the person who abandoned his dog on my lonely country road: I first saw your dog the weekend before Thanksgiving. He was sitting by the side of a little red barn in a curvy stretch of my road. I slowed to take a look at him. He was brindle colored, had a big mastiff-like head and the muscular build of a pit bull.
Being new to the area, I didn't think too much about the dog. I figured he belonged to a neighbor. He was gone later that day when I passed the red barn, but on my way back, there he was in the same place. I stopped the car, rolled down my window and called to him. He seemed afraid and skittered off to a nearby cornfield.
The next day I spotted your dog walking from the road down the driveway toward my house. When he saw me, he stopped, wagged his tail and gave a little bark. Still believing he was a neighbor's dog, I raised my arms and shooed him away and he ran back toward the road and disappeared.
The next day he was there again by the side of the road near the red barn. It dawned on me that he had been abandoned and was loyally returning to the red barn to wait for his owner to come back and take him home.
I called two dog rescue organizations, the SPCA, our local Animal Control center and a couple of kennels. Since the dog had not been "contained," neither the rescue organizations nor the kennels were interested in retrieving your dog.
You think you did your dog a favor by dumping him on a country road instead of finding a home for him or taking him to a shelter. Think again. What you did was cruel.

Who should be punished more when a dog bites: The dog or owner?

From Sun Sentinel

Two once-doomed dogs with exotic-dancer names have consumed South Florida's attention lately. To some, Brandie the husky and Gigi the Lab mix have come to symbolize the need for well-reasoned dog-bite laws that both protect the community and guard against government overreach.

Now, after agreeing to spare the pets from the euthanization needle, Broward County commissioners want to repeal or change the one-strike dog-bite law that once sent Brandie and Gigi to the doggie version of death row.

But lost amid all the dramatics, pleas for governor pardons and community fascination is the reality that Brandie and Gigi do not exemplify Broward's or South Florida's serious dangerous dog problem. Both of these pets were being walked on leashes when they encountered smaller dogs and killed them — a stark contrast to the majority of cases where dogs escaped from their confines and mauled other people's helpless and unsuspecting pets to death.

In the Brandie and Gigi cases, there is some question as to which dog provoked which, exposing some inherent weaknesses in such rigid, one-strike-and-you're-dead rules that doom dogs after a single fatal bite to another animal. So Broward is right to go back to the drawing board and rework the restrictions.

But it must take care not to bend too far backwards in appeasing dog owners, remembering that most of the 56 dogs put down since the 2008 dangerous dog law passed were true community menaces.

Broward would do well to take its cue from Palm Beach County, which has had a much more reasoned and effective law in place since July 2009. A dog there is declared dangerous if it aggressively bites, attacks or injures a human; if it severely injures or kills another pet while off its property; and/or if it's been trained to fight. Dangerous dogs must be spayed or neutered, registered as dangerous, confined in enclosures and muzzled when not enclosed, among other requirements. A dog is deemed vicious, and euthanized, if it's been declared dangerous and later bites an animal or human, or if it has severely injured or killed a human. Pet owners can face criminal charges if a dangerous dog later attacks.

Some pet owners have been up in arms over the fees inherent in the law, but the onus must be put on owners to take more accountability for their pets when they pose a danger. What good does it do if the dog pays the only price?

BOTTOM LINE: Dogs, and their owners, must pay a fair price for posing a danger. 


Family's dog killed by pit bulls

By Sarah Schulz, from Lexington Clipper-Herald

Mike Galvan has witnessed what no dog owner should ever have to see " his beloved pet being eaten by another dog.

Galvan set out Wednesday morning with his 12-year-old grandson and his adult granddaughter to feed his white German shepherd, Maude, and her offspring, which was kept in a separate kennel nearby. Normally, Maude would come to the front of her kennel to greet her owner, but on Wednesday she wasn't there.

Galvan noticed blood near her dish, which he thought was strange, so he walked around the enclosed L-shaped kennel to see if she was in her doghouse.

What he saw next horrified him.

Two pit bulls were in the kennel, and one of them was standing over Maude's mutilated body, eating her remains. That dog hunched down over Maude's body and growled. The other dog was in Maude's doghouse, Galvan said.

"I was down all day yesterday," he said of losing his pet.

He called 911 and summoned animal control officers from the Central Nebraska Humane Society. The pit bulls were still in Maude's kennel when the officers arrived. They were taken to the Humane Society.

Galvan lives at 575 E. Capital Ave., but the kennels are at 552 E. Capital Ave., where Galvan used to live. The home now belongs to one of his sons.

Galvan is baffled by how the pit bulls got into the covered kennel in the first place.

Humane Society Facility Director Steve White said the animal control officers investigated the scene and were also unable to determine how the pit bulls came to be in Maude's kennel.

Galvan said the officers looked at the pit bulls but didn't find any marks on them, indicating that Maude was likely unable to fight back.

"I don't think Maude had a chance," he said.

He explained that she often played with other family members' dogs and may have thought the pit bulls were there to play.

White said the officers brought the two male pit bulls to the Humane Society Wednesday morning. They will be kept for 72 hours as employees attempt to identify the owner or owners, he said. If no one claims the animals, they will be euthanized because they have killed and are deemed dangerous.

