Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dogs seized in 2008 raids are gone

Animals euthanized or adopted out before cases of owners were settled
By Andrea Kelly
In early 2008 Pima County authorities conducted a series of raids on alleged illegal dog breeding or fighting operations, seizing about 1,000 dogs and 36 birds.
In the ensuing 18 months, four of the nine people arrested have been acquitted or seen their charges dropped, two pleaded guilty to reduced charges and three are still awaiting trial.
But regardless of the outcome of their cases, their animals are gone — euthanized or adopted out to new owners long before the charges ever got to court.
In several of the cases, the dog's owners have filed multi-million-dollar claims for their unreturned animals, which the county has not responded to.
Pima Animal Care Center officials say they found new homes for as many of the animals as they could. But many, they say, were in such poor health or so vicious they couldn't be adopted — although a Star reporter who accompanied deputies on one raid said some of the dogs, which have since been destroyed, were wagging their tails and licking the hands of the handlers who were taking them away..." More