The owner of a pit bull terrier dog kennel on Mertie Road in Millers Creek charged with felony dog fighting and baiting Wednesday maintains his innocence.
In an interview today, Edward A. Faron said he was a victim of entrapment, referring to two men who came to his house Monday and said they wanted to buy pit bulls for dog fighting. Faron, 61, said he now realized the two men were undercover officers.
Needing money due to difficult economic conditions, said Faron, “I took the bait and started telling them what I thought they wanted to hear” when they asked for dogs for fighting.
Faron said he otherwise didn’t knowingly sell dogs for fighting. Authorities haven’t said that they believe organized dog fights occurred on Faron’s property on Mertie Road.
Although he was convicted of dog fighting and sentenced to a year in jail in Alamance County in June 1989, Faron said he didn’t engage in that illegal activity now. He also said he didn’t knowingly sell dogs for fighting.
Faron emphasized the good care provided for the 127 pit bulls seized Wednesday at his Wildside Kennels.
He said one of the dogs seized, a male named Vadar, had scars from being in dog fights before he bought the dog. He said another one, a male named Popeye, received an eye injury from a tree root while digging in the ground.
Faron, originally from Ohio, said he became involved with training dogs when he returned to the United States after serving in the Vietnam War in 1970. He said he started breeding pit bulls in 1987 and started Wildside Kennels after moving to Millers Creek in 1996.
According to county records, Faron has owned about 17 acres on Mertie Road since 1998 and an adjoining 7.4 acres since 2001. The property is about three miles from where Mertie Road intersects with Vannoy Road and about five miles from where Mertie Road intersects with N.C. 18 North.
A MySpace website has videos showing pit bulls and other scenes at Wildside Kennels. It also features Faron and Donni “Don” Juan Casanova, one of the other two people charged with felony dog fighting and baiting Wednesday, talking about the kennels. Faron said he is the legal guardian for Casanova, who turns 19 this month.
A website for Wildside Kennels, at www.renegadewebdesign.net, states, “No dogs bred, raised or sold for illegal purposes!” and lists extensive pedigree information for pit bulls at the kennel.
Faron said he sells pit bull puppies for an average of $500 each. Wilkes Sheriff Dane Mastin said authorities believe Faron sold dogs for around $1,200 to $7,500 each.
He said he also started the Appalachian Pit Bull Club, which he said has dog shows at the Taylorsville Lions Club Park in Taylorsville.
After the Humane Society of the United States released news of the seizure of the 127 dogs and the charges against Faron and two other people Thursday morning, numerous people involved with pit bulls indicated their support of Faron and their belief in his innocence on Internet blogs.
Kimberley Thomson of the Pender County town of Hampstead, who bought a pit bull from Faron and entered pit bulls in dog shows, said she opposed dog fighting and didn’t believe Faron was involved in that illegal activity.
In an e-mail to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Ms. Thomson called Faron “a very compassionate, good hearted, dog loving breeder. I’ve seen for myself how much his animals love him. I’ve watched him hobble with his bad knees into their lots to love on them, as their tails wag so hard and they drench his face with kisses.”
She added, “We show UKC/ADBA registered American pit bull terriers for conformation. We do not associate with dog fighters. I abhor the practice and would not keep company with anyone who gave me the slightest inclination that they fought or sold fighting dogs, as I love this breed far too much. I’ve grown to love and admire Ed Faron personally as well as professionally. He breeds for conformation excellence and has a great love for the breed.
She called Faron “a walking book of information” about pit bulls.
“When you see over and over again the American pit bull terrier breeders being accused, uprooted, losing their livelihood and their animals destroyed, you’ve got to wonder what the ‘real’ agenda of HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.) is,” she said.
Referring to people acquitted in other dog fighting cases, Ms. Thomson said she believed the HSUS’ goal was “to abolish this amazing breed.”