Just in: Jonathan Kennard Williams, 27, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for charges related to dog fighting, weapons possession and drugs. Last April, the ASPCA assisted in the rescue and forensics evidence collection of 41 dogs seized from Williams’ property in Halifax, Virginia. The dogs, many of them used for fighting, were found living in deplorable conditions with no access to clean water.
In addition to conspiring to sell dogs with the intent for the animals to be used in dog fighting, Williams pleaded guilty to several counts of distributing drugs and weapons possession. He was also sentenced to six years’ probation after his release from prison.
“Dog fighting is often associated with other illegal activity such as drugs and weapons,” says Terry Mills, ASPCA Blood Sports Director. “It’s a heinous crime that has become both an animal welfare and public safety issue.”
The ASPCA remained involved with the dogs rescued during the raid, and today dogs from Williams’ compound are in loving homes across the country.
“Thanks to the diligence of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the local agencies, Mr. Williams was held accountable for exploiting these innocent animals,” says Mills.
Dog fighting remains a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on our efforts to stop dog fighting, please visit Raids and Investigations.
Queens resident Davanand Raghunath, 28, was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty and sentenced yesterday to three years of probation for starving and neglecting his cat, Leo. Raghunath was also barred from owning an animal for three years.
In August 2010, Agents from the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department discovered the seven-year-old cat living in the basement of a store in Ozone Park. He was starved, dehydrated, infested with fleas and close to death. Agents quickly rushed him to ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital for treatment.
“Although we would have supported a stiffer sentence, we are at least gratified to know that Raghunath now has a criminal record,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “We can only hope this experience was sufficiently sobering for Mr. Raghunath, and that he will not victimize other helpless animals.”
As for Leo, after three months of intensive care, he made a full recovery and was adopted by a loving family from New Jersey.
This guest blog is written by Lourdes Cabrera, proud pet parent of Milo.
We remember it as if it was yesterday. A friend sent us a photograph of a scruffy, scraggly, skinny black kitten with ears too big for his small head. As a matter of fact, he looked like a bat. His name was Mr. Scruffy.
My husband was allergic to cats, so we knew we couldn't keep him. Plus, we already had two rescue dogs who took up a lot of room in our modestly-sized apartment. But there was just something about his little face, and I kept looking at the photos. I also kept throwing hints at my husband…but the answer was always a firm, "NO!"
Despite all of this, I kept checking on the kitten’s progress through emails. After a few weeks, my friend became worried that she wouldn't be able to find him a good home. I became determined to convince my husband that we should take in Mr. Scruffy. Even if it meant he'd have to go through an allergy regimen.
Luck was on my side. That or my husband eventually grew tired of my reminders and pleadings. Either way, he finally gave in. One day he turned to me and said, "FINE, you can have the cat, but I'm not changing any litter!"
The very next day we picked up Mr. Scruffy. The moment my husband saw him, it was love at first sight. He went to the doctor, got a prescription for allergy pills, and that was that. Milo, as we renamed him, became an important member of our family—and my husband’s best friend. Milo grew into a wondrous, regal, appreciative cat.
Today, Milo is going on three years young. We can't imagine our lives without him. And, just for the record, my husband has been changing his litter for three years!
Shame on Skechers: The mega-shoe company recently filmed its new Super Bowl ad at an Arizona Greyhound track. The soon-to-be-released ad features a small French Bulldog wearing Skechers sneakers and competing against Greyhounds at Tucson Greyhound Park. The small dog wins.
Unfortunately, we know the same cannot be said for racing Greyhounds. Just last month, GREY2K USA, with funding from the ASPCA, released a report detailing the horrific conditions of race dogs in Florida. Dogs are confined in small cages for 20 hours or more a day, often wearing muzzles; they are bred excessively in the quest for good runners, with the “excess” puppies killed or otherwise discarded; and they regularly endure serious and fatal injuries. You can access a copy of the report here [PDF].
Take Action! Animal lovers across the nation are demanding Skechers pull the ad or suffer a major boycott of the company. To date, nearly 50,000 advocates have already signed a petition voicing this demand. For more information and to add your name to the petition, please visit ASPCA partner organization GREY2K USA.
Brr…winter’s chill may have settled in your neighborhood, but Fido still needs to go out for walks. Please take it slow, pet parents, and keep your eyes open for suspicious puddles.
ASPCA poison control experts warn that the toxic dangers of antifreeze can turn a simple stroll into a devastating event for our furry friends. Used to protect cars from extreme temperatures, antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a colorless and odorless alcohol known for its sweet taste.
“Antifreeze is a serious safety concern for both cats and dogs,” says Mindy Bough, Vice President of Operations for the ASPCAAnimal Poison Control Center. “Unfortunately, just a few licks can cause kidney failure and death in a matter of days—even a small amount that may be licked off a paw is enough to cause serious harm.”
As always, if you suspect your pet has consumed a toxic substance, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.