ASPCA Forensic Veterinarian Aids in 2nd Major Dog Fighting Raid in Georgia

Nation’s First Humane Organization Assists HSUS and State Agencies in Investigation
July 18, 2008

NEW YORK, July 18, 2008—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it was again part of a team of agencies, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as well as the Appalachian Circuit District Attorney’s office and Norred & Associates, which participated in a raid of an alleged dogfighting operation “Mountain Swamp Kennels” making it the second such raid in Georgia this month. Albert Glenn White, the apparent owner of the operation, was arrested and charged with approximately 22 counts of felony dogfighting.

“The ASPCA is proud to have assisted in another important dogfighting bust,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “HSUS should be applauded for their thorough investigation, and we are glad to have lent the veterinary forensics expertise of our own Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premiere ‘Animal CSI.’”

Authorities found three dogfighting pits on the property and seized 22 dogs, several of them scarred, along with paraphernalia consistent with dogfighting. Dr. Melinda Merck, the ASPCA’s senior director of Veterinary Forensics, and Felicia Earley, an anti-cruelty veterinary assistant with the ASPCA, were part of the elite team of animal welfare professionals involved. The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, was also on-site to allow Dr. Merck to examine and care for any victims immediately, as well as gather and process all of the forensic evidence right at the scene. A “forensics first,” the mobile unit is specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensics tools as well as medical equipment tailored for animal patients.

“It was a privilege to work with HSUS again for this latest investigation,” said Dr. Merck. “We are sending a clear message to dogfighters that we will continue to use any and all resources we have to uncover their illegal operations and bring justice for these animals. This collaborative effort is a shining example of our ongoing fight against animal cruelty.”

Today’s raid marks the second Ga. dogfighting bust since the May 10 passage of new legislation signed by Governor Sonny Purdue, which strengthened the state's dogfighting law, making it a felony to own, possess, train, transport or sell a dog for the purpose of dogfighting. White is reportedly an influential figure in the underground dogfighting circuit and is the breeder of several pit bull bloodlines that are cherished by dogfighters.

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