Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local residents save father, son attacked by stray pit bull in İzmir

From Today's Zaman

A father and son were attacked by a stray pit bull in İzmir’s Buca district on Tuesday but were saved by people who witnessed the incident.
Emenullah Şakar was walking with his wife and 7-year-old son Hebin in the evening when the attack occurred. They were taken to a nearby hospital with the help of locals while municipal officials took the dog away.
Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu had earlier said that pit bulls would be rounded up. “They attack people. Criminal gangs and mafia use them to threaten people. We support the survival of these breeds in healthy environments and we respect animal rights, which is why we have animal shelters in many provinces,” he said.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s interior, environment and forestry, and agriculture and rural affairs ministries sent official letters to the relevant authorities, including veterinarians and governors’ offices across the nation, informing them of a ban on the sale of “dangerous” dogs, including pit bulls, and instructing them to round up any they find and fine the owners.
The breeds specified as “dangerous” include the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiros and dogs that are a mixture of these breeds. The letters to round up the dogs were issued upon an order from Parliament’s Petition Committee, which received requests for action to be taken against “dangerous” dogs from several people who had reported being attacked by those breeds.
The Interior Ministry sent letters to governors’ offices on June 7 instructing them to collect dogs that are banned from being bred and owned, to fine their owners and to ban the sale of these animals online. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has sent letters to governors’ offices, too, ordering them to fine the owners of these animals TL 3,434.

Bridgeton police probing early morning robbery in which puppy was stolen

By Sean C. McCullen, NJ.com

Police are investigating an Orchard Street couple’s claim that they were robbed at gunpoint when they arrived home at about 2 a.m. this morning.

The 24-year-old male victim told police he was standing in front of his 500-block home, waiting for his girlfriend to come from their vehicle with the house key, when three black males wielding handguns emerged from the side yard, Bridgeton Police Capt. Burl Kimble said.

He told police he ran. One of the three suspects chased after him throughout the neighborhood, but never caught up to him.

The 23-year-old female victim told police the remaining two armed robbers pulled her from the vehicle, forced her inside the home, and, while pointing guns at her, demanded money and threatened to kill her, Kimble said.

She reported that the armed robbers fled with a black pit bull puppy, her purse and her cell phone after she told them she did not know where any money was located.

One of the two suspects who dragged the woman into her home is described as black, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, with long hair pulled into a bushy ponytail.

The second suspect was described as 5 feet 9 inches or 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 to 220 pounds. He was wearing a white T-shirt and black pants.

Both suspects were wearing ski masks over the bottom of their faces.

The suspect who chased after the male victim was only described as black. He was wearing all black clothing.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Det. Kristopher Steffler at (856) 451-0033 ext. 2103.

Two Young Boys Fend Off Pit Bull Attack

By Rick Reitzel, NBC 4i

Two boys playing outside were attacked by a Pit Bull mix and now that dog's owners are facing state charges.
TJ Rapp, 10, said he and his brother were looking for grasshoppers to feed to their fish when they were attacked in a neighborhood alley.
"After he got my brother, I was punching him real hard and he got on my arm and jumped and scratched a chunk off my nose," Rapp said.
Rapp wrapped his hoodie around his arm to fend off the dog's teeth and claws.
"I wanted to hurt the dog and make sure it doesn't get to my brother," he said.
His 4-year-old brother, Matthew, was able to get away. Then TJ had to back down the alley with the dog attacking his arm.
"He was jumping under the bush and I was walking away real slow punching him," he said.
The dog had clawed it's way under a wooden fence behind a home on Midland Avenue in Columbus.
For now, Franklin County Animal Care Control has the dog and according to Spokesperson Susan Smith, they have filed three state charges against the owners. But, Chief of Staff for the City of Columbus Prosecutor's Office Bill Hedrick said, "The victims can come into the Prosecutor's Office and file city charges too."
"What's really good about the Columbus statute is (that) as a prosecutor, I don't have to prove specifically what breed of dog it is. I just have to prove it is a dog," Hedrick said.
Tuesday evening after the attack, one of the owners defended the pit bull mix named Ghost.
"The kids love him to death. He is very, very playful and he plays with the 14 cats we have inside. So he's never hurt anybody since we've had him for over a year," said owner Ronda Reed.
The victims said the dog didn't stop even after they made it back to their home.
"The dog was trying to get my Grandma so my Dad came out and scared it away," TJ said.
TJ had three stitches in his nose and Matthew had stitches in his head and eye.
The dog's owners face charges of:
  • Failure to license the dog
  • Failure to have Pit Bull insurance
  • Failure to control a dog
Animal Control has Ghost quarantined for ten days.

Mom charged in dog attack on baby

By Sarah Burge, The Press-Enterprise

A 22-year-old mother, whose infant son's genitals were mutilated in a dog attack in Murrieta, was charged Tuesday with felony child endangerment, court records show.
Carrie Rae McKinney, a resident of San Diego County, left her 6-month-old son unattended in a baby carrier at her friend's Murrieta apartment April 3, Murrieta police said at the time.
As of this morning, McKinney had not been arrested, jail records show.
Her phone has been disconnected and she could not be immediately reached for comment.
McKinney told police at the time of the attack that she was at her friend's home on Arboretum Way getting dressed to go out when she heard her baby screaming. She rushed into the room to find the child had been attacked by one or both of her friend's dogs -- a 5-year-old female pit bull and an 8-month-old pit bull mix -- police said. The baby's diaper was torn off and he had been bitten in the groin, severing his testicles.
The baby, as well as his two older siblings, were removed from McKinney's care by child protective services.
The dogs were seized and later euthanized, animal control officials said.

Dogs Found Buried in Trash in Rochester



From WHAM

Animal cruelty investigators say they want to talk to a Rochester woman regarding two emaciated dogs found in the trash.

On Sunday, investigators responded to a 911 call regarding a dog found in a dumpster at 314 Bay Street.

Investigators found a 6-month-old female pit bull terrier in a dumpster who was severely emaciated and in distress.  Later that day, they responded to another call about a dog in the garbage at 61 Sander Street. A 1-year-old male pit bull terrier, also severely emaciated, was found buried in trash with the lid on the can closed.

The dogs were taken to Lollypop Farm for emergency treatment. They are in critical but stable condition.

Investigators say Yvette Solomon is believed to be the owner of both dogs. They say her whereabouts are unknown. Investigators say she faces potential aggravated animal cruelty and abandonment charges.

They are asking anyone with information to call (585) 223-6500 or 9-1-1.

Update July 1, 2010 2:32pm - The following article is from WHEC:

Two emaciated dogs found in the trash -- owner led away in handcuffs

Thirty-one-year-old Yvette Solomon turned herself into Rochester Police Wednesday night. The Rochester woman was wanted for questioning after two emaciated pit bull terriers were found in the garbage by her home.
Today, Solomon told investigators she is the owner of the two dogs but did not put them in the garbage. Solomon also said she was too stressed to care for the dogs and she apparently made no provisions for anyone else to care for the animals.
News 10NBC was there to get exclusive video of her being handcuffed at Lollypop Farm and taken down to the county jail.
The woman told Humane Society investigators that she left the dogs in the house on May 26, the same day her brother was stabbed in the house. She said became fearful for her safety as well as her children and that she didn't move back into the house until June 26.
The dogs apparently were left to fend for themselves for a month but who put them in the dumpsters?
VP Operations at Lollypop Farm Richard Gerbasi said, “She claims that she did not personally do that. That's where we have concerns there may be some juveniles involved in that.”
The Humane Society's Richard Gerbasi said the woman would have been aware the dogs were emaciated and should have at least sought medical treatment for them. Only one of the dogs was able to be taken for a walk today.
Gerbasi said, “If she was unable to care for them, she should have surrendered either to us. Or animal control actually would have come down and picked up the dogs. She could have done that even during that month period.”
Investigators have no motive yet for why anyone would have tried to throw the dogs away. They plan to interview the juveniles.
We asked if the dogs' barking might have alerted neighbors. Gerbasi said, “Unfortunately, especially in some of the inner city areas, there's a lot of dogs tied outside, a lot of dogs making a lot of noise. So that probably would not have alerted them. In the past couple weeks, they probably would be too weak to have made much commotion.”
Gerbasi says to him, this does not change the lack of compassion for life, whether it be human or animal. “One of my concerns is that anyone who would do this to an animal would have no second thoughts of harming a human being also.”
The Humane Society says the Solomon woman acknowledged that the two dogs did belong to her. But right now, she's only charged with two counts of failure to provide sustenance. That's a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
She's scheduled to be arraigned in city court Friday morning.

Update July 1, 2010 3:28pm - The following article is by Democrat & Chronicle, from Roc Now:

Yvette Solomon jailed over dogs dumped in trash

A Rochester woman has been taken to the Monroe County Jail in connection with two dogs that were found in garbage bins Sunday.
Yvette C. Solomon, 31, who most recently lived at 61 Sander St., is believed to be the owner of both dogs, investigators with the Humane Society of Greater Rochester said today. She may be arraigned tomorrow, said Humane Society spokeswoman Adrienne McHargue.
Cruelty investigators responded to a 911 call Sunday and found a severely emaciated 6-month-old female pit bull terrier in a Dumpster beside 314 Bay St., Rochester, McHargue said. Later that day, investigators responded to a second call regarding a dog in a garbage tote at 61 Sander St. which is just around the corner from where the first dog was found. A 1-year-old male pit bull terrier, also severely emaciated, was found buried in a trash bin, with the lid to the bin closed.
Both dogs were taken to Lollypop Farm in Perinton for emergency treatment, said Richard Gerbasi, vice president of operations for the Humane Society. Both dogs are in critical but stable condition at the shelter. Gerbasi said both dogs “are doing remarkably well” and are expected to make a full recovery.
Gerbasi said at least one witness previously saw Solomon with the dogs — and even offered to care for the dogs for her. She refused unless the witness would purchase the dogs from her, Gerbasi said. Solomon’s discarded utility bills were in the garbage with the dogs, he said.
Solomon, who moved out of the now-vacant house, faces potential charges of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and abandonment, a misdemeanor, McHargue said.
The cruelty offense carries a penalty of up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. The abandonment charge can lead to a possible sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Update July 2, 2010 10:55am - The following article is by Democrat and Chronicle, Roc Now:

Yvette Solomon accused of failing to feed 2 dogs later found in garbage

A Rochester woman pleaded not guilty today to two charges of cruelty to animals after two emaciated dogs were found in garbage containers.
Yvette Solomon, 30, of Rochester is accused of failing to provide sustenance for the two young pit bull terriers.
Solomon, who is believed to be the owner of both dogs, was jailed yesterday but has been released.
Her next court appearance is at 9:30 a.m. July 22. July 22nd at 9:30 a.m.
Cruelty investigators with the Humane Society of Greater Rochester responded to a 911 call Sunday and found a severely emaciated 6-month-old female pit bull terrier in a Dumpster beside 314 Bay St., spokeswoman Adrienne McHargue said. Later that day, investigators responded to a second call regarding a dog in a garbage tote at 61 Sander St., which is just around the corner from where the first dog was found. A 1-year-old male pit bull terrier, also severely emaciated, was found buried in a trash bin, with the lid to the bin closed. Solomon had moved out of the house at 61 Sander St.
Both dogs were taken to Lollypop Farm in Perinton for treatment, said Richard Gerbasi, vice president of operations for the Humane Society.
Solomon’s discarded utility bills were in the garbage with the dogs, he said.

