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DOG FIGHTING RINGS & SHELTERS

 

Dog fighting is so prevalent today that there are $5,000 bounties on ringleaders, pets are stolen as ring bait, and pit bulls fill shelters.

 

November 7, 2011 | TheDogPress

Nel Liquorman, Investigative Reporter

 

DOG FIGHTING RINGS & SHELTERSEven with the bounties on tips leading to arrests, it can take many months of investigations before raids can be carried out and enough evidence gathered to make dog fighting charges stick.  In July 2009, the biggest federal dog fighting bust in history took place.  The dog fighting ring covered Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi, involving over 400 (mostly) pit bull dogs and resulted in 26 arrests.

 

The origins of those mysterious blue barrels of Nutro dog food{1} for sale on the Kijiji website, led to a website that was obviously connected to dog fighting.  Further research reveals an underground activity growing like a tumor in the underbelly of our society.  This horrific crime against dogs affects entire communities, and their beloved pets which are stolen to be used as “ring bait.”  Dog fighting rings have recently moved into suburban neighborhoods bringing with them drug sales, guns, illegal gambling, and violence which includes shootings.

 

DNA samples in the historical FBI dog fighting case across 8 states proved that all the dogs were related, and the director of the forensics laboratory at the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis, which is dedicated to animal profiling, believed that their findings indicated creation of a new breed specifically for pit fighting.

 

The Pit Fighting-Animal Shelter-CUR Connection:

Dogs rescued in dog fighting raids wind up in shelters that are too often already filled to capacity.  Because the pit fighting dogs are often held as evidence, it necessitates transporting local dogs to other shelters; yet another reason for the growth of today’s version of CUR, the Canine Underground Railroad{2}.  Dog fighting is a blood-thirsty pursuit that smacks of organized crime.

 

Shelters are reluctant to accept obvious “pit bulls” but most pay a transfer fee which is good for the animal transporter businesses.  Our coverage of CUR reveals eyewitness reports of dogs being dumped on highways{3} and dogs dumped into neighborhoods, both of which could be connected with the rise in animal transport and shelter reluctance to house non-evidentiary fighting dogs. It appears that as one activity increases, others follow, indicating that they are interconnected.

 

One private security firm sponsored a dog fighting tip line which resulted in 19 raids in just one year.  In South Carolina, a shelter worker blew the whistle on the Shelter Director and inmates who were working at the shelter, all involved in dog fightingInvestigation turned up bodies of dogs and cats in a landfill, and local news media broke the story in March 2011.  As a result, 4 shelter employees were put on administrative leave.  In just that one SC shelter case, local news sources revealed:

  • Dozens of dogs were shot and dumped in a landfill across the street from the Chesterfield County SC Animal Control facility.

  • Cats that had been beaten over the head with a pipe.

  • of the animals had been killed by humane euthanasia.

  • Incredibly, the shelter director, Brian Burch, a convicted drug felon, was in charge of the euthanasia drugs.  One of the drugs commonly used for euthanasia is Ketamine, known on the street as Special K, a date rape drug. The DEA states that Ketamine is a target in veterinary clinic robberies.{4}

  • Shelter director Burch breeds and sells dogs with bloodlines from Michael Vick’s Pit Bull kennels.  Again, no background check?

  • The shelter had equipment which could be used to train dogs to fight.

  • Cages of scarred pit bulls often had tags “Hold for Brian Burch”.

The sheriffs department turned that case over to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Citizens held a rally on the steps of their State House in April; the four employees were fired in August but firing is not justice.  Dog fighting is a felony and when inmates, working at animal shelters, give organized crime access to dogs used for dog fighting across state lines, it’s a case for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

 

Collaring Dog Fighting Rings:

Citizens are tipping authorities when they suspect dog fighting, bringing about investigations across the nation. Here’s a sampling of raids in 2011:

 

Pennsylvania April - Five dog fighting raids took place, leading to a dozen arrests and seizures of more than 30 dogs.