If an owner is located, he or she can surrender the dogs or request to keep them. If that request is made, the matter will come before the Animal Advisory Board for review, White said.

The pit bulls are each approximately a year old. One is white and tan, and the other is white and red. Neither animal had tags or implanted identification chips, he said.

He said neither dog has shown any aggression toward Humane Society staff since being captured.

Galvan said he received Maude as a birthday gift from his son about five years ago. He described her as a gentle, friendly dog.

He's unsure when the attack occurred. His son, Mark Galvan, who lives nearby and parks beside the kennels, said he left for work between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and didn't see the pit bulls. However, it was dark, so he may have missed them.

Mike Galvan said he went out to feed Maude and give her water around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.

After the pit bulls were removed, Galvan couldn't bring himself to clear out the kennel. Two of the men who work for his construction company took on the task, and Maude was buried.

"I couldn't look at her," Galvan said. "I hope I never go through this again."

Update December 30, 2010 6:08pm - The following article is by Sarah Schulz, The Grand Island Independent:

Killer pit bulls surrendered, will be euthanized

Two pit bulls that killed and partially consumed another dog will be euthanized by the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

The owner of the male pit bulls surrendered the animals Wednesday afternoon, said Laurie Dethloff, Humane Society executive director.

"Our goal here is to make a safe community," Dethloff said. "The sanctuaries and rescues are full. That was not an option."

The pit bulls' owner was identified last week and she lives near where a white German shepherd was killed and partially eaten in an enclosed kennel at 552 E. Capital Ave.

The German shepherd was owned by Mike Galvan of 575 E. Capital Ave.

The incident was discovered by Galvan on the morning of Dec. 22.

Dethloff declined to release the name of the owner of the pit bulls because the woman isn't being charged with a crime.

Humane Society employees and animal control officers spent time educating the owner on the procedures that would be involved if she had chosen to keep the pit bulls. Due to the nature of the attack, they would have been declared dangerous and she would have had to meet certain criteria to keep the dogs, Dethloff said.

Both pit bulls were males who hadn't been neutered and Dethloff said 97 percent of bites are attributed to animals that haven't been neutered or spayed.

When dogs run together, there is also the potential for a pack mentality, especially when there are health or food issues, she said.

Dethloff said the woman told the Humane Society the pit bulls were kept in her home and she didn't know how they had gotten out. She won't be cited for having a dog running at large because neither the Humane Society nor animal control can prove the animals had been running loose. They were in Galvan's enclosed kennel when they were taken into the Humane Society's custody, she said.

No one has been able to explain or determine how the pit bulls got into the German shepherd's kennel, she said.

"The whole situation has been real difficult to resolve," Dethloff said. "It's really just an unfortunate situation."

In the new year, she said, the Humane Society will be moving forward with requests to the Animal Advisory Board to modify the guidelines for responsible pet ownership. For example, there is a precedent in the state for not allowing animals to be kept chained in a yard. Lincoln and Omaha have ordinances that don't allow chains due to public safety and stress on the animal, she said.

"I think that would have a positive effect on Grand Island and on the animals," Dethloff said.

Related articles:
2 G.I. dogs to be euthanized - Omaha World-Herald

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nobody injured in Wilson Borough fire

By Collin McEvoy, The Express-Times

Wilson Borough firefighters trudged through the snow today to fight a fire at 2338 Forest Street, which appears to have started due to a wood-stove blaze that grew out of control, according to dispatch reports.

Residents were evacuated after the fire broke out at the duplex around 3:15 p.m. Emergency dispatchers said nobody was injured.

Officials from the Wilson Borough Fire Department were not immediately available for comment.

The basement became "fully involved" due to the wood-stove fire, according to dispatch reports. It then spread to the street-level, where flames were visible on the ceiling through the windows and doors.

Heavy smoke poured through a side window, and the heat was so intense it left scorch marks on the outside wall of the neighboring house about 10 feet away.

A pit bull was also safely removed from the home. The dog attempted to turn around and run back into the house, but it was stopped by police and fire fighters.

Brother Shoots Brother on Christmas


At 9:47 PM, Kingsville Police officers responded to a shooting at 601 East Mesquite in Kingsville. Upon arrival, officers found Richard Cisneros (47) with a single gunshot wound to his chest. Witnesses identified the shooter as Carlos Cisneros (49), brother of the victim. Carlos Cisneros was arrested minutes later at his residence in the 600 block of East Avenue A. He surrendered without incident. Kingsville EMS responded and transported Richard Cisneros to the Kingsville hospital, before he was transported by Halo-Flight to Christus Spohn Hospital-Memorial Medical Center in Corpus Christi. He is in critical but stable condition. Carlos Cisneros is in the Kleberg County Jail, where he was booked for Aggravated Assault.
During the arrest, an aggressive pit bull approached officers and the dog was shot and killed (by an officer). The case is still under investigation and no more details are being released at this time.

Related articles:
Man Shoots Brother On Christmas Day - KZTV

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Donations help homeless Texas dog get knee surgery

By Sarah Carney, from KENS

This is the time of year when it seems everyone is asking for help, but dozens of good Samaritans are not only helping one of Austin's neediest residents, but her owner as well.
It was love at first sight for Bobby Brown and his dog, Poopsie. Brown has been living on the streets off and on since he was 14 and this is one companion who has stood by him, no matter what.

