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Pit bull fighting a concern in the Lubbock area

Dogfighting in the Lubbock area is an issue, depending on who you talk to.

Police say they haven’t had any recent calls on dogfighting activities, but local Humane Society representatives say they get frequent calls and see signs of possible dogfighting right in the heart of Lubbock.

Sgt. Jonathan Stewart of the Lubbock Police Department says there haven’t been any recent calls on dogfighting and there has been no indication of “organized fights.”

There have been times when police find a stray dogs having marks or scars on their bodies, but there is no proof the dogs were involved in organized fighting activities, Stewart said.

However, the president of the Lubbock Humane Society, Mary Hatfield, says she’s seen areas in the heart of Lubbock where a pit bull is tied to a light pole on one side of the street and another one tied on the opposite side.

“It looks like a sign that there is a dogfight somewhere near but you can’t really tell,” said Hatfield.

Lauren Cline, one of the founders of Saving Grace Pit Bull Rescue, says she’s only had one incident where dogs were rescued from a fighting situation, and that was eight years ago.

After doing a little research, she found the majority of pit bull-type dogs come from ZIP codes 79403, 79404, 79415 and 79416.

“I know it goes on, but I do not feel it is extremely prevalent,” Cline said. “I wish it did not happen at all. I wish the abuse that goes along with it didn’t exist, but unfortunately, it is underground and hard to know when and where it happens.”

Abuse included in the training for dogfights can be clipping of the ears or starving and beating dogs to encourage aggressive behavior.

Generally during training, owners will find “bait animals” for pits to practice their “attack and kill” strategy. Smaller pits, dogs and cats are typically used as bait, but any type of animal can be used. Owners try to find animals that will not fight back with the pit.

According to aspca.org, most law enforcement experts divide dogfighting activities into three categories: street fighting, hobbyist fighting and professional fighting.

■ Street fighters engage in dogfights that are informal street corner, back alley and playground activities. Stripped of the rules and formality of the traditional pit fight, these are spontaneous events triggered by insults, turf invasions or the simple taunt, “My dog can kill yours.” Many people who participate in these fights lack a semblance of respect for the animals, often starving and beating them to encourage aggressive behavior. Many of the dogs are bred to be a threat not only to other dogs, but to people as well. There is often no attempt to care for animals injured in the fight and police or animal control officers frequently encounter dead or dying animals as an aftermath. This activity is very difficult to respond to unless it is reported immediately.

■ “Hobbyist” fighters are more organized, with one or more dogs participating in several organized fights a year as a sideline for both entertainment and to attempt to supplement income. They pay more attention to care and breeding of their dogs and are more likely to travel across state lines for events.
■ Professional dogfighters often have a large number of animals (generally 50+) and earn money from breeding, selling and fighting dogs at a central location and on the road. They regularly dispose of animals that are not successful fighters or breeders using a variety of methods, including shooting and blunt force trauma. Professional and hobbyists fighters may dispose of dogs that are too human-aggressive by selling them to street fighters or anyone else looking for an aggressive dog.

Over the years, a fourth category of dogfighters has emerged with some wealthier individuals from the sports and entertainment worlds allegedly using their financial resources to promote professional dogfighting enterprises.

Cline, Stewart and Hatfield all agree that street fighters seem more of what the Lubbock area is seeing in terms of “non-organized fights.” It’s difficult to tell who is fighting dogs when the fights are unplanned and a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Though there is no concrete evidence of dogfighting going on in the area, there are signs showing some type of suspicious activity. A lot of dogfighting may go unreported because of fear.

Hatfield says the Humane Society will keep callers anonymous if they call in reference to a fight in their neighborhood. She stated there have been callers in the past who’ve thought their neighbors were fighting dogs, but when she asked for locations, they refused to respond.

There are severe penalties for people involved with dogfighting as well as those who watch. Being an activist in dogfighting is a state jail felony and can result in up to two years in jail with an additional fine of $10,000. Being a spectator or having equipment for dogfighting is a Class A misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in prison with an additional fine of up to $4,000.

How do we prevent dogfighting in the Lubbock area? Stewart says show concern for our animals.

“A lot is showing concern for the dogs,” he said. “There should be concern for the dog’s welfare rather than looking at them like a piece of property or some type of prize.”

To comment on this story:

ariel.kirkland@lubbockonline.com
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leesha.faulkner@lubbockonline.com • 766-8706

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TYPICAL PIT BULL OWNER – Boyfriend Allegedly Orders Pit Bull To Attack Girlfriend, Bitten Over 20 Times

TYPICAL PIT BULL OWNER SETS PIT BULL ON GIRLFRIEND – WHO OWNS THIS DOG ??

EWPORT (WWJ) – A Monroe County woman told police she was bitten over 20 times by a pit bull that her boyfriend allegedly ordered to attack her during a violent domestic dispute.

Sheriff’s Deputies say the alleged incident happened at the Elizabeth Woods Mobile Home Park on Telegraph, near Newport Road, in Newport on Wednesday night when the couple began to argue over ownership of a vehicle.

The 42-year-old woman reportedly told police the argument turned physical when her 48-year-old boyfriend choked her so severely that she almost passed out, The Monroe Evening News reported.

After the choking incident, the man allegedly ordered the dog to attack the woman. The dog reportedly bit the woman numerous times on her feet, legs and hands.

The woman told deputies the assault lasted more than 30 minutes. She was taken to Mercy Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries that were visible to police.

