|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Stolen dogs believed going to fighting ring
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Dog owners, especially those of breeds associated with dog fighting, are cautioned to beware of thieves who are stealing pets and using them for illegal dog fighting. Mike Reilly of Trinity believes he lost his family pet, a pit bull named “Ace,” to the fight ring and is urging area pet owners to beware. When Ace turned up missing on May 16, Reilly posted flyers offering a reward and on May 18, he got the pet back after paying the promised amount. “He was in terrible shape. His ears, which had been unclipped, had been cut off at the skull using what the vet thought was a box cutter,” Reilly said. The pet had also sustained a number of serious head injuries that forced him have the dog euthanized a week later on May 25. Ace’s vet, Dr. Brenna Hanly of Crockett, said it was apparent to her the animal had been used either in the dog fighting ring or as a training aid to help stimulate the aggressive nature of other dogs. She said the manor in which the dog’s ears were removed is indicative of dog fighting. Those involved in the illegal activity want to minimize things that other dogs can grab in a fight so they slice off the ears as close to the skull as possible. “This was definitely done at home without anesthetic. The ears were uneven and infected,” she said. In addition, there was extensive damage to the dog’s mouth, both inside and out, which forced the vet to remove most of his tongue and many of his teeth. Although she attempted to suture the wounds closed, after a week it became apparent that much of the damage was not reparable and that Ace would never eat or drink normally again. While Hanly has heard of this happening, this was the first time in the year she has been practicing in the Crockett area that she has treated obvious fight ring injuries. Reilly, who described the pit bull as “sweet natured and gentle,” said he has a hard time believing the thieves could have gotten Ace to fight. “It is apparent to me that they stole him to fight and after he could not be used for that anymore, they saw they could make some more money be returning him for the reward,” Reilly said. “I’ve heard that a number of other people in the area have had their pet pit bulls come up missing. I suspect the same thing that happened to Ace may have happened to others,” he said. Reilly said he filed a formal report with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office regarding the incident and is hoping that those responsible can be found and prosecuted. Ronald Hunt, the criminal investigator with the sheriff’s department, confirmed the report had been filed but said that as of last week, Reilly was the only pet owner to come forward with information. He noted that anyone with information about this incident or any case of cruelty to animals should contact the sheriff’s department at 642-1424. They also may provide information anonymously to the Trinity County Crime Stoppers Program, which pays cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of suspects. That number is 642-2334.