 

North Carolina April - A county Sheriff busted 78 year old Harry Hargrove, owner of a dog fighting operation with 40 years in the business. Hargrove was a legend among dog fighters.  The Sheriff found 33 pit bull dogs plus training equipment and a fight ring.  In another NC raid, Cody Ushry, Jr. was charged with 28 dog fighting and animal cruelty counts.  Evidence revealed his online dog sales and business cards for Harry Hargrove.  Ushry talked, leading officers to his business partner, Brian Devon Tucker.  A raid on Tucker followed, resulting in 12 counts of animal cruelty and 11 counts of cruel restraint of a dog.

 

South Carolina September - A large dog fighting operation was raided but spectators and dogs ran off into the woods.  Only one man was arrested and charged with violation of the new Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act but 24 dogs were seized.

 

PIT BULL RESCUED FROM DOG FIGHTING RINGSReports of stomach turning atrocities seen by law enforcement agents bring the average dog owner to tears.  Heart wrenching news videos show fighting dogs wagging their tails as they were being carried away in the arms of rescuers.

 

While most people remember the Michael Vick case (and even football fans shudder), few know that DMX, an all time best-selling rapper was indicted on felony drug possession and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges after his home was raided in 2007 by a SWAT team from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio{5} seized a dozen pit bull dogs and dug up dog remains on the property.  Typical of the rich and famous, DMX only had to serve 18 days of his 90 day sentence and the dog fighting charges wouldn’t stick.  Even though the evidence strongly suggested his involvement in the horrific blood sport, DMX could only be charged with misdemeanor animal abuse.

 

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act:

Signed into law on May 3, 2007 the Animal Fighting Act specifies any event involving a fight between at least two animals, conducted for the purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.  It makes buying, selling, or transporting animals for participation in animal fighting a federal crime with increased penalties.

 

While pit fighting participants and spectators are often caught ringside with as much as $10,000 cash in their hands, there are also street level dog fighters, often members of gangs, who participate in fights that take place in apartments and abandoned warehouses.

 

The ultimate, senseless cruelty of dog fighting is held in the trunks of cars and is known as trunking.  Dog fighters put two dogs in the trunk of a car and ride around with the radio blasting loud music to cover any sounds while the dogs fight to the death.

 

Dog Fighting Clubs vs Citizen Vigilance:

Dog fighters connect through dog fighting magazines and social media websites. So do scammers, who see dog fighting activities as a gold mine.  ASPCA reported that puppiesprofits.com is a hoax site targeting dog fighting criminals with registration fees of nearly $1,000.

 

Georgia, where there was no shortage of dog fighting raids in 2010, gave public workshops on how to recognize the signs of dog fighting.  Nobody should miss the obvious signs such as multiple pit bull dogs, heavily chained, with raggedly (scissored off) cropped ears and with fighting scars on their faces, legs, and body.

 

Pet owners in Florida have been meeting with law enforcement groups to halt the rising crime of dog theft which if often tied to dog fighting.  Most stolen dogs were pit bull types but all types of pets are stolen for use as ring bait to enhance the ability and desire to kill other dogs.

 

NEL LIQUORMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER & HEALTH EDITORWhile it should not take a reward to get someone to call in a tip, a $5,000 bounty on the head of dog fighters may help bring about justice.  If enough people take up the cause, we can help law enforcement wipe out pit fighting and put a serious dent in all the other connected criminal activities. We can’t let dogs continue to be a gold mine for criminals.  It is torturous to dogs and leads to more Breed Specific Laws, problematic for dog lovers as well as dog breeders.

 

Reference & Related Articles and Information, dig for gold below

{1} Dog Food Conspiracy & Blue Barrels

{2} CUR = Canine Underground Railroad

{3} Dumping Cheaper Than Transporting

{4} Veterinary Clinics Thefts Of Ketamine at justice.gov

{5} Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

1111 http://www.thedogpress.com/Columns/Dog-Fighting-Liquorman-1111.asp

 

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