“She was in a bad situation, fighting with another pit bull, never letting it be, so I went and met her and fell in love, and that was three years ago and we’ve been together ever since,” Brown said.

Four months ago Brown noticed that Poopsie was limping, so he asked his friend, Laura Cowart, for help.

“I’m basically a self-proclaimed homeless advocate,” Cowart said. “Bobby and I have become really good friends and I tell him, he’s the big brother I’ve never had. I mean, we’ve become very close and that’s why I worked so hard with Bobby and Animal Trustees to get the surgery for Poopsie.”

Members of the community were able to raise the money needed for the surgery.

“I’ve been telling Bobby all along that it’s going to work. I don’t know how, but it’s going to work, and it all came together so it was really special, a special call to find out she was going to get the surgery,” Cowart said. “I was in tears because when I woke up that morning, Bobby didn’t have a place to stay. We didn’t know if Poopsie was going to have the surgery and they called and said Poopsie was going to get the surgery.”

“The Animal Trustees has had a program to work with the homeless peoples animals for about eight years and we’re very proud of that program,” Missy McCullough, Executive Director of the Animal Trustees of Austin, said. “What happened with this dog is we have an emergency care fund which is really low this time of year, so we kind of put out a plea to some of our donors to help with this.”

For now, Brown and Poopsie are staying in a donated duplex. With help from his church and Animal Trustees of Austin, he said they are on a path to a better life.

“Oh it’s all the world. It’s the best Christmas gift yet, ever,” Brown said. “It’s just been a blessing.”


Two-alarm fire strikes Dorchester duplex

By Travis Andersen, Boston Globe

A two-alarm fire whipped through a duplex in Dorchester late Friday night, Boston fire officials said.
No injuries were reported, but Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald estimated damages at about $400,000.
MacDonald said firefighters responded to 9-11 Everett Ave. at about 10:40 p.m. He said preliminary reports indicate that 11 Everett Ave. is vacant, but the right side of the duplex, which is 9 Everett Ave., appeared to be a complete loss.
It was not immediately clear Friday night who is living at 9 Everett Ave., MacDonald said. The first floor of 9 Everett Ave. appears to be occupied, but MacDonald said he is unsure about the second and third floors.
District 7 Fire Chief Erik Pettaway said the fire started on the second floor of 9 Everett and spread up to the third floor. He said noone was in the building at the time of the fire except for a pit bull on the first floor. The dog ran out on its own.
MacDonald said the cause of the fire, which was knocked down some time after 11 p.m., is under investigation.
Neighbor Kelley Jay said he saw heavy smoke when he looked out his window at about 10:30 p.m. Jay said firefighters had to use a saw to gain entry to 11 Everett Ave. because the front door was boarded up.
He said 11 Everett Ave. had been vacant since the late spring or early summer. He added that he had thought he had seen people coming and going from 11 Everett Ave. recently.
Another neighbor, Liz Jean-Michel, said she believes a man who cannot walk lives in the building, as well as young girls and a dog. She said that she did not see anyone being taken out by firefighters.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dog is best friend for a cat in trouble

By Bob Gardinier, Times Union

Pit bull out for a walk in Troy helps find feline inside box in trash pile

Phoebe the pit bull was just sniffing around on her regular morning walk when a meow coming from a pile of trash in an alley got her attention.
''I heard this little meow and walked over to the pile, but Phoebe got right in and then had her nose through a hole in a cardboard box,'' said the dog's caretaker, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Melissa. ''I looked through a little hole made when the kitten apparently tried to escape and saw him inside. I could not believe it.''
Melissa called police and Troy animal control took the small gray cat to the Troy Veterinary Hospital for treatment, said Capt. John Cooney, Troy police spokesman.
Cooney said the box was taped up so the cat could not escape and was put in the trash in the alley between 109th and 110th streets and Third and Fourth avenues for disposal.
''The kitten will most likely have a full recovery from exposure and related ill effects and will be held at the facility pending the results of the investigation,'' Cooney said, adding the kitten ''has been officially named Jack in the Box,'' Cooney said.
Melissa said it took awhile for her to realize someone was apparently trying to kill and dispose of the kitten.
''It was a sickening feeling,'' Melissa said. ''I was disgusted and shocked all at once. I'm glad we found him.''
Troy police detectives are conducting a criminal investigation and Cooney said they are hoping to gather information from the public.
Anyone with information on the case may call police at 270-4430.
The veterinary hospital is seeking a home for the cat. For more information call 279-4668.

