Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HSUS and ASPCA: Filling Pit Bull Burial Grounds

John Goodwin, Melinda Merck caught in the act Who's hearing black helicopters now?
Seizing dogs for fun and profit: theft under color of law

Nobody ever accused convicted ALF terrorist and HSUS Dogfight Czar John Goodwin of getting bogged down in petty details.

Legalities, responsibility for the health and welfare of the dogs he and ASPCA's Melinda Merck seize, restitution for the cost of failed attempts to kill pitbulls lamentable errors made while pursuing the animal extremist "greater good" ?

Not even on Goodwin and Merck's radar.

HSUS offers a bounty for dogfighting "tips."

In the Line of Duty continues to dance to HSUS' tune, hyping "lucrative" dogfight busts to local law enforcement agencies.

And Norred and Associates? HSUS' private, for profit, hired guns investigators ? Why should Norred give a shit about a country boy, his family, and his handful of dogs? Norred was hired by HSUS to obliterate pit bulls dogfighting, and that's what they're gonna do.

The Curious Case of Joe Woodall, Gilmer County, Georgia

For 12 hours on October 28, 2008, the Woodall family watched helplessly as agents of the Humane Society of the United States, Norred and Associates, the ASPCA, local humane societies and local law enforcement swarmed over their property.

Among those executing the Woodall raid were:

John Goodwin, the Humane Society of the United States's "manager, animal fighting campaign." Despite the much bally-hooed "sea change" at HSUS, Goodwin remains very much in charge of HSUS's pit bull dogfighting eradication program.

Melinda Merck, the ASPCA's "forensic veterinarian." Merck takes pride in her "expertise."

In order to properly identify evidence, analyze it and interpret the findings, you have to know animals and animal behavior. This is what I do and what I bring to a crime scene. I am an animal expert investigating crimes against animals. .

More on Merck's "expertise" below.

HSUS's Chris Schindler. Three months after the Woodall raid, Schindler testified in a North Carolina court that un-weaned pups are "too dangerous to live" and joined with other HSUS employees in urging the deaths of every one of the Wildside Kennels dogs. Schindler, like Goodwin, remains an employee in good standing at HSUS. . .despite the "sea change" at HSUS.

Greg D. Norred, Founder and President and Chuck Simmons, VP Special Operations at Norred and Associates. Like Schindler, Merck, and Goodwin, Simmons is employed by a private, non-governmental agency and is responsible only to the privately employed people who control his pay-check. His boss, entrepreneur Greg Norred, has a background in private sector, for-profit, security services.

The Woodall home, barn and wooded property was searched for nearly 12 hours. Their 13 American Pit Bull Terrier dogs -- eleven adult dogs and two puppies -- were seized on suspicion of dogfighting.

News of Woodall's "arrest" was reported on local television. Joe, a hobby dog breeder who shows his dogs in ADBA-sanctioned conformation events and competes in weightpull trials, became a notorious dogfighter in the blink of an eye.

The Woodall kids had to get up and go to school the next day.

No arrest, no prosecution--but the dogs don't come back

The Woodall family, with good reason, feared that their dogs would be summarily killed as a result of their "rescue". Joe and Tracy's two young sons were devastated by the loss of their special pet dog, Purdy, who slept with them each night.

Yet after the dogs were loaded into Merck's ASPCA paddywagon and taken to another county several hours away from their home, and despite news reports, Joe was never arrested. He was never charged with a crime.

It took the Woodalls two months of frantic effort, and a court order, to get their dogs back. When they did come home, they arrived in sorry condition after eight weeks of "assessment for dogfighting." All had open sores. The gleaming, flawless coats evident in Joe's videos on the day of the raid were gone. Two of the dogs had more significant health problems, especially one of the pups. All of them showed signs of stress and trauma.

But Joe and his video camera succeeded in getting his dogs out alive.

$5000's worth of "probable cause" ? Did it cost more ?

HSUS's strategy all along and across the board is to lower the bar on what constitutes probable cause.

Joe's video (YouTube links below--image captures here courtesy Pet-Defense) shows John Goodwin questioning the Woodalls as to their dogs' bloodlines and registry. Goodwin is anxious to establish pedigree and registry, alone, as proof of "fighting" dogs.

Here's Goodwin gingerly examining one of Joe Woodall's dogs -- a dog which showed no trace of fighting, was in excellent physical condition and showed the exuberantly people-friendly, "correct" temperament for an APBT. The poor dog could have no understanding of what Goodwin's gloved hand placed on her head meant. She was seized a short time after Goodwin's examination.