Update July 8, 2010 3:50pm - The following article is from WHAM:
 
Dogs in Animal Torture Case Recovering

Remember the two pit bull terriers that were found in trash bins a few days ago?

The female is in foster care and the male will be, by the end of the week.

The vet at Lollypop Farm who cared for them said they’ve put on weight and are active.

Dr. Andy Newark said, "They still have a ways to go as far as putting on muscle mass and getting back to a good healthy weight where we'll feel confident that anyone who adopts them won't have to do much work with them except the normal."

Yvette Solomon has been charged with two counts of torturing and injuring an animal.

They should be in foster care for about a month before they can be adopted.

5-year-old girl recovering after being attacked by a dog

From WEAU

A 5-year-old girl is recovering after a Rottweiler/Pit Bull mix dog repeatedly attacked her.
The Marshfield Police Department says it happened around 10 on Tuesday night. Officers responded to the 500 block of W 5th Street in Marshfield. When they got there, they say a 5-year-old girl was near the side of the road with numerous wounds to her arms and legs. Officers say the dog was clearly agitated, and it began attacking the girl again. The department says one of the officers jumped on top of the dog in attempt to get the girl free. A second officer arrived on scene moments later and was trying to stop the dog by use of his sidearm, but couldn’t do so because of how close the girl and other officer were. Officers say moments later, the dog was pulled free from the girl, but it broke free from the grip of the officer and attacked her once again in the yard.
Officers then used a taser on the dog, which caused it to pause but not let go. A third officer then arrived on scene and was able to shoot the dog with one .40 caliber round while in the front yard area of the home. Officers say the dog briefly let go of the girl, but then continued to attack her. A second shot was then fired by the same officer, killing the dog.
The department says the girl had numerous injuries. She was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency. She was stabilized and admitted. Two others were injured due to dog bites. The 33-year-old father of the girl and the 21-year-old female caretaker of the dog were also hurt. Both parties were treated and released.

Sick pit bull puppies found abandoned in Yonkers trash bin

By Patrick Gallagher, Lo Hud

Two ailing pit bull puppies are being treated at the Yonkers Animal Shelter after being rescued from a trash bin at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, where they had been dumped.
The puppies were found by mall security at midday Tuesday in a bin outside the Sears department store, according to the SPCA, and were retrieved by staff from the shelter.
The puppies, estimated to be between one and two months old, were taken to the Yonkers city veterinarian, where they were treated for dehydration and Parvovirus, a digestive tract disease that targets young, unvaccinated dogs.
The SPCA of Westchester was notified of the incident, and has started a criminal investigation into the matter.
SPCA Police Chief Ken Ross said that such cases of abandoned pit bull puppies are often indicative of underground dog-fighting rings, which are difficult to detect.
He said people breeding dogs to fight, looking to minimize costs, avoid taking them to veterinarians when illnesses such as Parvovirus develop.
"If it comes out that the dog is sick, nine times out of 10 they'll do what happened yesterday, just dump them in the garbage and move on," Ross said.
Ross said about a year and a half ago the SPCA was finding pit bull puppes with parvo in Greenburgh in the area of Central Avenue, but those cases had stopped a short time later.
The Yonkers case "tells us that its still out there, its still going on, that the people who do this really have little regard for life, and that the situation is still ongoing — breeding and probably breeding to fight," Ross said. "The culture still exists."

Update June 30, 2010 1:41pm - The following article is by Stephanie Barish, WPIX:
 
Puppies Rescued After Getting Dumped in Yonkers Trash Bin

Two sick pit bull puppies were rescued from a trash bin located inside a Yonkers shopping center where they had apparently been dumped, according to SPCA officials.

The puppies were found by mall security around noon Tuesday inside a bin outside the Sears department Store located inside the Cross County Shopping Center.

The male and female puppies -- estimated to be between one and two months old -- were taken by SPCA officials to the Yonkers city veterinarian. The animals were treated for dehydration and Parvovirus, a digestive tract disease that generally targets young, unvaccinated dogs.

The SPCA of Westchester has launched a probe into the incident.

Those responsible for abandoning the animals can face up to a one year prison term and be fined $1,000, officials said.

The SPCA of Westchester's Humane Law Enforcement Department asks anyone with any information relating to this incident, or any other act of animal cruelty, to contact it's 24 hour Cruelty Hotline at (914) 941-7797. All calls will remain confidential.

City Seeking To Limit Pit Bulls

From WCVB

The city of Lynn has proposed new laws regarding the ownership of pit bulls that attempt to limit the number of pit bulls per household and require in-depth registration procedures, complete with a fee.
The proposal, which refers to pit bulls as dangerous and aggressive animals, requires owners to register their pet and pay a $50 fee.
The registration process will require owners to list a description of the dog and provide a health background, The Daily Item of Lynn reported.
The proposal also calls for a separate form for landlords to give permission for the animal to reside at an address and specifies that no more than two pit bulls reside at any one address.
Owners of pit bulls in Lynn would also be required to make sure their pets are safely secured by a leash or muzzle when taken out in the city's public places.
Pit bull owners who do not abide by regulations if the law passes will be subjected to penalties, which could involve the animal being impounded.
The proposal, pitched by Council President Timothy Phelan and Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi, was a result of two pit bull attacks on Memorial Day weekend, one attack involving a 6-month-old infant.
A City Council hearing on the proposal will be held July 13 and will be open to the public.

Former Richmond deputy convicted of dogfighting charges

By Bill McKelway, Richmond Times-Dispatch

A former Richmond sheriff's deputy was sentenced to 14 months in jail today on dogfighting and animal-cruelty charges.

A Henrico County prosecutor argued that the cruelty David W. Robinson, 38, displayed toward 22 pit bulls he kept undercut any notion that he had simply become overwhelmed by his ability to care for the animals.

Robinson was found guilty of four felony dogfighting charges, though there was no evidence he had engaged in actual fighting. Authorities, however, found dogfighting equipment on his property and animals with teeth that had been filed. He was also convicted of eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and three related misdemeanors.

Circuit Judge Burnett Miller III said that he would consider allowing Robinson to finish serving his sentence through home incarceration after four months in jail.

Robinson, who worked at the Richmond Jail, lost his job after he was arrested in April 2009.

He had faced a maximum of 28 years on the charges.

* Robinson was convicted on FOUR  FELONY counts, EIGHT misdemeanors, and faced up to 28 YEARS in prison. He got 14 MONTHS and the consideration of home detention after serving four of them.
Yes, Virginia, we ARE serious about animal cruelty.

Pit Bull Attacks a 74-Year-Old Woman Causing Serious Injuries

By Plamena Pesheva, Yorktown Patch

Judge Salvatore A. Lagonia held a special proceeding in court today to determine what to do with a pit bull that bit a 74-year-old woman causing severe injuries.
"Dog cases of this nature are not common in this court," he said.
He said this is public safety issue, and he needs to determine what's best for the public.
On Thursday, June 24, at 7:12 p.m. police received a call that a pit bull had bitten a woman on Williams Drive in Shrub Oak who was visiting the residency of Mary Ellen Lynch-Gonzalez, whose family has been through a lot of stress in the past two weeks. On June 10, their daughter Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez committed suicide by jumping off the Tappan Zee Bridge.
"It was her dog," the girl's mother Mary Ellen said through tears.
Animal control officer James Waterhouse, who responded to the call, testified in court that the victim, Vincenza (Vinny) Pecorino, who lives across the street from the Lynch-Gonzalez family, went to visit them. As she and Mary Ellen were talking out on the steps, the dog came running through the door biting the woman's face, ear, and most of her body.
After police conducted interviews and gathered all facts and met with the victim's son John Pecorino, he filled out an application pleading the dog as "dangerous." A seizure was ordered and the 8-year-old, chocolate brown, 71-pound pit bull named "Smokey" was taken into an animal shelter, SPCA of Westchester County in Briarcliff Manor, where he is held in isolation until further notice.
"It was a terrible brutal attack," John Pecorino said. "I saw my mother trenched in blood."
He described her injuries as her ear being half bitten off, her skin falling off one side of her face, skin on her elbow ripped off to the bone, deep marks on her head, bitten foot, and wound marks on her arms. Pecorino was rushed to the hospital where she stayed for three days and had 200 stitches on her face, he said.
His mother, who called him the day of the accident asking for his help, was not in court today because she was at the plastic surgeon, John Pecorino said.
"My mother has been reliving the incident over and over again," he said of his mother's psychological state of mind.
Mary Ellen Lynch-Gonzalez said the dog has never hurt anybody.
"I'm terribly sorry about what happened," she said.
The dog could sense their emotional stress and was trying to protect the family and the house, Marry Ellen said, when he attacked the woman. Just like the family, the dog has been through a lot during the past two weeks, she said.
She said she has known Vincenza Pecorino for 22 years who was like a second grandmother to her children.
When the woman came to visit the family that day, Mary Ellen told her to go back to her house where she would meet her. Mary Ellen knew of Vincenza's fear of the dog and has assured her in the past there would be nothing to worry about.
But Vinny "insisted" she stayed, Mary Ellen said. So she put the dog in the bathroom and thinking she had secured the door, she left the front door open. Then, the dog came out running and attacked the woman.
"She beat him with a broom," said Mary Ellen, suggesting that might have aggravated the dog even more.
Pit bulls have a reputation of being aggressive dogs, but Mary Ellen said their dog was never trained to be aggressive, and often interacted with children, adults, and other dogs. She brought into court 13 letters of people in support of not destroying the dog.
Judge Lagonia said based on the facts he thinks the dog is dangerous, but he will issue a formal opinion on what will happen to the dog, by the end of the week. Meanwhile the dog, Smokey, remains in the animal shelter.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Police Report: Pit bull bites Elgin postal worker

From The Courier-News

Dog bites postal worker: A dog bit a postal worker as she delivered mail in the 400 block of Morgan Street Tuesday, police said. The dog's owner, Terry A. Contreras-Vonahnen, 49, told police her male pit bull mix, Rosco, charged through her locked screen door after the mail was delivered. She called the dog, which didn't respond until after biting the woman on the right forearm. Contreras-Vonahnen allowed police to take her dog to be euthanized, reports stated. The dog also had bitten a friend of her daughter earlier this month. Contreras-Vonahnen was issued multiple citations for both biting instances, and was given a notice to appear at Elgin Branch Court July 13. The postal worker was treated at Provena Saint Joseph Hospital and released.