Update December 31, 2010 8:41am - The following article is by Kenneth C. Crowe II, Times Union:

Man arrested in cat cruelty case

Kitten found taped in box by woman, dog taking a walk in Troy last week

An Albany man sprinted up Sixth Avenue to avoid waiting camera crews after he was charged Thursday with three counts of animal cruelty for allegedly putting a kitten in a sealed box in the trash.
Michael T. Walsh, 48, of 10 Woodbridge Drive, walked out of city police headquarters, saw the cameras and took off with videographers in pursuit.
He ran up the block, turned onto Broadway and disappeared from sight.
Walsh was arrested and received an appearance ticket for the three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty following a police investigation.
He is scheduled to appear for arraignment in City Court Monday morning.
Walsh's arrest followed a police investigation into how a gray kitten, now nicknamed "Jack in the Box," ended up in the trash in an alley between 109th and 110th streets and Third and Fourth avenues in the Lansingburgh neighborhood on Dec. 23.
A woman walking a pit bull discovered the kitten, whose meowing could be heard coming from the trash.
The kitten apparently had attempted to escape from the taped-up box but failed.
The kitten was taken to Troy Veterinary Hospital and treated for exposure and related ill effects, according to police.
"Jack in the Box is in perfect health, is scheduled for neutering by the Troy Vet Hospital and has been found a home, with adoption scheduled for next week," said Capt. John Cooney, a department spokesman.

Related articles:
Phoebe The Pit Bull Saves Kitten's Life - The SOP

DART police save another dog from Interstate 35 HOV lane in Dallas

By Wendy Hundley, The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Area Rapid Transit police rescued a dog found wandering this morning in the HOV lane on Interstate 35 and 8th Street in Dallas. It's the second dog to be saved from an I-35 HOV lane in the past four weeks. 
"It took several officers to corral the dog," said Scott Walton, interim division manager at the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center, where the dog was taken for evaluation.
The male pit bull mix is probably 3 or 4 years old, Walton said. He said the dog appeared to be unharmed physically from the ordeal that ended around 9 a.m., but was acting frightened at the shelter.
"It's hard to tell his temperament now. He may be scared from his ordeal," Walton said.
The dog was wearing a blue T-shirt with a Superman emblem, but had no tags or other identifying information. He will be held for three days before being evaluated for adoption.
Walton said the dog appeared to have been cared for and may have escaped from his owner's yard.
"The traffic was light this morning," he said. "The dog could have wandered across the interstate."
This is the second dog rescued recently from an HOV lane.
Last month, Dart, a black Lab mix, was seen by morning commuters trotting in the HOV lane on I-35E near the Houston Street Viaduct exit.
Dart, named for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police who also rescued her, was recently adopted. 

Related articles:
Pit bull found wandering in HOV lane on I-35 - The Houston Chronicle

7-Year-Old Recovers From Pit Bull Attack


Boy Received 100 Stitches In Face, Underwent 2 Surgeries

The scars on 7-year-old Terrel's face are nothing compared to the ones that can't be seen.
One month ago, he was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull while he was playing with friends. His friends were able to get away from the dog by jumping on top of parked cars. Terrel couldn't.
"He slammed me down," Terrel said. "He went for my arm first and then went for my face."
Terrel had to get more than 100 stitches in his face and undergo two surgeries.Animal Control workers took the dog, tested it for diseases and then released it back to the family.
"This is a vicious attack," said Shayla Hamilton, Terrel's son. "I felt like justice isn't being served. I feel like this dog should have been put to sleep. This dog is still out here wandering the streets.
Animal Control workers were off Friday for the holiday and were unable to comment on this story to confirm details on the case.
By law, a dangerous dog is one that bites, endangers or otherwise aggressively attacks a human. An Animal Control spokesman did say that a dangerous dog would be released if the owner made sure to follow certain guidelines.
The dog's owners said the dog accidentally got loose when it attacked Terrel. They said they were cited, and the dog has since been returned to them.
There is a regulation pen in the backyard that holds two other dogs, but neighbors said the one that bit Terrel stays tied up in the front yard."
They real big dogs and dangerous to kids that roam about the neighborhood," one neighbor said.
Hamilton said she wants something more to be done, fearing that something similar or worse could happen to another child."
The doctors told me if that dog had got a hold of his throat, my son would not be here today, and this would not be a Merry Christmas for me," Hamilton said.

Michael Vick wants a dog for Christmas

Dangerous Dogs Act: the law

By Laura Roberts, The Telegraph

The Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced following concerns about the number of attacks of people

Under the 1991 law, it is illegal for any breed of dog to be out of control in a public place, but the Act does not cover the private property of the dogs' owners. As a result, police have been powerless to prosecute owners for some of the most horrific attacks by dogs in recent years.
Under the dangerous dogs laws police have to stop the breeding and sale of pit bull terriers and three other breeds and crossbreeds. However, animal organisation such as the Kennel Club argue that it is unfair to target certain breeds when behaviour is determined largely by owners and outside factors.
In August this year it was proposed that dog owners could face criminal charges if their animals bite anyone in their own home.
The changes - proposed by groups including the RSPCA, The Kennel Club, the Dogs Trust, the Police Federation and several unions - could also include "dog asbos" that would give wardens the right to order the owners of aggressive dogs to keep them under tighter control.
In 2008-09, there were 4,810 dog attacks on Royal Mail staff alone, with thousands more on police officers, council staff and other workers. More than 5,200 people were admitted to hospital as a result of dog bites in the same year, a quarter of whom were children.
Thousands more were treated as outpatients.
The proposed legal changes are largely a response to the growing problem of so-called weapon dogs - animals that are deliberately bred and trained to be aggressive because they are seen as a status symbol by irresponsible owners.
Keith Davies, a postman, almost lost an arm when he was attacked by two rottweilers in December 2008, but criminal charges brought against the owner had to be dropped because the attack took place on a private road.
In March this year, Taylor Leadbeater, aged two, came close to having her jaw ripped off by her family's French bull mastiff in Eltham, south east London. The dog had previously bitten another family member but no one was charged over the attack on Taylor because it happened at home.
Some attacks are fatal.
Adults attacked include James Rehill, 78, who was "dragged like a doll" through the street in a fatal attack by his dog in 2008.
Other cases include that of John Paul Massey, a fouryear-old who died at his grandmother's house in Liverpool last year after suffering "massive injuries" inflicted by a dog found to be a type of pit bull, a breed banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
In February last year, three-month-old Jaden Mack was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell at his grandmother's home in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.
The same month the government looked at proposals to introduce a comeptency test for dog owners. The proposals were outlined in a leaked document prepared by officials at the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra), titled Consultation On Dangerous Dogs.
However, it was feared the cost would impact on legitimate dog-owners while those the test was trying to target would simply ignore it.
The number of convictions for being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog rose from 547 in 2004 to 703 in 2007, according to the latest figures.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fall River woman faces assault count