Deputies tried to speak to the woman’s boyfriend, but he fled the area. An officer responding to the man’s home said when he knocked on the door, he could hear the dog barking and scratching.

Names of the man and woman were not immediately released.

Felony assault charges are being sought. An investigation is ongoing.

The attack is one of several in recent months by pit bulls.

Most recently, a three-week-old girl was mauled to death by a pit bull on Detroit’s west side. Police say the dog attacked the baby after she was left strapped into a car seat on the floor of a home. Her mother had left the room and returned to see the dog attacking her newborn. The woman told police she didn’t know there was a dog in the house. The dog was euthanized following the attack.

Earlier this month, a six-year-old boy was bitten by a pit bull while riding his bike in Stockbridge Township, which is located between Ann Arbor and Lansing. Ingham County Sheriff’s Deputies said they were forced to fatally shoot the dog after it was observed running freely in the yard and acting aggressively. Deputies then left a note explaining what had happened for the homeowner, who was not present at the time.

Near the end of August, a Henry Ford Hospital employee was attacked by two pit bulls as she was walking through the hospital’s staff parking lot. Witnesses at the scene told police either security guards or police officers shot and killed the dogs to get them off of the woman, who survived the attack with multiple bites.

Man found guilty in brutal pit bull attack

via Man found guilty in brutal pit bull attack.

A St. John’s man was found guilty after his pit bull viciously killed another dog outside the Georgetown Pub on Hayward Avenue last October.

A judge ruled Tuesday that Jason English failed to keep the dog properly penned.

Fred Brockerville was the owner of the dog that was killed.

“Ringo had a punctured lung, a punctured heart. His neck was broke, his teeth were on the ground,” said Brockerville about his dog, a terrier/poodle mix.

Fred Brockerville still has trouble talking about the vicious attack on his dog, Ringo. CBCFred Brockerville still has trouble talking about the vicious attack on his dog, Ringo. CBC

“When I picked him up, he was just tore to pieces.”

Brockerville tried to stop the pit bull from attacking his dog, but couldn’t. Ringo was later put down by a veterinarian.

Brockerville still has a hard time discussing what happened to Ringo.

“I haven’t forgot about it for a year,” said Brockerville, his voice quivering. “I just can’t talk about it anymore.”

The dog that attacked Ringo was one of two pit bulls English kept in his backyard. The dog got out through a gate after someone removed the rope that kept it shut and opened it.

The court decided English failed in his due diligence to keep the dogs penned, as the yard wasn’t adequately secured.

The judge said he probably won’t insist on the pit bull being destroyed, since English now keeps his gate chained and padlocked.

Brockerville also said he doesn’t want to have the dog killed.

“I’m not a fan of killing animals,” said Brockerville. “I just think he and other people should take care of their animals better.”

This isn’t English’s first offense. Almost two years ago, he was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years probation for biting off part of a man’s ear in a bar fight.

Because of the guilty verdict today, English was also found guilty of a breach of probation to keep the peace.

English is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday morning.

via Man found guilty in brutal pit bull attack.

Rochester Police officer bitten by pit bull during drug raid

Rochester Police shot three pit bulls during a drug raid on a house on Norton Street. One officer was bitten in the leg during the raid. Police say two of the dogs were killed. The third was being treated.

This is the latest in a series of pit bull attacks where police had to fire their guns to protect themselves.

Police took six people into custody, three men and three women. But so far, only one has been arrested on a felony drug charge. Police Chief James Sheppard said they seized 18 dogs in total and Chief Sheppard also said there was dog fighting going on at the property.

The raid involved more than a dozen officers, some of them undercover drug officers.

Hazel Coleman, neighborhood resident, said, “I heard three shots. They came out of the truck with their guns drawn. And they shot three times. And I ran in the house shaking, scared.”

Police served two warrants and seized drugs and dogs. News10NBC saw city police officers remove dog after dog and several people were led away in handcuffs to waiting patrol cars.

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, Rochester Police Department, said, “Three dogs were shot. Two dogs are deceased. One of the dogs did bite one of the officers in the lower leg in the calf.”

The chief wouldn’t elaborate on what kind of dog-fighting was going on in the house.

Chief Sheppard said, “A lot of times what you find when there are drug sales there’s also illegal weapons. Illegal weapons does put a little bit of fear in our officers when they make those warrant executions.”

The house on Norton Street backs up to a small street called Emanon Street where residents say the house has been attracting people at all hours.

Susie Mack, neighborhood resident, said, “They go back and forth on the street 40 or 50 miles an hour. We can’t even park on the street because it’s so bad. There’s so much traffic and besides there’s four or five kids on the street, small kids.”

Police also found a safe inside the house, and used a sledge hammer and crowbar to open it. One resident said she was happy to see her tax dollars being used for something.

Virginia Calloway, neighborhood resident said, “It’s good to see the police at work, using our tax dollars effectively. I wish I could thank them all for coming to take these people to jail today. I hope it’s going to be effective and they can shut this down because it just moves from there to the corner up the street. We can’t go to the store. We can’t play in the yard.”

Chief Sheppard said the officer that was bitten on the leg was treated and released from the hospital. He wouldn’t specify what type of drugs was in the house.

Chief Sheppard said if the dogs are aggressive and don’t back off when officers enter a house, those officers are empowered to shoot for their own safety and to prevent people inside the house from stashing evidence or getting out weapons of their own.

via Rochester Police officer bitten by pit bull during drug raid.