Time to leash pit bulls - and their owners

By Peter Gelzinis, Boston Herald

Why do people want pit bulls? For the same reason they want machine guns.
Pit bulls have teeth that can shred beer cans, not to mention the cartilage and bone of enemy drug dealers.
But a city ordinance on the books for six years, designed to muzzle these lethal four-legged weapons - and fine their owners for noncompliance - has so far proved toothless.
The guy who wrote those pit bull sanctions, Hyde Park’s district councilor Rob Consalvo, plans to toughen them up.
But much like the beasts themselves, their owners are a particularly obstinate bunch. Failing to bind the jaws of their muscle-bound pooches, or display a “Beware of Dog” sign, doesn’t bother them much.
So far, these pit bullies have walked away from $140,000 in fines levied upon them and the thuggish dogs that invest them with such an ominous swagger.
To put some teeth into pit bull collections, Consalvo wants to attach liens to their owners’ property tax (assuming they own anything more valuable than the dog) or on their auto excise tax.
“Because,” as Consalvo put it yesterday, “just about everybody drives a car, right?”
Yesterday’s hearing to send a home-rule petition up to the State House consisted of five people: Consalvo; his Dorchester colleague, Councilor Maureen Feeney; Mark Giannangelo, assistant director of Boston Animal Control; his boss, Steve Crosby, deputy manager for property and construction . . . and me, the owner of a fierce Lhasa apso recently to laid to rest.
Among the more interesting factoids to emerge from yesterday’s brief seance was that a quarter of 2,100 registered pit bull owners in this city have been fined.
Maureen Feeney, who recently bid adieu to her golden retriever, asked Crosby and Giannangelo, about how they thought pit bulls were “utilized” by their owners.
“You just seem to see so many individuals strutting the street, pit bulls in tow, with an air of intimidation,” she said.
Later, Crosby and Giannangelo would tell Feeney the “intimidation” she described came from owners who used their pit bulls as weapons on a leash.
For Consalvo, pit bulls have become a lightning rod issue. “The hearings we held six years ago on the law went on for eight hours, longer than the firefighters contract,” he said. “Every Christmas, I get a pit bull calendar in the mail by an anonymous owner who signs it, ‘Happy Holidays, you jerk.’ ”
Just like their dogs, these creatures mean no harm . . . honest.

Slayton man charged in marijuana grow

By Justine Wettschreck, Washington Daily Globe

A Slayton man currently on probation for controlled substance possession is now facing charges regarding a marijuana grow operation allegedly discovered by his landlord.
Nathan Patrick Janssen, 27, has been on probation on and off since his 2001 conviction of third-degree driving while impaired when he was still a minor. Since then, Janssen has been charged with several crimes including leaving the scene of an accident, receiving stolen property, theft, drug possession and assault. The latest charges, filed Monday in Murray County District Court, include the possession of fifth-degree controlled substances, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
The complaint states a search warrant was executed by the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force June 14 after the man who owned Janssen’s rental property stopped to look for him. The man later told authorities Janssen had not been paying his rent, and when the landlord went inside to look for him, marijuana was discovered growing in a fish aquarium.
Before entering the residence, the agent in charge contacted Janssen’s mother to have a pit bull secured. They then entered and executed the search, finding items associated with the manufacture of marijuana.
In one bedroom, agents allegedly found a wooden grow cabinet with five lights and numerous cups and pots, which contained green stems. In another bedroom, 10 plants with the plants cut off were found, along with other manufacture items.
During the course of the search, authorities allegedly located 80 to 90 root balls with freshly cut green stems. One room contained a sock, which allegedly held two straws, a light bulb and a zip bag, all of which tested positive for methamphetamine. In the living room, agents allegedly found green plant material and magazines and paperwork on growing marijuana.
The complaint and a warrant were issued Monday — the same day Janssen was arrested.
His 2007 marijuana possession conviction resulted in a 90 day sentence and five years of probation, which violated in 2009 according to court documents.

* This story illustrates that police do NOT need to invade a home in the middle of the night, shooting a family's dog in the process, to rid their town, or city, of an ounce of marijuana.
Are you paying attention Columbia, Missouri?
Kudos to the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force, which accomplished their objective without unnecessary actions.

Pitbull pounces on man's back in Flint, bites his left arm

By Laura Misjak, The Flint Journal

A Flint man was treated at McLaren Regional Medical Center after a pitbull jumped on his back and bit his left arm, according to police reports.

The man told police he was walking along the 3000 block of Whitney Avenue, near South Ballenger Highway, at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday when the dog jumped on his back.

Police contacted the owner of the dog, who said she found it about one month ago and has been searching for an owner with no success.

She was ordered to confine the dog for 10 days, according to police reports.

She told police she plans to take the dog to Genesee County Animal Control.

Woman pleads no contest to misdemeanor count of cruelty

By Matthew Umstead, The Herald-Mail

A woman accused of allowing 24 dogs, two ferrets, 15 guinea pigs, about two dozen rabbits, a pot-bellied pig, a cockatoo and a cat to live in feces-littered conditions pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty on Tuesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court. Doreen J. Krekelberg, 52, of 152 Carlyle Road in Martinsburg, was fined $300 by Magistrate W. Randy Smith and ordered to pay $1,467.63 in restitution to Berkeley County Animal Control and court costs, according to court records.
Krekelberg, who was arraigned in September 2009 on five misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, is permitted to have two dogs, but otherwise is restricted from having animals, according to court records.
On Sept. 2, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department humane officers found two pit bulls loose in an addition of Krekelberg’s home, along with a rat that was 5 to 6 inches long “roaming the room,” according to a complaint that was filed in magistrate court.
There were puddles of urine and a large bag of feces on the floor and no food for the dogs, according to court records.
Other things observed were:
• The guinea pigs were found with two dead guinea pigs in a cage outside the home and the carcasses were in various stages of decay, according to court records.
• Four dogs found near the guinea pigs were in a kennel not sufficient for outdoor use and authorities found fur and multiple piles of feces in a second kennel where a beagle was found with a “patched” skin condition, according to court records.
• A white husky mix dog had its hip and backbone visible and the ferrets were found in the living room and appeared soiled and malnourished, according to court records.
• The cat had visible eye injuries and defects and was found loose on the property, according to court records.
• Four rabbits were found soiled and underweight and had matted fur, dead hair, sores and long nails, according to court records.
While the animals’ physical condition varied, authorities said most were found underweight and having some type of skin condition, unkempt coats, long nails and fecal contamination of both the skin and fur, according to court records.
Some insects were observed on the animals, according to court records.

Local dog laws slammed after five sheep killed by pit-bull crosses at Marshall

By Joel Cresswell, Geelong Advertiser

NEIGHBOURS were forced to shoot dead a bloodthirsty dog after several pit-bull crosses attacked and killed five sheep in Marshall.
The carnage highlighted failings in dog-control laws, said the neighbour who stopped the attack.
Dick Wylie said the "pig-dogs" were in a "killing frenzy" after escaping from a nearby yard and would have savaged anything they came across.
"It's lucky kids weren't playing along the road ... people are always riding bikes along there families go for walks" he said. The three pit-bull crosses escaped their Minki Court home and attacked the sheep in a paddock on Horseshoe Bend Rd.
Mr Wylie said he and fellow neighbours shot one dog and followed the two other animals home where they confronted the owner.
Those two dogs are being held by City of Greater Geelong while the council investigates the attack.
Animal-control officers must inspect the yards of dangerous dogs once a year.
But Mr Wylie said he had seen many yards were not properly secured in his 20 years making and delivering kennels.
He believes council officers need to inspect the yards more regularly.
"Some of these dogs are bred and trained for this (attacking animals)," he said
"We have our guns checked and they have to be locked up and secured ... (dangerous dog) inspection should be just as tough." Amendments to the Dangerous Dog Bill being debated in State Parliament would empower council officers to fast-track the destruction of dangerous dogs.
The Magistrates' Court could also order an owner to attend a responsible dog ownership course under the changes.
But Dogs Victoria president Peter Frost said the changes would count for little with understaffed councils unable to fully enforce them.
"Councils are undermanned ... there's a lot of legislation that's good in theory but it's the practical part that falls down," he said.
City Hall has seven animal-control officers in the region and just six dangerous dogs have been put down with the approval of their owners this year.
City's acting Health and Local Laws manager Adrian Holbrook said there were 65 dangerous dog incidents this year with most against other domestic animals.
"A significant number of these incidents were in relatively minor categories, including incidents involving rushing and menacing," he said.