By Richard C. Dujardin, The Providence Journal

A 25-year-old Fall River woman whom the police say broke into the home of her former boyfriend and attacked him and his new girlfriend was arrested in Johnston on charges of breaking and entering and assault and disorderly conduct Sunday.
Before taking Chelsea Ann Sherman, of 655 June St., Fall River, to the police station, the police brought her to Fatima Hospital for a bite from her ex-boyfriend’s pit bull. The police say she was bitten during her scuffle with former boyfriend Mark Costa, 37, of 1250 Plainfield St., and his new girlfriend.
The police said Sherman showed up at Costa’s household around 12:45 in the morning, kicked down the door, and struck him twice on the side of the face.
She was arraigned before Bail Commissioner John McCaffrey and released on $10,000 personal recognizance, pending a hearing on Feb. 18.

Woman Killed By Dog In South London

From Key 103

A woman in her 40s has died after being savaged by a dog at a property in south London.
The victim suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, in Wallington, near Sutton.
Scotland Yard said the dog - a Belgian mastiff - was shot dead by police firearms officers.
There was at least one other person at the property at the time of the attack, but no-one else was injured.
A puppy has also been removed from the property in Demesne Road.
Police and paramedics were first called out at 8.57pm on Thursday, following reports of an animal attack.
A post-mortem examination was being arranged and next of kin had yet to be informed. Detectives from Sutton Borough are investigating.
Belgian mastiffs - which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg - are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino; and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs are said to be "calm and obedient" on website
The death in Wallington is the latest in a series of serious dog attacks on humans.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being savaged by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
In February 2009, three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 24, 2010 10:56am - The following article is from Daily Mail:

Police hunt for owner of dog that savaged to death woman, 50, in her home: Officers use riot shields to fight off huge mastiff before shooting it

Officers fire at least four shots to kill Belgian mastiff
Detectives were today hunting for the owner of a dog who savaged a woman to death in a horrendous attack in her home.
Alex Blackburn-Smith, 34, was named by police as the person they wanted to speak to in connection with the death of Barbara Williams.
The 50-year-old  was so badly mauled by the huge Belgian mastiff that she was pronounced dead at the scene, in Wallington, South London last night.
After arriving at the scene, police were forced to fight the crazed animal off with riot shields before shooting it four times.
Neighbours of Ms Williams claimed her death was an accident waiting to happen.
Next-door-neighbour neighbour Burhan Yanbolu said he and his wife fell out with the family 18 months ago because of the killer dog.
Mr Yanbolu had previously called the police and council to complain about the animal after it smashed their adjoining fence.

'It was going to happen, it was always going to happen,' said Mr Yanbolu, a father of twin six-year-old girls.
'I once saw a young boy in the house playing with the mastiff and it was getting too rough so I told the woman who got killed and she said they were just playing.'
He added: 'We didn't have anything to do with them because of the dog. It was a big strong dog.
We started having problems with them in autumn of 2009.

'There were two dogs and the big one would lean against the fence and could see over it on its hind legs.

