The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama concluded sentencing today for eight individuals arrested during the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history in August 2013. The case was led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who requested assistance from the ASPCA and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) in the removal, transport, sheltering, medical and daily care of the animals seized during the raid. Sentences ranged from six months to eight years—which is the longest prison term ever handed down in a federal dog fighting case.
Throughout the hearing, U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins commented on the extreme cruelty committed both due to dog fighting and the conditions in which these dogs were forced to live. Judge Watkins further reiterated that the federal sentencing guidelines for dog fighting are wholly inadequate to address the seriousness of the crime. He estimated that the defendants had injured or killed between 420 to 640 dogs in the course of this dog fighting operation.
“These dogs lived in deplorable conditions, were emaciated, had parasites, ear infections, eye infections, heartworms, fleas and ticks,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. “Their living conditions constituted extraordinary cruelty. These dogs were also made to fight and, if they lost the fight, they were killed. I hope that these sentences demonstrate the seriousness of this crime and will deter others from committing these atrocities.”
Judge Watkins also ordered that after their release from prison, each defendant serve a three-year term of supervised release. While on supervised release, the defendants are prohibited from possessing dogs.
“This is truly a landmark case for the animal welfare community,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, who testified at the hearings. “We hope this case serves as a precedent for future dog fighting cases and sends a message to dog fighters everywhere that this crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
On August 23, 2013, The ASPCA and HSUS assisted the United States Attorney’s Office and FBI in seizing hundreds of dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Many of the dogs seized during this case have finally moved on to the second chapters of their lives and were placed with various rescue groups across the country to be made available for adoption.
We believe that there will come a time when dog fighting is seen for what it really is: the shameful pastime of cowards. But until that day comes, we will continue to fight for the victims—so that they never have to fight again.
Attention animal lovers: November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we’d love for you to consider giving a home to an older cat or dog in need. Animal shelters across the country are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages, but senior pets are typically the most difficult to place.
We’re on the brink of the holiday season, and we can’t think of a better time to provide a home for a shelter pet. Visit our Adopt section to find available senior dogs and cats near you, and help one less animal spend the holiday season in a shelter.
Are you the proud parent of a senior pet? Tell us in the comments!
November is Senior Pet Month at the ASPCA! To celebrate, we’ll be featuring some of our favorite adoptable senior pets all month long.
Snuggles is a sweet and social cat who enjoys lots of attention from her favorite people. This low maintenance girl loves to sleep and is happiest when snoozing on the couch by your side—but bring out her favorite toys and a few yummy treats, and she’ll be ready for playtime in no time!
Although Snuggles loves affection, she prefers not be picked up. We think she may become more comfortable with handling once she’s settled into her new home. This special girl suffers from a few medical conditions, but our Adoptions team is available to walk you through the best ways to manage her health needs. Snuggles would be thrilled to have your attention all to herself and would do best as the only cat in the household. Adopt Snuggles today!
Snuggles is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Snuggles, please visit her profile page.
For a one-year-old Shih Tzu named Cosita, life wasn’t always easy. Purchased from a pet store and then neglected for nearly a year, Cosita was suffering from a number of physical and emotional ailments by the time she was rescued by the ASPCA. But despite it all, this petite pup had a lot of love to give—and fortunately, she found the perfect person to give it to. Here is Cosita’s Happy Tail.
Cosita was born in July 2013. As a young puppy, she was sold to a pet store where she was purchased by her first owner; it is likely that she came from a puppy mill. In her first year of life, Cosita was neglected so severely that her fur became matted and she developed a serious skin disease. She was scared, frightened and lonely until the ASPCA rescued her in July 2014.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Cosita needed several surgeries to repair her wounded skin tissue, including the partial amputation of her tail. In addition, an untreated eye condition called KCS left her with deficient tear production and chronic dry eyes. To alleviate her discomfort, she was put on a daily regimen of prescription eye drops.
Because of all she had been through, Cosita displayed some fear around new people. She didn’t like to be touched on certain parts of her body, and she growled at strangers. But the 7-pound pooch’s problems weren’t enough to hide her sweet heart, and adopter Adam G. was determined to earn her trust.
Adam met Cosita at the end of August, nearly two months after her arrival at the ASPCA. A lifelong animal lover, he had come to the Adoption Center seeking “a partner in crime to take care of and spend time with every day.” Rather than being intimidated by Cosita’s issues, he saw them as something that could bring them together. “I knew she was for me because we both have allergies, a noticeable scar, and she looked like a curious friendly clown when I saw her for the first time, tilting her head side to side,” he recalls. He adopted her the same day he met her and vowed to give her the happy life she so clearly deserved.
Once home, Adam changed Cosita’s name to Cookie, and in the last eight weeks they have become inseparable. Cookie quickly learned to trust Adam and, thanks to his kindness and patience, seems to have forgotten her sad past entirely. Adam tells us, “Cookie loves to snuggle, be rubbed on her tummy, chew on her bone, hide her toys, and follow me everywhere.”
After all Cookie has been through, we are so thrilled that the sweet dog has found a loving “forever home.” It takes a special kind of adopter to help an animal work through her fears, and Adam has done an incredible job. And not only is she a happy and playful partner for Adam, she is also, as he says, “So freaking cute!!”