Pit ball 'used as weapon' to attack love rival in Whetstone, Barnet police claim

By Kevin Bradford, Times Series

POLICE are hunting the owner of a dangerous dog that was “used as a weapon” and allegedly savaged a man's groin during an attack in Whetstone on Friday night.
The 23-year-old victim was left with with bite wounds to the inside of his leg and had to be taken for treatment at Barnet General Hospital following the incident in Greenside Close, at about 11pm.
Officers said the man was attacked when visiting his girlfriend. Two men, one of whom police said had been in a previous relationship with the woman, knocked at her door, and when she answered, they forced their way into her house.
The boyfriend was beaten and when he tried to escape he was chased in the street. When he was caught, a pink nosed pit ball terrier was set on him and it was then that he received the injuries to his groin, police said.
The victim also sustained a dislocated shoulder as a result of the beating.
Barnet police said they are “urgently seeking” the two men believed to have been connected to the assault and the pit bull.
Detective Constable Davies, from Barnet CID, said: “Police are very concerned that a person has apparently used a pit bull as a weapon.
“We would urge any member of the public with information to contact us. We will treat all information in complete confidence.”
Police said the man who allegedly urged the dog to attack the victim has been using the name “Carlos”.
He is described as black, stocky to fat build, in his mid twenties, 5ft 9” tall with his hair platted in cane rows.
The second man is also black, in his mid twenties, about 5ft 8” tall and of slim build.
Anyone with information should contact DC Davies at Barnet CID on 020 8733 or call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting reference 2415242/10.

* I, at first, thought "Pit Ball" was a typo but it is used in the text as well, along with "Pit Bull". I've requested information regarding the terminology and am awaiting a reply. 

* Okay, "Pit Ball" was a typo and the article online has now been fixed.

Selectmen put conditions on ‘pit bull-like’ dog

By Bradford L. Miner, News Telegram

Selectmen have agreed with dog officer Laura Pease that a male “pit bull-like” dog owned by Cody and Janice L. Handrahan, 27 Kendall Lane, was dangerous and approved 10 conditions the owners must meet to keep the dog.

The owners did not attend last night’s hearing at the Henry Woods Building. After hearing testimony about the dog attacking members of a James Street family in May while they were walking their dog, selectmen ordered the Handrahan dog impounded immediately.

Scott H. Ennis of 73 James St. described how the family had been walking along Kendall Lane, heading for South Street, with the family dog on a leash.

“All of sudden, this dog bounded through a screen door and came after our dog,” he said, explaining that he fended off the attack.

Mr. Ennis said he understood the dog officer’s recommendations, which included the dog be muzzled when outside the home; kept within a locked, chain-link enclosure on the property; neutered before Aug. 2; implanted with a microchip for identification purposes; walked by a competent adult; and the dog officer be notified immediately if the dog should ever become loose again. But he said the measures were insufficient given the threat the dog represented.

“The owners of this dog are irresponsible and I want to know who’s going to be responsible if this dog gets loose and attacks a small child or an adult for that matter,” he said.

The dog officer told selectmen the dog owners had not been completely cooperative and that she would attempt to pick up the dog as soon as possible in the company of a police officer.

Selectmen voted to give the owners until July 16 to satisfy the dog officer’s requirements for return of the dog. They expect a report by their next meeting, July 19.

Ms. Pease said if the owners did not comply and the dog was abandoned, it would likely be euthanized as she doubted it could be successfully placed with another owner.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Alligator kills 100 pound Pit Bull

By Juan Carlos Fanjul, CBS 12

Delanos Brown walked along the canal near his trailer park home looking for any sign of his beloved 1-year-old dog King. Around 7:30pm Monday, the 100 pound Pit Bull mix was drinking water along the canal when a 13-foot-long  Alligator lunged at him, took him by the head, and pulled him under.
"The gator just grabbed him and took him into a drainage pipe where he's been hiding ever since with my dog's body," he said.
Residents who live in the trailer park located at the intersection of Hatcher Road and 17th Street in Belle Glade have complained about nuisance gators before, but this is the first time a pet had been attacked.

An FWC officer responded to the scene, but a trapper isn't expected to respond until Tuesday morning.
Brown says some sort of a fence needs to be erected along the canal to keep gators at bay.

70-year-old woman, dog mauled by pit bull

By Christina Mora, NBC 2

A Lehigh Acres woman and her pet dog were attacked right outside their home while starting a walk on Haskell Street. The woman who says it was a neighbor's pit bull who bit her face and arms, then dragged her down the street.
Seven-year old Prince is a fighter. The 10-pound miniature pincher is recovering from an attack by a pit bull nearly 10 times his size.
And his 70-year-old owner is doing the same.
"I got him into my arms and I'm trying to protect him and I'm trying to back up and then he started biting on me so he went to the bone on this arm and went pretty far on this arm," said victim Sonja Mattick.
She says she was taking her two dogs - Prince and Princess - for a walk, when the neighbor's pit bull ran across the street and attacked.
According to police reports, Mattick was bit multiple times and knocked down to the ground.
"There was blood everywhere. I mean, I was covered in it," she said.
A neighbor took Mattick to the hospital, but not before she took care of little Prince.
"They wanted to call 9-1-1 and I said no because an ambulance wouldn't take Prince," she said.
The pit bull's owner didn't come to the door when we tried knocking Monday night. And officials with Lee County Animal Services say they haven't been able to find the owner or the dog in question.
Now as an investigation ensues, Mattick and Prince are hoping to make a full recovery.
"I want the dog gone. Once it bites a human, I don't think it's a good dog anymore," she said.

Woman Afraid to Leave Home Because of Dogs Roaming Neighborhood

From First Coast News

Alma Starling feels like a prisoner in her own home. "I can't stay outside. It's a tough situation," said Starling.
Life just hasn't been the same in her neighborhood along 14th Street East.
"I've lived in this house for 50 years and now I feel like I'm being run out," said Starling.
Starling said she and her dog Gizmo have been terrorized by several stray dogs in recent weeks.
"Keeping me up at night and day barking," said Starling.
Saturday, Starling called police when she saw one of the dogs, which police reports indicate is a pit bull terrier, attack and kill another dog right across the street from her home.
"He wouldn't release him until he was dead," said Starling.
Two days after the attack, that dead dog remained in the same spot. That's because police reports show Animal Control could not respond when they were called by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
"The difficulty we're facing is that we're the biggest city in the U.S. and we have a limited number of officers to cover that area," said Scott Trebatoski, Animal Care and Protective Services Chief.
Trebatoski said because of the budget, there's only one officer on duty on the weekends. That officer can only respond to a prioritized number of calls on weekends, and only to emergencies after 5:00 p.m.
"A dog-on-dog attack is not seen as an emergency, especially if it's a dog at large," said Trebatoski.
A person would have to be bitten or in danger of being bitten to respond immediately. During normal business hours, officers can usually respond within 48 hours.
So in the meantime, Starling is afraid she'll have to stick it out until the dog is captured.
"He can make us prisoners in our home," said Starling.
Trebatoski said animal control officers have been out to Starling's neighborhood a few times to capture the stray dogs but they've been too fast to catch. 
They'll most likely need to place a trap on someone's property to catch them. Trebatoski said they need permission from property owners to set those traps and so far the ones they've asked have said "no."

Two DeLand women attacked by pit bulls

By Kelly Joyce, WOFL

Two young women were mauled by pit bulls after a day of moving into a new home in DeLand. Britanee Crabtree and Jade Dupler had more than one hundred stitches each to their faces, necks, arms, hands and legs after two pit bulls attacked them by their own front door.
Crabtree tells FOX 35 News reporter Kelly Joyce they were dropping off some of their stuff to their new home on 3rd Avenue in DeLand when two pitbulls pinned them in the corner and started bitting. The women screamed, and neighbors came running out. The dogs eventually backed away.
Crabtree is convinced these have done this before.
"I do think they were trained to do this," she says. "If they catch the pit bulls, I'll feel more comfortable, but they're still running around there. I don't feel comfortable walking to the door."
As of Monday afternoon Animal Control was still looking for the dogs and their owners.  They say they have some leads.

Update June 28, 2010 11:18pm - The following article is by Patricio G. Balona, The Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Pit bulls attack women near DeLand

Two women suffered bites when two pit bulls attacked them at the entrance of their home near DeLand on Monday morning, authorities said.
Jade Dupler, 20, suffered bites to both arms, legs and her chin. Britnee Crabtree, 20, was bitten on her left arm, right hand, abdomen and chin, deputies said.
According a Volusia County sheriff's report, the women stepped out of their Third Avenue home at 12:36 a.m. and locked the door behind them. That's when two pit bulls -- one tan and one white -- appeared from around the side of the house and attacked them.
As the women struggled with the dogs, they dropped the house keys. When they went to pick up the keys, they were bitten in the chin, deputies said.
The women were able to enter their house through a back door and escaped the attacking dogs, the report said.
Both women were treated at the scene of the attack by EVAC Ambulanceand fire paramedics and taken to Florida Hospital DeLand for further treatment.
Although the injuries were not life-threatening, they required treatment, the report states.
The dogs and the owner had not been located late Monday afternoon, said sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught.

Update June 29, 2010 10:57am - The following article is by Anika Myers Palm, Orlando Sentinel:

Search continues for dogs that attacked women in DeLand

Volusia animal-control officers continue to search for the dogs that attacked two women Monday.
Animal control personnel say they have received several tips about the two dogs that backed the women against the exterior walls of the DeLand home, but have not found the dogs yet. The dogs are thought to be pit bulls.
"Some of the things we thought might be possibilities did not pan out," said Becky Wilson, director of the county's animal services division. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office, which originally responded to the scene of the attack, has handed the investigation to animal control, said sheriff's office spokesman Brandon Haught.
The incident happened about 12:36 a.m. Monday, when Jade Dupler and Britanee Crabtree, both 20, were leaving their home in the 1900 block of Third Avenue.
Dupler and Crabtree described one dog to deputies as white with tan spots and the other as a solid tan color, according to the sheriff's office report. They are unlikely to be strays, Wilson said.
"According to the victims, they felt like the dogs were owned," said Wilson. "From the description, the dogs looked very healthy."
Dupler had been bitten on her arms, legs and chin. Crabtree was bitten on her left arm, right hand, chin and abdomen, according to the sheriff's office report.
The dogs were not at the scene by the time emergency personnel arrived. The women could not be reached Tuesday.
Wilson's office has several tips for people who encounter aggressive dogs:
Do not run.
Remain calm.
Stay on your feet; spread your feet to keep your balance as necessary. You're far more vulnerable to serious injury or death during a dog attack if you are on the ground.
If you do fall to the ground, protect your head and neck to the best of your abilities
Avoid looking the dog in the eyes

Update June 29, 2010 6:08pm - The following article is from WESH:

Pit Bulls Blamed In Attack Surrendered

The owner of two pit bulls that attacked two women in Volusia County surrendered the dogs on Tuesday.
Jade Dupler and Britanee Crabtree received several hundred stitches between them after the dogs came out of bushes and cornered them at their front door in Daytona Park Estates.
The dogs mauled their faces, neck, arms and legs.
The owner of the two dogs lived just about one block away and works nights. She said she diden't know the dogs had attacked the women until her mother called her after seeing news reports of the incident.
The dogs were quarantined and are slated to be euthanized in about 10 days.

