These dogs’ lives were very different just one year ago. On June 21, 2012, we found them living in the dark, dirty basement of a six-story apartment building complete with a makeshift fighting arena, dog treadmills and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
For months, ASPCA responders provided the dogs with extensive socialization, a healthy diet, medical care and exercise at a temporary shelter. Our goal was to prepare the dogs for adoption into loving homes, and give them a second chance to enjoy the rest of their lives free of pain and suffering. We’ve told you some of their stories. Watch the whole story and an interview with Unicorn’s adoring pet parents:
The Bronx dogs’ owner, Raul Sanchez, who pleaded guilty to dog fighting earlier this year, was sentenced to one to three years for animal fighting, one year for animal cruelty and one year for criminal possession of a weapon.
The ASPCA is assisting in the forensic evidence collection, removal, transport and sheltering of more than 60 fighting roosters from a property in Spencer, Indiana. Other animals including dogs and farm animals were also seized from the property. We’re assisting at the request of the Indiana Gaming Commission, the Gaming Control Division and the Monroe County Humane Association.
At the property this morning, responders discovered rooster remains and roosters showing signs of starvation and other conditions requiring medical attention. The roosters were housed in outdoor pens or tethered outside with no access to water.
The animals were transferred to a temporary shelter where they will receive veterinary care from the ASPCA’s medical team. ASPCA veterinary technicians, animal handlers and responders are also assisting on the scene and at the temporary shelter.
A search warrant, issued by Owen County Circuit Court, was executed Wednesday morning for the removal of the birds, as was an arrest warrant for Jeffrey Russell Pierce, 26. Pierce was arrested on charges of possession of fighting animals, promoting an animal fighting contest and possession of animal fighting paraphernalia.
In Indiana, cockfighting and the possession of birds for fighting are Class D felonies, each punishable by up to three years in a state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Possession of implements is a Class B misdemeanor with up to 180 days in a state jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
The ASPCA is also assisting the Indiana Gaming Control Division in documenting animal related evidence for the criminal case and lending the services of its Field Investigations and Response and Veterinary Forensics teams. The Indiana State Police, the Indiana Board of Animal Health and the Owen County Prosecutor are also assisting in the operation.
“Cockfighting is a brutal blood sport where the unwilling participants—the roosters—are forced to fight, often to the death, for the entertainment and financial gain of their owners,” says Terry Mills, Director of Blood Sports for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “The ASPCA is proud to lend our expertise in animal fighting and forensic evidence collection to local authorities to help put an end to this disturbing activity and secure justice for the animal victims.”
In March, the ASPCA assisted local law enforcement, the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in a multistate dog fighting investigation that resulted in the seizure of nearly 100 animals from multiple locations in Missouri, Kansas and Texas. Since then, an ASPCA team has been working around the clock to care for the rescued animals. We’ve also been fighting for justice.
That’s why we’re pleased that yesterday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, Pete Davis Jr., 38, and Melvin Robinson, 42, each pleaded guilty to one count of transporting dogs to participate in animal fighting. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9. Charges for a defendant in Texas are pending.
As a result of the hearing, dogs seized from the defendants’ properties in Missouri will be signed over to the ASPCA. We will explore placement options with various rescue groups. Dogs placed with ASPCA response partner shelters after this hearing will be the second group from the case to be placed for adoption.
Last week the ASPCA helped remove more than 150 dogs from a large-scale, substandard breeding facility in Michigan. Just one week later, we’re happy to report we’ve been able to place the dogs with our amazing shelter partners. Midwest: That means some of these dogs could be in a shelter near you!
The following response partners accepted dogs from this case:
• Roscommon County Animal Shelter of Prudenville, Michigan • Medina County SPCA of Medina, Ohio • Animal Humane Society of Golden Valley, Minnesota • Kent County Animal Control of Grand Rapids, Michigan • Humane Society of West Michigan of Grand Rapids, Michigan • Michigan Humane Society of Rochester Hills, Michigan • HANDDS of Traverse City, Michigan
Some of the more fearful and undersocialized dogs have been transferred to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, for further treatment.
Before the transports, ASPCA responders cared for and provided the dogs with veterinary services at the Roscommon County Animal Shelter. Each dog was carefully evaluated by the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team before being transferred to the rescue groups.
“Thanks to our accommodating partner shelters, we were able to find placement for all of these dogs in just one week,” says Kathryn Destreza, Director of Investigations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “These dogs have been living in miserable conditions their entire lives. We are excited to see them move on to shelters so quickly, and soon, to loving homes.”
Tinker’s family was at work when the tornado hit and destroyed their home. After visiting two shelters searching for their precious pooch and almost losing hope, the family visited OK Humane, where their beloved pup was waiting for them.
This Memorial Day weekend was one of healing and hope for the residents of Moore, Oklahoma. The ASPCA saw the community’s incredible resilience firsthand as many of our responders spent the weekend on the ground in Oklahoma City assisting the heroic sheltering and rescue efforts of Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane).
The ASPCA was happy to lend a hand to OK Humane and provide extra staffing to handle the influx of animals affected by this disaster. In what was truly a joint effort, we also enlisted the support of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Code 3 Associates Animal Disaster Response, RedRover, and SAWA (Society of Animal Welfare Administrators) to help OK Humane.
We are thrilled to report that dozens of reunions occurred over the weekend, as people who lost everything came to OK Humane and found missing family members. Here are just a few of those heartwarming moments:
Tasha the Pomeranian, another tornado survivor, gets a big hug from her human sister on May 25 at OK Humane.
Porkchop and Asia (pictured above) were brought to OK Humane as strays shortly after the tornado. They were reunited with their pet parents over the weekend.
Chance, a handsome Boxer, suffered facial fractures and a deep wound on his leg as a result of the storm. Over the weekend, Chance was reunited with his guardian at OK Humane after their home was completely destroyed by the tornado. Here he is pictured with ASPCA Director of Planning and Field Operations Joel Lopez.
To learn how you can help pets and people impacted by the Moore tornado, please visit OKHumane.org.