'We had concerns it would get over and could get in our garden.'
Armed police were called to the house at 9pm, where they were met by gruesome bloody scenes.
The dog was shot dead by officers and a puppy was removed from the house.
Paramedics battled in vain to save Ms Williams, who suffered multiple injuries.
Sutton borough Commander Guy Ferguson said his officers wanted to speak to Blackburn-Smith in connection with the attack.
He said a puppy was removed from the house in the aftermath of the incident but its breed is not yet known.
Mr Ferguson described the dog as 'distinctly large' and said at the time of the attack another woman of similar age to Ms Williams was in the house with a child under five
'It was a very ferocious dog,' he said.
'The officers had to use shields to contain the dog.'
He said officers would be investigating previous complaints about the dog and what, if anything, was done.
On Mr Blackburn-Smith, he said: 'My information is he lives at that address and has a 1976 date of birth and we are making inquiries to speak to him.'
Though neighbours said the victim and Mr Blackburn-Smith were having a relationship, the police contradicted that.
'As I understand it, there isn't a relationship,' said Mr Ferguson.
'I believe she is a lodger at the premises which are controlled by him.'
Harshal Kshatri, 25, who owns a Western Union shop around the corner from the victim's semi-detached home, said: 'We saw her only yesterday. She came in and bought some stuff.
'She would send money home to Jamaica, top up her Oyster card, buy groceries and play the Lottery, just general stuff. She was very friendly; very jovial and very nice.'
It is thought Ms Williams lived in the property with an older female relative, the woman's son and grandson.
Mr Kshatri added: 'They were all going to be at home for Christmas. I think she bought Christmas cards from us yesterday. You don't expect this. I thought the dog was quite friendly. It was never aggressive from what I remember.
'I don't think she ever used to walk it but a guy at the house did. He would tie it outside to a bench when he came in.'
Mr Kshatri's mother, Falguni Kshatri, 47, said: 'Barbara was a regular customer, she shopped at ours for more than five years. She was a very nice person, always smiling and talking. I never saw her miserable. She was a very good lady.
'I never saw the dog but heard it from around the corner, it had a very heavy voice.'
One neighbour who asked not to be named told Sky News the family kept the pet in the garden and that it rarely barked.
Another  neighbours paid tribute to a 'very friendly, jovial, very nice woman'.
A Met Police spokesman said that paramedics arrived to find the Ms Williams 'suffering from multiple dog attack injuries.'
A London Ambulance spokesman said: 'We were called at 8.55pm to Demesne Road, Wallington, to an incident.
'We sent an ambulance crew, a single responder in a car and an air ambulance doctor in a car.
'Sadly the victim, a woman in her 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene by the air ambulance doctor.'

A post mortem examination was expected to take place later today and a inquest will be opened and adjourned in due course.
Sutton Council confirmed it had received a complaint about dogs damaging a neighbour's fence last year.

'The council and the police's Safer Neighbourhood Team were contacted in connection with another smaller dog and damage to a fence at this address in August 2009,' said councillor Colin Hall, responsible for dog control.
'At that point there were no legal grounds for the council to intervene on the basis of our statutory powers.
'There were no subsequent complaints.'
Belgian mastiffs were originally bred to pull carts and can weigh up to 110lb.
Despite growing to a height of 32 inches, they are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned - pit bull terriers, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero.
There have been numerous recent cases of savage dog attacks.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being attacked by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
And in February last year three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, south Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 24, 2010 11:15am - The following article is by Damien Pearse and Jo Couzens, Sky News Online:

Dog Maul Death: Man, 34, Arrested 

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a woman was killed by a dog in south London.
The man is being questioned at a South London police station after attending voluntarily, police said.
Barbara Williams, in her 40s, suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, in Demesne Road, Wallington, near Sutton.
Scotland Yard said the dog - believed to be a Belgian mastiff - was shot dead by police firearms officers.
Police wanted to trace Alex Blackburn Smith, believed to be Ms Williams' partner and the animal's owner.
Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson said: "We are in the process of contacting the lady's next-of-kin."
At least one other person is thought to have been at the property at the time of the attack but no one else was injured.
A puppy has also been removed from the property.
Police and paramedics were first called out at 8.57pm on Thursday, following reports of an animal attack.
A post-mortem examination is being arranged and detectives from Sutton Borough are investigating.
Belgian mastiffs - which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg - are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino; and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs are said to be "calm and obedient" on website
Ms Williams death is the latest in a series of serious dog attacks.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being savaged by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a cross-breed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
In February 2009, three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales.
The dogs - a Staffordshire bull terrier and a Jack Russell - were destroyed.

Update December 25, 2010 10:29am - The following article is by Heidi Blake, The Telegraph:

Man arrested over dog attack on woman is released on bail

A man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a dog mauled a woman to death in south London has been released on bail. 
Alex Blackburn-Smith, 34, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of Barbara Williams, who suffered "multiple injuries" during the attack on Thursday night, near Sutton in London.
Mr Blackburn-Smith, who is believed to be the owner of the dog, is understood to have turned himself into a south London police station on Friday.
Ms Williams, in her 40s, was mauled in a property in Wallington by the dog, thought to be a Belgian mastiff. Another woman and a child of five were also in the house at the time of the attack.
Police called to the scene described the animal as "distinctly large" and described how they had to fend it off with riot shields before marksmen arrived to shoot it dead. One puppy was removed from the property.
Paramedics and officers arrived at the property - owned by Mr Blackburn-Smith - where Ms Williams is thought to have been a lodger, to find her ''suffering from multiple dog attack injuries''.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said tonight: "A 34-year-old man has this evening attended a south London police station and has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and suspicion of cultivating cannabis."
Neighbours of the victim said they had warned the authorities about the animal after it broke down a fence connecting their properties.
Burhan Yanbolu who lives in the adjacent house on Demesne Road said he and his wife fell out with their neighbours 18 months ago because of the killer dog.
Mr Yanbolu, a minicab driver, had previously called the police and council to complain about the animal after it smashed their adjoining fence.
"It was going to happen, it was always going to happen," said Mr Yanbolu, a father of twin six-year-old girls.
"I once saw the young boy in the house playing with the mastiff and it was getting too rough so I told the woman who got killed and she said they were just playing."
He added: "We didn't have anything to do with them because of the dog. It was a big strong dog. "
Sutton Council called for tougher dog laws after claiming that it was powerless to act despite being warned about the animal.
A visit by local officials resulted in no action being taken against the Belgian mastiff until today, after it had fatally savaged Ms Williams.
Under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, it is illegal for any breed of dog to be out of control in a public place, but the Act does not cover the private property of the dogs' owners.
As a result, police have been powerless to prosecute owners for some of the most horrific attacks by dogs in recent years.
"The council and the police's Safer Neighbourhood Team were contacted in connection with another smaller dog and damage to a fence at this address in August 2009," said councillor Colin Hall, executive member for environment and climate change.
"At that point there were no legal grounds for the council to intervene on the basis of our statutory powers.
"There were no subsequent complaints."
He added: "Our whole community is shocked and deeply saddened by this appalling incident and our thoughts go out to the victim's family and friends.
"In my opinion, there needs to be stricter control of dog ownership and greater powers of intervention to prevent situations like this happening in the future."
Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson described the dog as "distinctly large" and said at the time of the attack another woman of similar age to Ms Williams was in the house with a child under five.
"It was a very ferocious dog," he said. "The officers had to use shields to contain the dog."
Belgian mastiffs – which can grow to a height of 32 inches (78cm) and weigh as much as 50kg – are not classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned: pit bull terrier; Japanese tosa; dogo Argentino and fila Braziliero.
Belgian mastiffs were originally used to pull carts where they originated and are said to be "calm and obedient" on website
This is the latest serious dog attack on a human.
A four-year-old girl was scarred for life in October after being attacked by a Japanese akita dog in Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
In April, 18-month-old Zumer Ahmed died after she was mauled by a crossbreed animal at the family home in Crawley, West Sussex.
And in February last year three-and-a-half-month-old Jadin Joseph Mech was mauled to death by two family dogs at the home of his grandmother, in Ystrad Mynach, south Wales.

Related articles:
Woman Mauled To Death By Dog In London - Sky News
Man arrested for manslaughter after woman killed in dog attack - The Telegraph

Abused animals rescued in Century

By Hal Scheurich, WALA

Seven dogs, including three pit bull puppies are in the Escambia County Animal Shelter after being rescued from their home in Century, Florida Wednesday. Animal Control officials took the pit bulls and one beagle after finding them terribly malnourished.
They have been following the case since September, when they first got complaints of possible abuse. At that time, Diane Lowery with Panhandle Equine Rescue was called in when they discovered several horses in similar condition on the property. Four of those horses were also taken away. She says the owner was given a fair chance to do what was right.
"In the beginning, they did," Lowery said. "They pulled the horses out. They cleaned the stalls. They put shavings in. They built turn-outs for the horses, but as we went back to do our follow-ups, things just deteriorated once again."
Lowery says things got so bad, four of the horses were very malnourished. They were forced to stand in their own manure and one of them was locked in a barn 24-7. The animals were left without food and none was found on the property.
The animal's owner, Willie Lee Jones was out feeding the two horses and one dog still on the property Thursday. He says the horse locked in the barn was in there because of an injured foot and he's not happy with the way the situation was handled. He says he doesn't think the horses were in poor shape and he plans to do everything he can to get them back.
The dogs are under a legal hold at the animal shelter until the sheriff's office finishes its investigation. The horses are being cared for at the department's horse stables. Lowery says she hopes this action sends a strong message.
"The message needs to be that this won't be tolerated...not in Escambia County," Lowery said. "There's several violations of Florida Statute that need to be addressed and we really don't want to see him get these animals back, to where they'll go back into the same environment."
The horses are at the sheriff's stables because Panhandle Equine Rescue currently has no room for them because of other horses in need of adoption. No charges have been filed, but the investigation is on-going.
To report cruelty, call 850-587-2754.


Police: Man had gun, woman's underwear after break-in

By Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian

A man had a handgun, a bag full of women’s underwear and four pit bulls in his vehicle when he was pulled over after breaking into a female former co-worker’s home near Tumwater, court papers state.

The woman’s husband told sheriff’s deputies that Royce Lynn Baxter used to work with his wife at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in South Bend. He said he and his and wife were friends with Baxter about 10 years ago, court papers state.
The husband said “Royce was infatuated with her,” papers state.
Baxter, 59, of Long Beach, was charged Monday in Thurston County Superior Court with first-degree burglary and stalking. His arraignment is set for Jan. 4. He was being held Thursday at the Thurston County Jail with bail set at $50,000.
Baxter was arrested Dec. 15, after the woman’s husband interrupted Baxter’s burglary in his home on Fairview Road Southwest, court papers state.
According to court papers:
The husband told police he was awakened by sounds in his living room, and he found an intruder “wiping down the threshold of the door.” They fought, and the husband said he tried to grab a white bag belonging to the suspect, but the suspect snatched it out of his hands and called him by his name.
After the suspect tried to leave through the front door, the two wrestled on the lawn. The suspect said “he had a weapon in his pocket and that he did not want to hurt him,” and the husband recognized him as Baxter.
The husband told deputies he and his wife “did not keep in contact with Royce or let him know their new address.” He said that about seven years ago, “Royce showed up at their house unannounced and (they) subsequently learned that he had been in their house and stole an item.” The couple obtained an anti-harassment order; it since has expired.
A deputy pulled Baxter’s GMC Yukon over at 66th Avenue and Black Lake Belmore Road. Baxter said he had a handgun in the glove compartment. A white bag consistent with the husband’s description contained “multiple pairs of women’s underwear.” It also contained notes indicating that Baxter had been watching the victims’ house.
A deputy also found a camera. After obtaining a search warrant, he found photos of both the outside and the inside of the victims’ residence on the camera. Baxter had also “photographed women’s underwear and personal items” belonging to the victims.
Baxter also had a copy of a key to the residence.
In a pretrial services interview, Baxter told court officials he is retired and lives in Long Beach, which is about 20 miles northwest of Astoria, Ore. He has no prior criminal record.