Sioux City council votes to continue its ban on pit bulls

From Argus Leader

Sioux City’s city council has decided to keep its ban on pit bulls, which has been a contentious topic for months, the Sioux City Journal is reporting this evening.
The city has a ban on owning pit bulls and pit-bull mixes. Dogs already in Sioux City have been grandfathered in, the newspaper is reporting online.
Some called for lifting the pit bull ban, but the city council voted 3-2 today to keep it, according to the Journal.

Ramona Man Sent to Trial for Raising Fighting Pit Bulls

From San Diego 6

A Ramona man accused of raising pit bulls for dog fights will stand trial Aug. 30, a judge in El Cajon ruled Monday.

Raul Leyva, 35, is charged with 10 felony counts of owning, possessing, keeping or training dogs with the intent to engage in a dog-fight exhibition with another dog, said Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy.

The defendant is also charged with a misdemeanor count of operating an unlicensed kennel.

Leyva -- who has a robbery conviction on his record -- faces a maximum 12 years in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.

The county Department of Animal Services raided Leyva's home in April 2008, seizing a 16-by-16-foot piece of carpeting stained with dog blood, authorities said.

Eric Sakach of the Humane Society of the United States testified at an earlier hearing that carpeting is used as a floor in dog fighting to give the dogs traction while they're fighting.

Authorities also allegedly found a document during the search of Leyva's home that shows a training regimen for dogs for being prepared for fights, vitamins and injuries to 10 pit bulls.

All of the dogs were seized and later euthanized.

Defense witness Richard Stratton, an author of four books about pit bulls, previously testified that none of the evidence against Leyva on its own showed that he was raising the dogs for fighting.

Update July 7, 2010 11:19am - The following article is by Neal Putnam, Ramona Sentinel:

Dog fighting case delayed

The 2008 dog fighting case against a Ramona resident was delayed June 28 and trial is set for Aug. 30 in El Cajon Superior Court.
   Raul A. Leyva, 35, disputes the charges filed against him in 2008 and has waived his right to have a speedy trial. He is accused of one felony count that alleges he possessed a dog with the intent to use that dog for dog fighting and with a misdemeanor count of failure to obtain a kennel license.
   Leyva’s attorney, Vikas Bajaj, said in an earlier interview the dog in question was one that Leyva did not own, but was keeping temporarily for someone else.Animal control officers from San Diego County raided Leyva’s home on Boundary Avenue on May 14, 2008, and seized 10 pit bull terriers.
   Leyva’s attorney said his client has not engaged in dog fighting and Leyva was a dog lover.
   The prosecution had filed other misdemeanor counts of failure to obtain a dog license, vaccination and mistreatment of animals, but those counts were dismissed in a preliminary hearing in 2009.
   Leyva has pleaded not guilty and remains free on his own recognizance.

Update September 29, 2010 7:01pm - The following article is from Mercury News:

SD man pleads guilty to training dogs for fighting

A San Diego County man has pleaded guilty to five counts of owning and training dogs for fighting. Raul Leyva's guilty plea Wednesday came as his trial on dog fighting charges was set to begin in San Diego County Superior Court.
Animal control officers raided Leyva's property in rural Ramona two years ago, seizing ten pit bulls, some of which had scars similar to those seen on fighting dogs.
Court documents show that officers also seized a treadmill, bloody carpeting, pictures of dogfights and a manual on how to train dogs for fighting.
The Los Angeles Timers reports four of the ten dogs have found new owners. Six were euthanized.
Leyva faces up to 11 years in prison when he's sentenced in November. 



Update October 7, 2010 10:44am - The following article is by Neal Putnam, Ramona Sentinel:


Ramonan agrees to plea agreement to resolve ‘08 dog fighting charges 

A Ramona man whose dog kennel was busted in 2008 pleaded guilty to five felony counts of possessing dogs with the intent of using them in dog fighting.

Raul A Leyva, 35, who had disputed the charges, reached a plea agreement with a judge in which he will likely be placed on probation. Any custody imposed would be in a work furlough facility, said his attorney Vikas Bajaj.

Bajaj had been preparing for trial, and said “we would have been victorious.” But he said his client has two children and “he couldn’t take a risk of going to prison,” adding that could have occurred if he was convicted in a trial.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 23 before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Allan Preckel, who dismissed other misdemeanor charges. The maximum sentence is 11 years and two months in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy. Probation has not been ruled out.

“The most certainty is work furlough,” said Bajaj.

Leyva has a construction job that qualifies him to be allowed to live in a work furlough facility on probation. He would be free to go to work, but the facility would likely be locked at night and on weekends.

Animal control officers from San Diego County raided Leyva’s home on Boundary Avenue on May 14, 2008, and seized 10 pit bull terriers.

The dogs were found in separate kennel areas, separated from each other.
Dog fighting was suspected because about four or five dogs had scars on their faces, necks, and front legs, official reported.

The dogs were all in good condition and animal neglect was not alleged against Leyva. Someone called the county Animal Services department and said the dogs were used for fighting, which prompted the raid. Treadmills were found in the area.

An animal control officer testified in the 2009 preliminary hearing that the dogs were friendly to people, but were aggressive with other dogs.
Leyva’s attorney said some of the dogs belonged to other people, and described Leyva as “a dog lover.”

A defense witness testified in 2009 that he found no signs of dog fighting and said the presence of treadmills is not evidence of dog fighting since “a lot of people get treadmills.”

The prosecution had filed other misdemeanor counts of failure to obtain a dog license, and vaccination, but those counts were dismissed in a preliminary hearing in 2009.

Leyva remains free on his own recognizance.

Update November 23, 2010 11:25am - The following article is from Mercury News:

SoCal man to be sentenced for raising fight dogs

A San Diego County man is facing up to 11 years in prison for raising fighting pit bulls at his home. Raul Leyva is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in El Cajon. He pleaded guilty to five charges of owning, training or possessing animals for dog-fighting purposes.
Animal control officers raided Leyva's property in rural Ramona two years ago, seizing 10 pit bulls. Some had scars similar to those seen on fighting dogs. Six of the dogs were later euthanized.
Court documents show that officers also seized a treadmill, bloody carpeting, pictures of fights and a manual on how to train dogs for fighting.


Update December 3, 2010 9:35am - The following article is from Mercury News:

San Diego pit bull owner sentenced for raising fight dogs

A San Diego County man has been sentenced to a year in jail for keeping and training pit bulls for dog fights.
The San Diego Union-Tribune says Raul Leyva was sentenced Thursday in El Cajon. He pleaded guilty last month to five felony counts. His attorney says Leyva is a dog lover and pleaded to avoid a possible 11-year sentence had the case gone to trial.
The 35-year-old Ramona man was charged after animal control officer raided his rural property two years ago and seized 10 pit bulls.
Prosecutors say some had fighting scars. Six were euthanized.
Leyva will be allowed to serve his time in a work-furlough program but the judge said Leyva cannot own or be around dogs during his probation.
 

Related articles:
Court sentences man to work forlough in dog fighting case - Ramona Sentinel

Chihuahua died defending newborn from pit bulls in Richmond

By Karl Fischer, Contra Costa Times


A Chihuahua died Sunday afternoon in the jaws of two pit bulls after they entered its south Richmond home and approached its owner's newborn child, police say.
"The pit bulls apparently entered the residence through an open front door and approached a 22-day-old infant, whom the mom had been feeding," said Dan Barrett, deputy director of the Contra Costa Animal Services department. "The family has a Chihuahua that confronted them. Of course, they focused their attention on the small dog."
The larger animals seized the Chihuahua in their jaws and carried it out of the house, on the 300 block of South 7th Street. Authorities later found it dead nearby.
Richmond police officers responding to several 911 calls about the attack beginning at 4:35 p.m., and tracked the pit bulls to a home on the 300 block of South 4th Street, Sgt. Bisa French said. No people were hurt.
The owner did not surrender the dogs for euthanization, meaning Animal Services will conduct an investigation and may hold a hearing in a future to decide what to do with them.
County ordinance allows owners of animals accused of violent behavior an administrative hearing before the agency imposes fines, monitoring requirement or euthanization.
The family of the Chihuahua could not be reached for comment.


Update June 28, 2010 11:48pm - The following article is by Alan Wang, KGO-TV:
 
Chihuahua dies protecting family against pit bulls

A Richmond mother does not want to think about what could have happened if her pet Chihuahua didn't stand up to protect the family. Luckily her little Chihuahua was there when two pit bulls stormed the family's home.
ABC7 first learned about this amazing story from our media partners at the Bay Area News Group.
Of course pit bulls are capable of attacking small children and small animals. In this case, the pit bulls had their choice of a 4-year-old boy, a 22-day-old baby, and a Chihuahua.
It was a frightening moment when two pit bulls burst into Mayda Estrella's one-bedroom apartment, Sunday afternoon in Richmond.
"We [were] having a barbeque out here outside," says Estrella.
Estrella says she had the door open and when the dogs rushed in. She ran into the bedroom with her 22-day-old son, grabbed the remote control and wacked one pit bull over the head.
Her 4-year-old son, Brian, jumped on his bed and as the other pit bull moved toward him, the family's Chihuahua -- named Manchas -- jumped in between the boy and the pit bull.
"And the dog just looked at Brian and just [took] the dog..." says Estrella.
Animal control officers found Manchas dead, nearby. The pit bulls ran back to their home where the owner, who did not want to speak on camera, tells ABC7 they escaped by chewing a hole through their wood fence while he was away.
"Those dogs were followed to the residence," said Dan Barrett from Contra the Costa County Animal Control.
Animal Control says the dogs, named Jade and Beast, are now subject to the dangerous animal ordinance. The owner says he's not going to appeal, which means the fate of the dogs is now in the hands of animal control.
When asked if the pit bulls needed to be euthanized because of what they did, Barrett says, "That would be my recommendation."
Estrella says it all happened within 10 seconds, but looking back, she believes Manchas may have saved her son's life.
The owner of the pit bulls is not facing any criminal charges, but under the dangerous animal ordinance, he could be restricted from owning pit bulls in the future.

