Thursday, August 28, 2008

Busting Dogfighters for Profit:
Pit Bull Owners Guilty from the Get-go
"Lucrative" dogfight busts
Check out In the Line of Duty, dog lovers.
Since when does enforcing the law, fairly and without bias, create a revenue stream for local police departments? Local police departments trained by the Humane Society of the United States?
Profiting off pit bull owners
See how just one dogfight bust can be lucrative for your department
That's the pitch from video producer Ron Barber. Barber is peddling training material for police officers titled "Dogfighting: What every cop needs to know." And you'll never guess who's promoting it: The Humane Society of the United States
Personnel from both HSUS and the ASPCA appear in the video.
Naturally, the tape includes HSUS's bogus "warning signs of dogfighting" -- treadmills, multiple dogs, veterinary supplies and diet supplements. The "experts" cited by "Line of Fire" also wanted Michael Vick's dogs dead. When Vick was arrested and his dogs were seized, HSUS's Ann Chenowyth claimed that "dogs that come from generations of fighting dogs are too aggressive to put back into the community."
Or, using HSUS-think: Kill all pit bulls. All of them.
HSUS just trained 260 Chicago-area police officers on things like how to spot dogfighting this spring.
Comforting thought, isn't it? The Real Deal: Asset Forfeiture
It's not every day that groups like the American Civil Liberties Association, the California Public Defender's Association, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety rush to defend the rights of alleged dogfighters.
But that's exactly what they did during the debate and ultimate defeat of CA SB 1775, an asset forfeiture proposal aimed specifically at dogfighting prosecutions in California.
The ASPCA, a private, New York corporation with no law enforcement function outside of New York City, strongly supported SB 1775.
So did HSUS. Which has no law enforcement authority whatsoever.
Why? Because SB 1775 was potentially a huge money-maker. Private corporations, like the ASPCA and the HSUS, were set up to share the asset forfeiture plunder under the proposal.
Jingle, jangle of ill gotten gains
Asset forfeiture laws vary from state to state and there are differences between civil forfeitures and criminal forfeitures.
But when Line of Duty asserts that dogfighting busts are lucrative, the message is clear. There's money to be made by prosecuting pit bull owners on dogfighting allegations. Line of Duty thinks they're easy targets.
And they may be right.
With the incentive of asset forfeiture in the mix, local police departments determine which allegations to pursue based on perceived profitability. Confused, frightened, naive dog owners are unlikely to put up a lot of expensive resistance. They rarely even have a lawyer.
And there are very few lawyers versed in animal law from the defendants perspective.
Presumption of Guilt
How to prove a negative? How does anyone "prove" they're not guilty of a crime?
Its ironic in a country with a legal system built on the presumption of innocence, but pit bull owners already have two strikes against them: they own pit bulls. They're already social pariahs. Almost every pit bull owner has something from HSUS's list in their home. Most dog owners do.
Knock, knock. Who's there?
When your neighbor reports all your "suspicious activities", and HSUS, the local SPCA and maybe even the county sheriff -- fresh from attending an HSUS anti-dogfighting seminar -- suddenly show up at your door, you could be in for a really unpleasant experience.
Officers who attend HSUS training programs, or visit websites like "How Stuff Works," or who have seen videos like Line of Duty's, have been taught that people with springpoles, multiple pit bulls, pedigrees showing "champion" dogs, etc., are criminal dogfighters.
HSUS is striving to lower the standards for "evidence of a crime" to a ridiculous level.
No Project Innocence for pit bull owners.
Like any caring dog owner, and especially any caring pit bull owner, I can't stand dogfighting.
But I'm worried about the rest of us.
There is no Fair Defense Campaign for pit bull owners.
No ACLU position paper on prosecutions incited by money-maddened private corporations like HSUS and its toadies. Dude. Who stole my country?
I believe in the concept of innocence until proven guilty. I believe in the right to a fair trial, and competent legal representation. I believe in the rule of law.
Pit bull owners, and animal owners of all kinds, are in trouble. Access to competent legal representation may be fundamental concept in the United States judicial system, but its NOT a reality.
We've got a problem. Let's see what we can do about it.
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