JennKBM wrote:Even more disgusting...
Why? She knew the dogs were there, she knew the conditions they were in, she knew what they were being bred and sold for and she profited from their suffering.
She SHOULD be held accountable.
JennKBM wrote:Even more disgusting...
julie k wrote:Where the H is Cesar Milan when you need him?!!
Just heard on the news that the owner is being charged for their care while they are at the Humane Society, a huge amount of money.
JennKBM wrote:However, I do feel sympathy for a wife (ANY WIFE), and her children that have to sit tied up while their loved one bleeds to death, and not being able to help. I can't imagine the horror she felt that night, not only her, but their children.
Court orders most of 285 pit bulls to be put to death
By CINDY HORSWELL
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Most of the 285 pit bull terriers seized from what authorities said was a nationwide breeding operation for dogfighting were ordered euthanized Thursday.
If carried out, it would be the largest number of dogs seized by the Houston Humane Society ever put to death, a spokeswoman said.
Liberty County Justice of the Peace Phil Fitzgerald issued the euthanasia order after a hearing in which a veterinarian testified that pit bulls trained for fighting usually cannot be rehabilitated as pets.
The only exception in Fitzgerald's order was for puppies under 6 months of age, which the veterinarian said could be reformed. Fitzgerald ordered pups under 6 months of age â€” about 60 of the seized dogs â€” to be sold at public auction.
If nobody buys the pups, they are to be put up for adoption through the Humane Society, the judge said.
The pit bull breeding facility was uncovered Aug. 2, when authorities were dispatched to a 23-acre spread near Cleveland to investigate a fatal home invasion. According to investigators, Thomas F. Weigner Jr., 27, bled to death after being shot in the leg by three masked intruders. His wife, Julie Laban, their three children and her parents witnessed the shooting while bound with tape.
The intruders searched the property, presumably for large sums of money they believed hidden in the brick home, investigators said, but left without harming Weigner's other family members.
Dog auction a bit unusual
"It's unusual to have an auction for dogs. This is something that you generally see for cattle or horses," said Courtney Frank, Houston Humane Society spokeswoman.
The judge also barred the puppies to be auctioned from being neutered or spayed, but Frank said that conflicts with a state law ordering such procedures on any animal leaving the Humane Society or shelter.
"We're trying to research how this should be handled," she said.
The case broke the record for the number of dogs taken into custody by the Houston Humane Society, and if they are euthanized, that also will set a record, Frank said. The previous record seizure occurred in February of 2005, when more than 200 dogs of various breeds were seized from a "puppy mill" in Tyler County, she said.
"But a majority of those were adopted out and only about 75 to 100 had to be put down," she said.
Since the Liberty County seizure, the Humane Society has had trouble with individuals trying to break in and find these dogs, Frank said. Officials said Weigner had a reputation in dogfighting circles of having valuable breeding stock, with investigators putting the seizure's worth at as much as $1 million.
"We've also had a lot of people whose hearts have been touched and want to adopt these dogs," Frank said. Laban was not present for Thursday's hearing, but was represented by attorney Dick Wheelan, of Houston.
Wheelan said Laban has denied the pit bulls were being bred to fight.
He described her as a widow still reeling from her husband's death and afraid to return from Michigan, where she went to bury him because of the threat of her possible arrest in the dogfighting investigation.
Because the estate has not been probated, Wheelan said his client was unable to post the $28,000 bond for a delay in the proceeding so he could examine the dogs and mount a defense.
Wheelan asked for another delay Thursday, but the judge denied it.
"She did not even bother to show up on her own behalf today," Assistant County Attorney Mark Beausoleil said, adding Laban also failed to produce any veterinary records for the animals.
During the hearing, Wheelan called no witnesses. In his closing argument, he argued Laban may not have been aware of the breeding operation and, therefore, should not be held accountable nor prevented from receiving her rightful inheritance from her spouse's estate.
Beausoleil introduced 33 pieces of evidence, including numerous photographs he said showed evidence of cruel treatment and that they possibly were being bred to fight.
He pointed to chains hanging from a treadmill and a large tank with 6-foot walls, in which a dog would be placed to swim and could not escape, that he said were used for endurance training.
Many of the dogs were staked on short chains in circular muddy patches, just close enough to constantly squabble but not touch each other, which an investigator said was a common method for teaching aggression.
No shelter, no water
The Humane Society's chief veterinarian, Dr. Timothy Harkness, and animal cruelty investigator, Mark Timmers, testified the dogs were also severely neglected, noting five had died since coming into their custody.
Some of the animals had no place to go to escape the weather, many were staked in flooded areas, and some had no water or only contaminated water available, they said.
They also said food appeared to have been thrown on the ground, sometimes out of reach of dogs whose ribs were showing by the time they were seized.
Other prevalent medical problems included hair loss, eye infections and parasitic worms.
"That many dogs would produce a ton of fecal matter a week," Harkness said. "A lot ended up everywhere. All over the dogs' fur and chains."
Wheelan said he will discuss with his client whether to appeal Fitzgerald's order.
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