Archive for Saturday, August 1, 1998

ABUSED PIT BULL CONFISCATED

August 1, 1998

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Animal control officers seized another pit bull in what's becoming a disturbing trend in Lawrence.

A Lawrence Humane Society official says a scarred and wounded pit bull, obviously used in dog fights, will have to be euthanized.

The dog, Bosco, was captured on Sunday by animal control officers at 15th and Craig Court in East Lawrence while it was running loose in the neighborhood. Humane society director Midge Grinstead the same dog was picked up four months ago, but it now bears the scars of a brutal practice that pits dogs against other dogs.

``There are scars all over, numerous scars where he had healed, and there were newer bites and puncture wounds on its face,'' Grinstead said. ``He's no longer a beautiful dog.''

Bosco is too aggressive to adopt, and the humane society will have to euthanize him. Although at least two people have claimed the dog, Grinstead said they were not the owners and they quickly lost interest when she made it clear she plans to pursue an animal cruelty case against the dog's owner.

``We probably see a pit bull every week or every other week that has scarring on it that can be associated with fighting,'' she said. ``Every time we get a pit bull picked up as a stray, we have people claim them who don't have proof of ownership. It's a sad situation.''

Police haven't arrested anyone and no charges have been filed in the case involving the dog. Police spokesman Matt Sarna said it's unknown who owns Bosco. A veterinarian who examined the dog said the scars were ``consistent with fighting,'' Sarna said.

It's a scenario Grinstead sees more and more often. In a recent case, Ernest C. Martin, 21, was charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty after 16 pit bulls were seized by the animal shelter. Martin was not charged with fighting the dogs, but Grinstead said literature about the practice was found during the investigation.

Martin is awaiting trial in the case, but he failed to appear at his court date. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest, and he's still at large.

``We have to start saying we're not going to accept this in the community anymore,'' Grinstead said. ``When people see these pit bulls dragging tires down the street, they need to realize they are being trained to fight.

Authorities say they are dumbfounded about where and when the illegal fights -- which are suspected to involve gambling -- are held. There have been no arrests this year in Douglas County involving illegal dogfights.

``I think it's a big deal right now because it's a quick way to make money,'' Grinstead said. ``Unfortunately, the dogs are suffering.''

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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