County shelter euthanizes dog after clerk's blunder

By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel

Life hasn't been the same for Jennifer Micucci and her kids since their dog Chopper went missing.

The 6-year-old golden-haired pit bull mix slipped through the backyard fence and wound up at the Broward County-run shelter in Pompano Beach on June 10.

Fearing he was gone for good, the family was relieved to find their canine companion four days later, in an online listing.

But Chopper won't be coming home. He was euthanized on June 16, the same day Micucci had arranged to pick him up.

Broward officials blame the blunder on a county call center employee who failed to notify the shelter that Chopper's owner was coming for him.

Shelter employees assumed Chopper was a stray because he didn't have a tag, said Lisa Mendheim, spokeswoman for the county's Animal Care and Regulation Division.

"When we see that tag, we know the animal belongs to somebody," Mendheim said.

The scandal-plagued agency has been under scrutiny since March, when the Sun Sentinel ran a story about county shelter workers euthanizing O'Malley, a cat with a microchip. The cat's owners were not contacted until after his death.

The incident sparked a wider investigation of the county's treatment of stray animals and lost pets. The inquiry resulted in tighter protocols to ensure staffers are properly searching for microchips, Mendheim said.

Micucci, 29, said she spotted Chopper on the county's online list of missing and abandoned animals around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 14.

She called right away to claim him, but said she was told the dog was in Fort Lauderdale. She didn't think she'd make it there before the shelter closed.

Wondering why he would have been taken to Fort Lauderdale, she called back and found out the dog was actually at the county's Pompano shelter.

But that shelter was closed on Monday and Tuesday, so she wouldn't be able to pick him up until Wednesday, June 16.

That morning, she called the shelter to check on the dog and say she was coming for him around 2 p.m. After five minutes on hold, a man came on the phone and told her Chopper had already been put down.

"I was hysterical," Micucci said. "I cried for days."

Micucci said her four kids – ages 1, 3, 8 and 14 – were so happy to hear Chopper would be coming home. And now they're sad he's gone forever.

"He was like one of my kids," Micucci said. "He was the most lovable dog. He played hide and seek with the kids. He was their big stuffed animal."

Chopper was one of six dogs euthanized at the Pompano shelter that day. His cremated remains were taken to the county landfill in Coconut Creek.

Dogs and cats without ID tags are typically euthanized three days after they are brought to the shelter. Animals with tags are put down after five days if no one comes for them.

Chopper got a couple extra days because the Pompano location was closed on Monday and Tuesday.

County law requires that every dog and cat wear tags, even those kept indoors, Mendheim said.

Chopper had a collar, but was not wearing it when he got out, his owner said.

"We have a collar with tags, but that's only when he goes for a walk," Micucci said. "I don't leave it on 24 hours a day. He stayed inside the house. He's never been loose before."

The county posts photos of missing and abandoned dogs and cats on its website at http://www.Broward.org/animal. The animals are listed under Daily Intake.

"If you see your pet, call us immediately, and then come in right away and identify that as your pet," Mendheim said. "Bring a photo or vet record to show proof."

County spokeswoman Judy Sarver said Micucci should have identified herself as the dog's owner and made it clear she wanted the dog kept alive until she could pick him up. Sarver declined to identify the call center employee, though she acknowledged his name is public record.

Sarver said the county employee would not face discipline for failing to ask whether Micucci wanted her dog back.

"Would we have liked him to ask? Yes," Sarver said. "But there was no misconduct."

Micucci says she is too distraught to be angry.

"He went missing, and then we found him and thought he was coming home," she said. "And then that morning, to find out he's gone over someone's mistake. It's such a heartbreaker."

Work Dog Missing From Sick Woman's Home

By Erika Summers, Action 3 News

A woman struggling with multiple illnesses puts her trust in someone to take her work dog for a walk. That walker never came back. Her dog is still missing. It happened Sunday night.
Following a long sleepless night, Michelle Farrow cries because she's scared for her dog and also for herself. "I'm very sick and I need him, I need him as much as he needs me," said dog owner Michelle Farrow.
Farrow suffers epileptic seizures, severe asthma, and end-stage liver disease. Her medically trained dog Chaco, helps her with whatever she needs. "He knows when I'm going to have seizures. He's been trained to go let people know I need help," said Farrow.
The brown and white pit bull vanished when a friend she hadn't seen in a long time offered to take him for a walk but never came back. "I don't know what to do, I made a report," said Farrow.
Farrow's worried the person may use her dog for breeding or sell Chaco to make an easy buck. "I love my dog more than anything and I've been through so much to get this dog and keep this dog," said Farrow.
She waits, hoping and begging for the dog she calls her best friend to return. "He's irreplaceable. Please bring the dog back, that's all I'm asking," said Farrow.
If you have any information on the dog's whereabouts, you can contact the Southeast Omaha Police Precinct at 444-5792.

Update July 30, 2010 7:44pm - The following article is by Molli Graham, Action 3 News:
 
Stolen Dog Reunited with Owner

Tonight, a happy ending for a woman who was devastated when someone stole her dog. You see, she's in poor health and tells us she depends on her dog for help.
It's a tearful reunion between a woman and her dog. Chalco the pit bull was stolen from owner Michelle Farrow 1 month ago. "I was totally devastated, it was like someone took my life partner, my breath away," says Michelle Farrow. Chalco is not just a pet, but he's trained to help Farrow with medical problems.
The day he disappeared, a former friend took him outside then took off. Farrow believes he was then traded around showing up in multiple homes. Police and Humane Society workers show up to a house near 87th and Grand Friday afternoon and find the stolen dog inside. But so far investigators can't say how the dog ended up here. Nebraska Humane Society reunites the dog and owner.
Chalco's disappearance also got the attention of Action Three News. We brought you the story the day after he goes missing last month. Today, Farrow's pleas answered, her puppy home, unfortunately not in the best shape. "We did find that the dog was malnourished," says Mark Langan with the Nebraska Humane Society. Chalco, a few pounds lighter and with sores on his nose, seemingly happy to home. 
The Humane Society is investigating and could file animal cruelty charges, police also on the case regarding the theft of the dog.

Reported by Molli Graham, mgraham@action3news.com

Poodle attacked by two pit bulls in Irondequoit

By Christine Van Timmeren, WHEC

An Irondequoit man had to fight to save his dog's life this morning after two pit bulls attacked it while he was on a walk. Animal control and an ambulance were on the scene when our cameras got there. David Anderson, 50, was being treated for scratches on his knees while trying to break up the dog fight.
A neighbor who came over to help said he thinks the pit bulls accidently got outside and went after Anderson’s poodle. Anderson, with the help of his neighbors, was able to separate the dogs and get the pit bulls under control until the owners arrived.
Neighbor Nelson Huertas said, “She came out, she was frantic. She didn't know where her dogs were. We were holding onto them. She was like ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry.’ She said her father just left the door open.”
Anderson said, “They just got loose. It was a freak accident, unfortunately I was involved with it.” He said his dog had to be taken to the vet with non-life threatening injuries.
At this time, we are unsure whether the dogs were taken away or if their owners received a ticket.

Crews free puppy from Titusville storm drain

By J.D. Gallop, Florida Today

A six-week-old pit bull puppy was safely pulled from a shallow storm drain by Titusville rescue crews this morning.
After more than 30 minutes, a Brevard County Animal Services agent was able to coax the puppy toward her and pulled it out of the drain.
“It went fine. (The puppy) just came to her,” said Scott Gaenicke, spokesman for the Titusville Fire Department. The incident happened at the intersection of Short and Gilbert streets.
The puppy was wrapped in a towel and then taken to the North Animal Care Center, officials said.
The incident unfolded as a Brevard County Animal Services agent reported the puppy’s predicament at 7:41 a.m. today in the area of Gilbert and Short streets and requested assistance to help get into the storm drainage system to remove the animal.
“It was awesome,” said Lt. Doug Chamberlin, describing the feeling he and other firefighters had as the canine was retrieved safely.
Brevard County Animal Services agent Madeline Harris placed the puppy in a blue towel and walked it back to her truck.
The puppy appeared to be shaken but was physically in good condition, officials reported.
“It’s just one of the things we do,” Gaenicke said of the rescue.

Officer Shoots Dog During Disturbance Call

From 10 TV News

A dog was recovering from a gunshot wound Monday after police said an officer was forced to open fire while responding to a disturbance call in the area. It happened Sunday night near an apartment complex along South High Street.
Police said the officer was responding to a disturbance call and walked through a gate when Chopper, a 92-pound pit bull-boxer mix, ran at him, 10TV's Patrick Bell reported.
The officer then shot the dog, police said.
"And that's when the policeman drew his gun.  I'm yelling not to shoot my dog," said Chopper's owner, Debbie Latimer.  "Then he shot once, he shot twice, and then my dog hit the ground."
Latimer said the bullet went through Chopper's left shoulder and lodged itself in his right side.  The dog has no feeling in his hind legs and had been under heavy sedation since being shot, Bell reported.
The officer who shot the dog was not identified, but police said he would face a firearms review board, which is standard anytime a weapon is used.
Animal Control officers cited Latimer on four charges after the incident, including failure to contain, failure to license, no rabies vaccination and no insurance, Bell reported.

Men Guilty Of Dogfighting Must Pay For Dog Care


From CBS 2 Chicago

Three suburban men have been sentenced to probation, anger management and ordered to pay for lifetime care for their two dogs after being found guilty of dogfighting charges.

