On July 27th, 2017, a dog fighting ring was busted in Lansing, Michigan. Fifty-three dogs were seized from multiple locations as well as dog fighting paraphernalia. The investigation began in April 2017 and culminated at the end of July 2017 with the arrest of a father and daughter. Both are facing criminal charges in Ingham County. Corey Devon Henry 47, and Synquiss Tairee-Devon Antes 26, were arraigned on multiple felony counts of animal fighting.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Henry faces 10 felony counts, including animal fighting, possession of fighting animals or equipment and animal cruelty, and five misdemeanor licensing counts. Antes faces nine counts of animal fighting, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of failing to license a dog.
Animal fighting is punishable by up to four years in prison upon conviction.
A hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for Henry and Antes to stand trial on the charges is set for August 18th, 2017 in Lansing’s 54A District Court. Until then, the dogs are being housed at two different county shelters. Forty-three dogs are at the Ingham County Animal Control and the other teh are housed at the Eaton County Shelter. The dogs are being held at undisclosed auxiliary shelters to protect them from falling into the wrong hands again. Currently, the county is seeking donations of money and food to help care for the animals.
Unfortunately, because the dogs came from a fighting ring, a petition has been filed in the Ingham County Court to have the dogs euthanized. If a judge finds that a dog “lacks any useful purpose and poses a threat to public safety,” it will be euthanized. The hearing for the fate of the dogs will be held on August 25th, 2017, also in Lansing’s 54A District Court.
Since the fate of the dogs was announced, efforts have been made nationwide to save them. According to several pit bull advocates, the dogs are victims in this case, and victims should not be punished. Many advocates are pushing for the judges to allow the dogs to be evaluated by experts. Only a thorough evaluation process will determine how many of them can be rehabilitated and become household pets.
The Anti Dog-Fighting Campaign has set up an advocacy team to collect letters on the dogs’ behalf. They are asking that all letters be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will forward them to the correct judge. There is also a dedicated Facebook page which also includes a wish list for the shelter.
A petition has been set up to save the 53 dogs from euthanasia.
Donations for the Ingham shelter can be dropped off at 600 Curtis St. in Mason, Michigan. For information call (517) 676-8370. The Eaton shelter, at 756 Courthouse Drive, can be reached at (517) 543-5755. Anyone who believes they lost a pit bull that may be among the group seized during the investigation can email a photo of the dog to email@example.com.
Despite a lack of signs that any of the dogs were ever household pets, shelter staff will pursue any potential leads with the photos they receive.
The case against Henry and Antes is ongoing and more charges are expected to be filed.
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