Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ASPCA Makes The Largest Dog Fighting Bust Ever

Largest Dog Fighting Operation in U.S. History Raided by State & Federal Agencies With Assistance From ASPCA

ASPCA Dispatches Forensics, Vet Care and Behavior Evaluation Teams to Sites in Missouri, Illinois

NEW YORK, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What is believed to be the largest dog fighting operation in U.S. history was raided early Wednesday in an effort that included federal and state agencies, with the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) assisting.

At the request of the Humane Society of Missouri, the ASPCA, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, United States Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, The U.S. Marshals Service and the United States Attorney, is collaborating in the rescue, veterinary care, and forensics evidence collection of dogs associated with multiple suspected dog fighting operations. The ASPCA will also be assisting in behavior evaluations of the dogs.

The dog fighting operation is believed to have spanned five states and included arrests in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma. Dogs are being safely transported to a secure facility under the direction of the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force, where they will be cared for until final disposition is determined by the United States District Court.

"The ASPCA is determined to protect its nation's pets from dog fighting and other forms of brutality," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated, and we are proud to lend our support to federal and local agencies to ensure that these abusers are brought to justice."

The ASPCA is collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case, as well as lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team, comprised of disaster animal rescuers, field service investigators, and Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation's premier forensic veterinarian. More than a dozen responders from the ASPCA's Disaster Response team are in the field, along with the ASPCA's "Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit," a critical tool in the collection and processing of evidence at crime scenes. The CSI unit brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and expertise to crime scenes and is outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients.

"The ASPCA's Mobile Animal CSI unit is an important component in the effort against animal cruelty," said Laura Maloney, Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty Initiatives for the ASPCA. "This technology allows the ASPCA to strengthen cases against animal abusers and seek justice for their victims."

About the ASPCA(R)

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA(R) (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(R)) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit

About the ASPCA's "Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit"

The ASPCA's "Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit," the nation's first, was unveiled in December 2007. A "forensics first," the "Animal CSI" vehicle was created to significantly advance the prosecution of animal cruelty and help strengthen cases against offenders by incorporating the emerging field of veterinary forensics in crime scene investigations. It also provides a proven chain of custody for law enforcement, thus ensuring the integrity of the evidence, and helps reduce the stress placed on the animals that are the innocent "collateral victims."

Here are some of the names in today's bust:
Rick P.Hihath 55 of St.Joseph, Mo.
Cris E.Bottcher 48 of Gilman City, Mo.
Julio Reyes 28 of Tecumseh,Neb.
Jill D. Makstaller 43 of Perry,Iowa
Zachary R.Connelly 32 of Ogden,Iowa
Kevin P.Tasler 51 of Jefferson, Iowa
and Ryan J. Tasler 42 of Woodward,Iowa

Read more of this article here.

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