Donaver Jones, 39, of Riverdale was found guilty of providing a site for dogfight in the basement of a house at 526 W. 66th St. in Chicago, according to a release from the Cook County Sheriff's office. Melvin Trent, 38, and Timothy Norris, 36, both of Joliet, were found guilty of promoting a dogfight.

The three men were arrested on Nov. 16, 2008 when police broke up a dogfight in progress. Officers found dozens of people betting on a fight involving two pit bulls. Fifty people present at the home now face misdemeanor charges of attending a dogfight, according to the release.

Steroids, amphetamines, syringes, and an IV drip were found at the home, along with a staple gun used to close dogs' wounds and thick wooden stakes to drive apart dogs' jaws after they locked down on another dog.

One of two dogs found at the scene was so badly mauled, it could barely stand, according to the release. The dog is now back to a healthy condition.

Jones, Trent and Norris were each sentenced to 24 months probation, anger management classes, and ordered to have no contact with companion animals, the release said.

They must also pay restitution of $3,612 each to reimburse the cost of a sanctuary home for their dogs, Brutus and Rebus. And each must pay $3,000 to cover fees incurred by Chicago Animal Care and Control to house the dogs, the release said.

The dogs will live out their lives in a safe haven arranged by Best Friends Animal Society.

This case is one of only a few in which dogfighting defendants have been court ordered to pay for the lifetime care of their canine victims, according to the sheriff's office.

Pit bull attacks Auburn police sergeant

By John Mariani, The Post-Standard

An Auburn police officer needed three sets of stitches to close wounds he sustained when he was attacked Sunday night by a pit bull dog, a police spokesman said.

Sgt. Edward Fabrize was patrolling about 7:52 p.m. when he noticed heavy smoke and walked up a driveway at 61 E. Genesee St. to investigate, Lt. Shawn Butler said. There Fabrize found Thomas Stoddard sitting next to a fire pit. As they spoke, a large pit bull ran off the side porch of the home, snapping his leash in the process, and attacked Fabrize, Butler said.

Fabrize could not defend himself with his service gun because Stoddard was standing too close, Butler said. Fabrize was injured on his right arm and upper right leg before Stoddard was able to pull the dog off the officer and put it in the house, the spokesman said.

Butler said Fabrize suffered muscle damage to his right arm and is expected to be out of work for an undetermined period while he recovers.

Police learned later that Stoddard was tending the dog for a family member. The Auburn animal control officer is continuing the investigation, Butler said.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Man to be sentenced in Erie County Court in dog attack on toddler

By Lisa Thompson, Go Erie

Matthew Havern, the 26-year-old man who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a dog attack on his 3-year-old niece, is scheduled to be sentenced this morning in Erie County Court. The charges carry a maximum possible sentence of up to seven years in prison and a $50,600 fine.

The dog, a pit bull mix named Graham, attacked Alorah Havern in September.

It had attacked another toddler in 2006, causing similar injuries.

It was euthanized after the most recent attack.

Update June 30, 2010 11:27am - The following article is by Lisa Thompson, Go Erie:

Man sentenced to prison in Erie County Court in dog attack on toddler

Matthew Havern's dog had attacked a child before. 
After that attack, which severely wounded a toddler, he kept the dog, a pit bull mix named "Graham," in the basement, but did not vaccinate him or register him as a dangerous dog as required by law.

He said Monday in Erie County Court that the dog's second attack on a child -- Havern's 3-year-old niece -- made him realize the responsibility of being a pet owner.

"I deeply regret the decisions I have made," he told Judge Shad Connelly.

Havern was sentenced Monday to serve one to 12 months in the Erie County Prison for failing to control his dog. He must also serve two years of probation, pay court costs, $550 in fines and perform 100 hours of community service, Connelly said.

The sentence was in the standard range of sentencing guidelines.

Connelly said Havern had shown reckless conduct with regard to his animal for years.

The sentence came after Havern pleaded guilty in May in Erie County Court to charges stemming from a dog attack that left his niece, Alorah Havern, with severe injuries.

The dog attacked Alorah Havern on Sept. 16 at the Millcreek Township residence Matthew Havern shared with his mother, Debbie Havern.

Debbie Havern, Alorah Havern's grandmother, was baby-sitting the child at the time.

The girl suffered a fractured skull and required more than 300 stitches to close her wounds, her mother, Julie Havern, has said. Alorah Havern also lost many teeth and had numerous bones in her face shattered.

The dog had inflicted similar injuries to the 4-year-old daughter of Matthew Havern's girlfriend in November 2006 in Wesleyville.

After that attack, Matthew Havern was charged with failure to confine his dog and owning a dog that caused serious injury or death. He pleaded guilty to both charges. He was required to register the dog and properly contain it, but failed to do so. Matthew Havern, instead, falsely told a state dog warden that he no longer owned the dog.

The dog was euthanized after the most recent attack.

Matthew Havern, 26, pleaded guilty to charges of dog attack causing serious injury, failing to register a dangerous dog, failure to maintain liability insurance for a dangerous dog, and failure to obtain a rabies shot and a license for his dog.

In exchange for his plea, the Erie County District Attorney's Office dropped charges of reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor dog attack count.

Matthew Havern's lawyer, David Ridge, asked for a probation sentence. He said the grading of the offense and sentencing guidelines had already taken into account the facts of the case -- that the dog had attacked before.

Matthew Havern took responsibility for the crime, he said.

District Attorney Jack Daneri asked for a sentence in the aggravated range.

He said had Alorah Havern not been maimed, Matthew Havern likely would still be disobeying the law with regard to his pet.

Pit bull attacks child in Orange County

From Florida Today

The Orange County Sheriff's Office and animal control officers are investigating how a 10-year-old child was attacked by a pit bull this evening.
The attack happened near 3525 Stonefield Drive, in east Orange County.
The child was taken for medical care, where he is being treated for his injuries, deputies said.
While deputies were waiting for animal control officers to arrive, the dog became aggressive, forcing a deputy to fire two shots at it, police said.

Update June 28, 2010 10:04am - The following article is by Taylor Sutton, FOX Orlando:
 
Deputies: Pitbull attacks child

Authorities say an Orange County boy is recovering after a dangerous encounter with a pitbull Sunday night.
Orange County deputies say they responded to the scene at 3525 Stonefield Drive, in East Orange County.
One deputy says the pitbull was unsecured and aggressive. He says the dog charged him, forcing him to shoot it twice. The deputy's shots killed the dog, according to OCSO.
Orange County Fire Rescue treated the boy for injuries on the scene, and his father said he planned to take his son to the hospital.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office and Animal Control officers are investigating the attack.

Authorities to round up deadly weapon dogs

From Today's Zaman

Turkey’s interior, environment and forestry, and agriculture and rural affairs ministries have sent official letters to relevant authorities, including veterinarians and governors’ offices across the nation, informing them of a ban on the sale of “dangerous” dogs including pit bulls and instructing them to round up any they find and to fine the owners of these dogs.
The breeds specified as “dangerous” include pit bull terriers, Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasileiros and mixed-breed dogs from these breeds. The letters to confiscate the dogs was issued upon an order from Parliament’s Petition Committee, which received requests for precautions against “dangerous” dogs from several people who reported being attacked by those breeds, the Milliyet daily reported.
The Interior Ministry sent letters to governors’ offices on June 7 instructing them to collect dogs that are banned to raise and own, to fine their owners, to ban the sale of these animals online and to ban animal fights featuring these breeds. The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry has sent a letter to 51 chambers affiliated with the Turkish Veterinary Medical Association (TVHB) and to provincial agricultural directorates across Turkey asking them to inform all clinics, polyclinics and animal hospitals of Parliament’s order.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has sent letters to governors’ offices, too, ordering them to fine owners of those animals TL 3,434.  Parliament’s Petition Committee head Yahya Akman said despite the legal prohibitions, there were problems in implementation, adding that the ministries took action following the decision taken by the committee. The committee determined that there are about 10,000 “dangerous” dogs in Turkey, with 2,000 of them in İstanbul. Parliament warned the ministries after discovering that the dogs are used by criminal gangs and the mafia as deadly weapons. 

Update June 29, 2010 8:38am - The following article is from Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review:
 
Dog experts bite back at Turkey's Pit Bull ban

The government’s issuing of orders to round up Pit Bulls and other “dangerous” breeds was an unfortunate, unscientific decision, experts have said, calling for assessments of individual dogs rather than a total ban.
“Dogs of all breeds rather than just a specific few must take temperament tests, and those categorized as dangerous must be forbidden and taken under supervision,” said Tamer Dodurka, a professor at Istanbul University’s Veterinary Faculty, daily Milliyet reported Tuesday.
Taking calm dogs that have never caused harm to anyone from their owners just because they are Pit Bulls is illogical, Dodurka said, adding that the country’s animal shelters are already full of dogs and will not accept animals of the four breeds banned by authorities.
Following a call for action by the Parliamentary Committee for Petitions based on complaints from members of the public, the ministries responsible for internal affairs, environment and agriculture recently circulated a memorandum to all governors’ offices around the country. The offices were ordered to actively enforce an animal-protection law passed in June 2004 that made it illegal to own, breed, sell, import, gift, exchange or advertise Pit Bulls and similar dogs. The new orders included instructions to impound Pit Bulls, fine their owners more than 3,400 Turkish Liras and keep the dogs from fighting one another. They also included a ban on the sale of the animals over the Internet.
“I was petrified when I saw the photographs of people who had been bitten [by these dogs],” said Yahya Akman, the chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Petitions, daily Milliyet reported in an earlier story Sunday.
The legal prohibitions issued against dangerous breeds of dogs in the past were not effectively implemented, Akman said, adding that no more excuses should be made for animals that scare and harm people.
Speaking during a Monday visit to the northeastern province of Erzurum, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu said the dogs subject to the ban had mauled children and bit many people, and were even used by mafia types as an intimidation tactic, the Doğan news agency reported Tuesday. According to the minister, the first step is to make a tally of these breeds in Turkey and then proceed with the other measures listed in the memo. The 2004 law included regulations on registering the ownership of dangerous dogs along with their sterilization and immunization records.
Professor Dodurka criticized the memorandum released by the ministries, saying it represented a poor decision without any scientific basis, especially at a time when other countries are realizing that blanket bans have not decreased the number of attacks by dangerous animals and are preparing to rescind such laws.
According to Dodurka, who is also the chair of the Friends of Living Creatures Association, some of the four banned breeds have never even been seen by the parliamentary committee members who decided to prohibit them. There are no Japanese Tosa in Turkey and only four dogs of the Brazilian Mastiff breed, he said, adding that dogs of the Dogo Argentino breed, also known as the “White Angel,” are mild animals often kept as pets by families.
The ban on these dogs and Pit Bulls will not stop betting on dog fights in the country either, Dodurka said, adding that gamblers will find other breeds to pit against each other. “The ban will not keep them from betting [on dog fights], only the name of the ‘heroes’ will change,” he said.
Since the ban was first announced, the number of Pit Bulls in Turkey has increased rather than decreased, Dodurka added, noting that a similar phenomenon was also observed in other countries that approved similar restrictions, such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, which have now either rescinded their bans or are discussing doing so.
Official notice to vets and animal hospitals
As part of the three ministries’ initiative, the Agriculture Ministry ordered the 51 associations affiliated with the Turkish Veterinarian Union and all the provincial directorates of agriculture to inform all veterinary clinics, polyclinics and animal hospitals about the decision made by Parliament. The ministry had previously notified veterinary surgeons, pet-shop owners and animal-breeding farms that keeping and breeding Pit Bulls and similar animals is forbidden.
The Environment and Forestry Ministry also contacted the Turkish Veterinarian Union, as well as the country’s universities, asking them to report the address and identity information of dangerous dogs brought to clinics and animal hospitals.
Precautions to be taken
In order to inform dog owners and the rest of the public about the new provisions, 20,000 posters and 30,000 leaflets will be sent to governor’s offices around the country to distribute.
Attacks by Pit Bulls have led the ownership of these and other breeds of dog exhibiting aggressive tendencies to be forbidden or limited in many countries. The U.K. and Denmark ban them entirely, as do some parts of the United States, Canada and Australia.

