On April 3, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Alex Dykes, 49, for allegedly beating his one-year-old male Shih Tzu mix, Bentley. In September, our agents visited Dykes’ Brooklyn home to investigate a complaint that a dog had been beaten and needed immediate help.
At the residence, Agents found poor Bentley in pain, and they knew something was wrong. They transported him to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for treatment. Our vets treated Bentley with oxygen immediately, ultimately concluding he had a brain hemorrhage and a fractured skull and jaw due to blunt force trauma. He is now recuperating in a foster home.
Dykes was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Looking at Bentley’s sweet face, we have to wonder: Who could do this to an animal?
In late March, the ASPCA played a critical role in a three-state dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of nearly 100 animals. A few weeks after this intricately coordinated effort to rescue dogs in Texas, Missouri and Kansas went off without a hitch, we’re able to update you on the dogs and the dog fighters.
When we found these dogs, many were doomed to live their whole lives tethered by heavy chains—and on the day of the raid, many were left outside to suffer through a blizzard. Now, says ASPCA Vice President of Field Investigations and Response Tim Rickey, they’re living in an entirely different world.
When the dogs arrived at our temporary shelter, our veterinary professionals, led by the ASPCA’s Dr. Sarah Kirk, examined them quickly and thoroughly. Some dogs needed immediate care, while others require ongoing treatment which they are now receiving from ASPCA and local veterinarians.
An ASPCA behaviorist will be on the ground at the shelter throughout this operation, and while the dogs stay in our clean and spacious shelter, they will benefit from behavioral enrichment programs that incorporate toys, games and lots of fun interactions with people. The dogs will have regular access to one of several large exercise playpens, where they’ll get to play with our responders and burn off excess doggy energy.
“Every day,” Rickey says, “we’re focusing on taking care of these animals and providing the best environment that we can for them.”
The ASPCA continues to work to collect evidence and provide other support to law enforcement, working to ensure dog fighters pay for harming these animal victims. The charges are just starting to roll in:
Last week Pete Davis Jr. and Melvin L. Robinson, both of Kansas City, Kansas, were each charged in federal court with one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture in interstate commerce. If convicted, they face up to five years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
“The case is not over yet—there’s still a lot of work to be done on the investigation side,” says Rickey, adding that he hopes to see more arrests in relation to this raid.
The ASPCA had been assisting the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies with the planning of this large-scale raid since November 2012. ASPCA Blood Sports Director Terry Mills provided his expertise to help these agencies maximize the operation’s impact. Our next steps: continuing to provide top-notch care for these animals and working with authorities to secure the right to place dogs in loving homes.
If you’ve given to the ASPCA recently, from the bottom of our hearts: thank you. This raid is an enormous undertaking and a huge commitment, but we are dedicated to being there for animal victims of cruelty whenever they need us. If you haven’t yet given lately, please consider doing so today. On behalf of animals across the country, thank you!
“Banjo was listed as extremely shy when I received his behavioral report. Upon bringing him into our home with Rhubarb [his dog brother] as a guide, he is a total social butterfly! Rhubarb and Banjo play wonderfully together, and not only has he learned from my teachings, he is learning from Rhubarb! They love to take naps together and drinking water at the same time— it’s so sweet to watch them scurry around together. We love Banjo very much and are so happy to have such a beautiful little puppy added to our family!”
Murphy (formerly known as Monika)
Adopter: Casey K.
“After meeting with one of the behaviorists, we were introduced to Murphy—she is playful, sweet, curious, and just a really great pup overall. It was love at first sight, and each day we are all falling more in love with her. She is a very happy, playful puppy. Many friends have come to say hello to her, and each day she become more bold and curious with us and her surroundings. She is very relaxed and often will fall asleep on her back and loves having her tummy rubbed. We are deeply grateful that she has come into our lives.”
Emily (formerly known as Emilie)
Adopter: Nicole D.
“My husband Tom, our 2.5-year-old Dachshund, Eli, and I walked to the ASPCA in hopes of adopting a little brother or sister for Eli. We picked out Emily, as she reminded us a lot of Eli, with the spots on her head and her fuzzy ears. When the two dogs met, it was clear that this was the start of what would become a long and beautiful friendship. Although Emily is still quite shy around my husband and me, she is learning from Eli, and I know with time, she will come out of her shell and realize all the love that surrounds her.”
Marcel (formerly known as Dieter)
Adopter: Melanie S.
“After losing my childhood pet two years ago—a Lab/Basset mix—I started to really miss the warmth and energy of a dog in my life. I love Dachshunds and was spending all of my free time searching rescue websites. Finally, I heard about the puppies at the ASPCA and ran over. Marcel is adjusting at lightning speed! His first night he stayed in the back of his crate, and shook for several minutes in each new setting. Now, as much as he loves his crate, he comes out to find me to play fetch!”
Roxy (formerly known as Katja)
Adopter: Nicole A.
“My husband and I have been looking for a dog for a little while now, and when we came across Roxy’s picture online we instantly fell in love. At that moment, we rushed down to the ASPCA and set up a meet and greet with Roxy. She was everything we hoped for and more. Roxy has a great personality, loves to play, and is already our best friend. She is definitely at home and is learning more and more each day. We are so excited to have her be a part of our family.”
Hailey (formerly known as Anja)
Adopter: Brittney H.
“I saw Hailey’s picture on Petfinder and fell in love instantly! She is doing excellent! Hailey has an older dog sister named Lola, and they love to play and snuggle together. She does have major separation anxiety, which is completely understandable, but we are working on breaking her out of that. Otherwise, she is doing awesome! I love her!”
Coco (formerly known as Silke)
Adopter: Maria G.
“I was looking at the ASPCA website on a Friday evening, saw all the puppies and dogs for adoption, and decided to come down to the Adoption Center that Saturday morning. I came to the ASPCA with my daughter, and we both decided that Silke was the one for us. She has her own room, and she has brought joy and happiness to us both! Silke, whom we have renamed Coco Chanel, has adjusted very well. She's my little superstar. We love and adore her.”
Mother Nature wasn’t on our side when she sent a deadly blizzard to hammer Kansas and Missouri earlier this week. The heavy snow snapped tree branches and left more than 100,000 Midwesterners without power. At least two deaths were blamed on the off-season storm.
“The weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but we weren’t about to give up on these dogs,” reports Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team. “It’s our job to provide these animals with the best possible care, and our responders are trained to handle obstacles as they arise.”
The dogs were rescued after search warrants were executed by the FBI in Kansas,Missouri and Texas. The animals were found outside in freezing temperatures.
For more information about this unfolding case, please stay tuned to aspcarescue.org.
We’re still on the ground helping care for the canine victims rescued during a multi-state dog fighting bust that occurred in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. The ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team managed the removal and transport of nearly 100 dogs on Saturday and Sunday, during a spring snowstorm that made the rescue even more difficult for both the victims and responders.
What happens during a large-scale raid like the one that went down this weekend? Read Anatomy of a Raid for all the details. And stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more information and photos from this unfolding case.