Related articles:
Turnwater suspect caught with bag of underwear - Seattle Times
Turnwater suspect had underwear, pit bulls - The News Tribune
Royce Lynn Baxter, Alleged Turnwater Underwear ThiefCaught With Panties and Pitbulls - Seattle Weekly 

Middle Township family's pit bull stolen

By Elaine Rose, The Press of Atlantic City

All Anthony Connor wants for Christmas is to have his puppy back.
The 6-month-old purebred American pit bull was stolen from a locked pen at his home on Cedar Avenue in the Burleigh section of Middle Township, police said. The lock was apparently taken off the kennel and could not be found.
Anthony's mother, Sylvia Connor, said Thursday that her 19-year-old son saved his money and bought the puppy this summer from a Cumberland County breeder for $600. The puppy, named Blue and registered with the American Kennel Club, was Anthony's beloved pet.
"He plays with it all the time," Sylvia Connor said. "He walks the dog when he gets out of school. He just loves that dog."
But when Anthony went outside to feed Blue before heading to school Tuesday morning, he found the pen empty, Sylvia Connor said. The family called police.
Her son is heartsick that Blue is missing, and is hoping against hope that the puppy will be found, Connor said.
"He's saying ‘I hope somebody brings my dog back.' He came home from school today and asked if anybody called about the dog," Connor said Thursday.
Blue is very friendly, and that probably made him easy to steal, Connor said.
"I just can't imagine someody doing something like that to him," she said.
Anyone who sees Blue or has information about the theft is asked to call Middle Township police at 609-465-8700.

New London pit bull ban upheld

From Hannibal Courier-Post

The New London City Council has upheld a pit bull ban.
The Ralls County Herald-Enterprise reported the issue surfaced after police found an American bulldog at a rental residence.
The owner said she was assured by the landlord that she could keep the dog.
Police Chief Brad Sanders said the do “acted in a very aggressive manner,” according to the newspaper.
The council agreed the dog met city ordinance guidelines banning pit bulls.
The newspaper reported that Mayor Marvin Miller said the “can’t allow (the dog) in town.”

Deputy shoots pit bull in north Knox County


A Knox County Sheriff's deputy shot a pit bull that charged at him Thursday morning, a sheriff's spokesperson said.
The incident happened around 8:00 a.m. Thursday in the 6600 block of O'Leary Road, off Brown Gap Road.
KCSO spokesperson Ashley Haynes said a resident complained that her dog had been attacked by a pit pull.
When a sheriff's officer arrived, the pit bull charged at the officer, Haynes said.
The officer shot the dog, and the dog ran off.
Haynes said the pit bull then returned.  The owner took it to an animal hospital on Magnolia, escorted by an animal control officer.
The dog that was originally attacked was also transported to a vet.
Haynes said the pit bull's owner has been cited.

Pit bull kills Yorkshire terrier in Spring Valley

By Tim Fleischer, WABC

A pit bull attack in Rockland County killed a Yorkshire terrier and injured the dead dog's owner. "When he grabbed the dog with his mouth, I actually heard the bones break," said Karen Bongard, the dog attack victim.
In that frightful moment, Whisper, a little five pound Yorkshire terrier was killed.
The dog was snatched from Karen Bongard's arms which were bitten.
Both she and Whisper were no match for the powerful jaws of an attacking pit bull.
"He wanted the dog, but as I was trying to, you know, swat him away, then he bit me," Bongard said.
The pit bull, Taz, is at least 75 pounds.
Taz attacked without provocation, Karen says, coming out of nowhere as she took Whisper for his last walk of the night along Bethune Boulevard in Spring Valley.
"When he knocked me to the ground, that's when he grabbed my dog. He was just able to grab my dog," Bongard said.
Even neighbors tried to help.
They threw sticks and stones at the dog, trying to chase it away.
They said the situation was crazy.
"Did she even have a chance to save her dog?" Eyewitness News asked.
"No. The whole hood, the neighborhood, tried to help and beat the dog. The dog was just too beasty, too beasty, too beasty man," said one neighborhood resident.
No one was home, where Taz's owner lives.
The house has a "beware of dog" sign posted at the front door.
Taz is now under bite quarantine at the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona.
That's where he will stay for the next 10 days while Spring Valley's Animal Control officer investigates the incident, and determines if the owner will be charged.
In the meantime, Karen and her family miss their fluffy little 5-year-old Whisper, who despite his small size was a big part of their family.