Update July 1, 2010 2:10pm - The following article is from Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review:

Minister says leashed pit bulls will not be taken away from owners

Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu said Thursday that no pit bulls or other banned breeds of dogs will be forcibly taken away from their owners unless they are allowed to wander around without a leash.
“The problem is [the pit bulls] without a leash,” the minister said, adding that unleashed animals will be taken to shelters.
The minister’s latest statement came amid protests against a recent move to enforce a prohibition on four types of dogs considered to pose a danger to people by confiscating animals belonging to the banned breeds.
Veterinarians have spoke out against official requests that they register dogs and report them, saying that would violate their clients’ privacy. The statements have drawn the ire of the environment minister, who said the animal doctors are obligated to help enforce the law.
“The veterinarians will not be able to make unregistered treatments since we have imposed sanctions. We have warned them about this. The veterinarians will not be able to say, ‘I am not reporting [owners of banned dogs],’” Eroğlu told journalists at Parliament on Wednesday.
“When we graduated, we took an oath to keep information about animal owners a professional secret and not share it with anyone,” said Professor Tamer Dodurka from Istanbul University. He added that veterinarians are obligated to report certain diseases, but should not be expected to turn in animals that had not harmed anyone.
“The ministry did not take precautions against very important diseases such as rabies, cattle plague and bird flu, which we are obligated to report,” Professor Tahsin Yeşildere, the president of the Istanbul Chamber of Veterinarians, told daily Hürriyet on Wednesday.
Owners of unregistered and non-neutered pit bulls will be fined 3,500 Turkish Liras; if ignored, these fines can be doubled or tripled at the minister’s discretion. “These dogs will not walk in crowded places even with a leash. People get scared even when they are leashed. Children cannot walk the streets,” Eroğlu said Wednesday, adding that gang members also use the dogs for robberies or acts of intimidation. Eroğlu also said they will not allow more pit bulls to be imported into the country.
The minister said the Forestry Law has been changed to help address the shortage of dog shelters, which will now be able to be built in forested areas. Eroğlu added that the ministry has contacted all municipalities in regard to their dog populations and allocated between 100,000 and 200,000 liras for them to neuter and vaccinate pit bulls and other animals.
Hundreds of pit-bull lovers are organizing online to lobby for changes to the recently announced directives. In addition to forming Facebook groups, Turkish pit-bull owners have started an online petition at www.sessizkalmasucaortakolma.com to be sent to ministries and the Parliamentary Committee for Petitions. (The website’s URL means “Do not be silent, do not be a partner to a crime.”)
A pro-pit-bull demonstration is being planned for Sunday at Ankara’s Seymen Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Update July 3, 2010 4:47pm - The following article is by E. Baris Altintas, Today's Zaman:

Animal groups win victory in pit bull ban row

Last week was filled with panic, anxiety and grief for many pit bull owners in Turkey as three ministries announced that they had introduced breed-specific legislation, under which all pit bull breed dogs in the country would be “collected” by municipalities, without specifying what would happen to the dogs afterwards.
“She is no different to me than my daughter, I’ve had her for six years,” said Gökhan Sertel, a 42-year-old businessman from İstanbul’s Küçükçekmece district, speaking on the day the ban was first announced. “There is no way I am giving her to anybody,” he said determinedly. However, not all pit bull owners are created equal, developments soon proved. As animal rights groups, activists, veterinarians and public health experts repeatedly made statements slamming the law for violating animal and even human rights, some owners simply let their dogs loose fearing they might get in trouble or have to face the TL 3,434 fine. After all, it is a fact that a particular kind of person is attracted to pit bulls. In less than 48 hours, bewildered pit bulls, dumped by their owners, started roaming the streets of Turkey’s largest cities. One newspaper claimed that a family in İzmir was attacked by one such stray pit bull, although members of the family did not appear to have any visible bite marks or injuries in the pictures. Photographs published in the press showed the family’s young son pointing to a blemish on his face, that looked more like an acne spot than a bite mark from a massive and ferocious jaw, but the story was popular, adding to the pit bull hype.
Perhaps it was the threat of mafia bosses, thugs, dogfight fans and in general the kind of people you wouldn’t want to mess with letting their dogs loose on an entire society that helped reverse the ban, but animal rights groups trying to talk some sense into the authorities and hundreds of thousands of people backing animal rights’ groups petitions also seems to have played a role in the reversal. Minister of Environment and Forestry Veysel Eroğlu on Thursday said a circular sent to local authorities had been cancelled and that “we are not going to take anybody’s dog.”
Problems with breed-specific legislation
Experts have pointed out many problems with this kind of legislation, but the fact that it simply does not work is probably the greatest defect. In addition to this, such bans infringe on personal freedoms. According to Professor Tamer Dodurka, head of the İstanbul University veterinary faculty of internal medicine, breed-specific legislation is also a violation of human rights. “What you should do is not ban a particular breed. This is not scientific. The entire world rejects this,” he said. He also noted that past examples in other countries showed that wherever pit bulls were banned, the number of pit bulls in that country rose rapidly. “We always tell people, when you see a dog you think is dangerous, don’t look at the dog’s breed, look at what the owner looks like. If the owner is dangerous, run away,” he added.
Lawyer Ahmet Kemal Şenpolat, head of the Animal Rights Federation (HAYTAP), pointed out other shortcomings of the pit bull ban and problems with breed-specific legislation in general, saying: “The problem here is not the pit bull itself. The problem is that there is no obstacle in the way of uncontrolled breeding and the sale of this breed. The problem is that by banning these animals you are creating the perception in the eyes of society that they are a brand of ‘fighting dogs.’ We had a similar law come out in 2004, and the popularity of dogfights across the country grew following that.”
Like many other experts, Şenpolat also said that it is not the pit bull, but the owners who give them a bad name who are to blame for pit-bull-related attacks. “Dog fighting websites get 10 times more clicks than our website, HAYTAP. There is incredible demand for this online. We as an organization keep appealing to prosecutors to shut these sites down, but the telecommunications law does not allow closing websites with animal fights.”
What to do about dog attacks?
Şenpolat said based on these realities, it was pretty clear what needed to be done. “We would expect the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to make an effort to take the law on animal cruelty from under the misdemeanor code and put it within the scope of the criminal code,” he said.
HAYTAP and other organizations also indicated further shortcomings in the withdrawn regulation, such as the lack of infrastructure and personnel in Turkey to take care of the animals, even if the authorities did manage to collect them all. “We are against them [pit bulls] being raised in urban areas. But these animals will always be illegally bred and used in fights. You see it a lot, they poison stray animals and more strays come back after a while,” Şenpolat added.
The correct method is to keep track of every single animal, which was what the law said specifically of pit bulls and a few other “power breeds” in 2004, but it was not enforced. In fact, as Şenpolat notes, pit bull ownership became much more widespread in Turkey, and pit bulls much more readily available.
A celebrity victim of a pit bull attack, TV host Öykü Serter, whose attack made news headlines in 2007, also says she doesn’t have anything against the breed. “The real problem is with dog owners. They use these dogs for all the wrong purposes. They are messing with the psychology of those animals and torture them,” she said.
A comprehensive study by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that many other factors besides breed, such as heredity, sex, early experience, reproductive status, socialization and training, might affect aggressive behavior in dogs. No similar study exists in Turkey, but according to CDC findings more than 70 percent of all dog bite cases involve unneutered male dogs. An unneutered male dog is 2.6 times more likely to bite than a neutered dog. A chained or tethered dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than a dog that is not chained or tethered. Ninety-seven percent of dogs involved in fatal dog attacks in 2006 were not spayed/neutered. Seventy-eight percent were kept not as pets, but rather for guarding, image enhancement, fighting or breeding. Eighty-four percent were maintained by reckless owners -- these dogs were abused or neglected, not humanely treated and kept or allowed to interact with children unsupervised.
The figures make clear the correct approach to minimizing dog attacks on humans. As Viktor Larkhill from animal rights group Let’s Adopt! said: “The only way to protect people from vicious dogs is to go after the dogs that are actually dangerous. Dangerous dog laws focus on any dog, of any breed, that has a history of aggression, and on the people who deliberately train and/or use dogs to act aggressively or for criminal activity. It’s time that we stop blaming the wrong dogs and start addressing the real problem: bad owners.”