Thursday, July 9, 2009

Experts say dog fighting busts only scratch surface

"The 300 pit bulls seized in Wednesday’s raids are being treated at animal shelters. Experts doubt that most will recover from the trauma."

WHO are these fucking experts????!!!!!!??

Hannibal, MO —

Animal welfare experts call the multi-state breakup of a dog fighting ring just the tip of the iceberg.

A man from Hannibal and another from Foley are among 30 people arrested in six states Wednesday in what federal authorities called the largest bust of its kind in the nation.

As the Courier-Post first reported Thursday, an estimated 300 pit bulls were seized as part of the investigation.

“We hope this sends a very big message to people who participate in this so-called sport that dog fighting will not be tolerated,” said Jeane Jae of the Missouri Humane Society.

Unfortunately, observers said, that may be wishful thinking.

Even though it’s banned in all 50 states, dog fighting is a lucrative venture.
“There’s a lot of money involved,” said Kurt Groenda of the Northeast Missouri Humane Society shelter in Hannibal. “From what I understand, there’s thousands and thousands of dollars involved.”

Federal authorities estimate 40,000 people nationwide are involved in organized professional dog fighting.

Another 100,000 people are believed to participate in informal “street fights” that are harder to catch.

“Dog fighting is pervasive in the United States,” Jae said. “Our main concern is that we abhor that animals are used in this fashion.”

The Website www.pet-abuse.com keeps a database of animal abuse cases around the nation. It has logged more than 15,000 since 2001.

Dog fighting got national attention in 2007 when Atlanta Falcons football quarterback Michael Vick was indicted.

Vick is now completing the last two months of an almost two-year sentence for operating a dog fighting ring.

The 300 pit bulls seized in Wednesday’s raids are being treated at animal shelters. Experts doubt that most will recover from the trauma.

Groenda said the Hannibal shelter has seen only one animal in the last three years that showed signs of being involved in fights.

The shelter does receive a number of pit bulls, but doesn’t adopt them out. Instead, the animals are turned over to a rescue service.

“It’s really tough to find a place for pit bulls to go,” Groenda said. “You’re kind of taking a chance on them.”

Morgan, 38, and Hackman, 55, each are charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit federal offenses.

Morgan, whom authorities say was nicknamed “Missouri Mike,” also is accused of violating the federal law against animal-fighting ventures.

The U.S. Attorney’s office claims Morgan ran “Cannibal Kennel” along Columbus Trail just south of Hannibal and that Hackman ran “Shake, Rattle and Roll Kennel” near Foley to provide pit bulls for fights.

Court records show Hackman was arrested June 24 by Lincoln County authorities on five misdemeanor counts of animal neglect from incidents that allegedly took place on Aug. 26, 2008.

The case is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. Aug. 4.

The Humane Society is accepting donations of large box fans, sheets, full-size towels, blankets, shredded paper, newspaper, creamy peanut butter and sturdy toys.
“Pet lovers are some of the most generous people in the world,” Jae said. “We’re really happy they are supporting us in this effort.”

More information is available by contacting the agency at www.hsmo.org or calling (314) 647-8800.