Alabama Dogfighting Operation Raided

ASPCA Forensic Veterinarian Examines Dogs, Skeletal Remains, Discovered in Two Alabama Towns
June 1, 2009

NEW YORK—A suspected dogfighting operation that spanned two towns in Randolph County, Ala. was raided early Monday by Alabama’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, in collaboration with The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Humane Society of the United States. Authorities have seized 45 dogs and found skeletal remains, as well as evidence consistent with dogfighting, on the scene.

The ASPCA’s forensic veterinarian, Dr. Melinda Merck, is examining and documenting injuries and conditions of dogs that were seized in the towns of Roanoke and Wedowee. She is also examining partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found in Roanoke. Evidence Dr. Merck collects from the crime scene will aid in the prosecution of the case.

“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dogfighters,” said Dr. Merck, senior director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another that is limping, and many that are injured, some severely.  Our hope is that the forensic evidence collected will help us seek justice for all of these animals.”

Dogs were discovered on heavy chains and have scars, untreated injuries and wound patterns indicative of fighting. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dogfighting have been discovered.
“Forensic evidence does not lie,” said Laura Maloney, senior vice president of Anti-Cruelty Initiatives for the ASPCA. “Dr. Merck’s unparalleled expertise and tools, combined with the capabilities of the ASPCA’s Animal CSI Unit, means these animal abusers cannot hide.”