How low can you go?

But looking at the search warrant application for the Woodall home and property, I have to wonder how much lower the court system can sink.

The remarkable document indicates that the search was based on--

A. A phoned-in tip to a private, non-governmental security firm from an anonymous source.

B. Alleged references in an "underground" magazine of no known veracity -- one that ceased publication more than four years before the Woodall raid.

C. The presence of tethered "pit bulls" at and near the Woodall home.

and last, but not least. . .

D. "Independent information" provided by a convicted felon. The informant's statement constitutes a confession to yet another instance of felonious activity, but he can't remember the details of the event he reports because, he testified, he was too drunk to know where he was.

All the justice money can buy

I'm wondering how many pockets were lined by HSUS in putting together the "probable cause" for the raid that ripped apart the Woodall home and nearly killed their dogs.

For the record, the "dogfighting paraphernalia" found in the Woodall home consisted of dog collars, a couple of ropes, veterinary supplies for the treatment of eye and ear infections, a few magazines. . .and the videos Joe had made of his own dogs.

And his dogs, of course.

Your donations at work: Melinda Merck, DVM, and ASPCA Puppy Thief

Here's a shot of Melinda Merck removing one of two healthy, well-cared for puppies from the Woodall home. She got the other one a few minutes after this shot was taken.

Neither puppy returned in the excellent condition they left the Woodall home in.

Eight weeks of "assessment" failed to identify any evidence of dogfighting in any of Joe Woodall's dogs.

You'd think that the ASPCA's so-called forensic expert could have established that the dogs were in excellent condition, and had beautiful, very friendly temperaments in something less than eight weeks, wouldn't you?

Or was Merck's only purpose to sign off on the seizure of dogs--any dogs--and let the chips fall where they may? Maybe do an interview or two, have a little lunch. . .

Who speaks for these victims?


That's what I want to know.

Who's going to put the world back together again for kids like Joe and Tracy Woodall's children?

Children who had their lives torn to pieces because HSUS and the ASPCA can get away with it, and learned the hard way that innocence will not protect them?

Does anyone really believe that HSUS magically changed its ways, when the people who organized these kinds of tragedies remain in place ?

Short of a brain transplant for John Goodwin, I don't see how it's possible.

Pit Bull burial grounds

How about those 350 or 450 or who-knows-how-many dogs seized in the "world's greatest dogfighting bust", orchestrated by HSUS's usual players: Goodwin, Norred and Schindler, with the ASPCA's Merck there to rubber stamp the proceedings? What about the myriad other busts taking place across the country?

Does anyone else worry that dogs just like Joe Woodall's got scooped up, and will probably die when HSUS and its local proxies determine that, too bad, too too bad, the dogs were too ill/too injured/too "unsocialized" ?

Or maybe they'll use the "no room at the inn" excuse. Hard to take coming from the world's largest, wealthiest "animal advocates" but I think it's coming.

Nothing about what happened to Joe Woodall's dogs demonstrated care about their welfare. Nothing. HSUS's and ASPCA's only interest was in seizing the dogs.

Joe Woodall thinks their purpose is to exterminate all "pit bulls." I think he's right. So, how much longer can this abuse continue? About Joe's videos

Joe Woodall placed several videos on YouTube. Many mix shots of his dogs at weightpull trials, playing with his children, etc., with clips of the HSUS/ASPCA raid on his home.
A couple of highlights:
At roughly 3:15 minutes, this clip shows Goodwin's review of Woodall's dogs, including his preoccupation with their pedigrees and near complete disregard for how well they are cared for.
At roughly 3:51 minutes on this tape, Melinda Merck seizes the smaller of Joe Woodall's two puppies as Joe struggles to get Merck to admit that there is nothing wrong with the pup. Joe's voice rises a bit.
Understandable, doncha think?


EmilyS said...

there are numerous reports coming out of the 400+? dog bust about the good temperaments of many of the seized dogs... some just ready to go right into new homes.

So remind us why they needed to be seized from their owners? How many of these owners will be coerced into signing over these dogs.. and indeed how many of those given-up dogs will be killed because of "no room at the inn"?

Right now it's all about group hugs for the rescuers (and they do deserve praise for caring for the dogs).. with no talk about returning any dogs to the innocent.

Of course all the people accused of dogfighting are dogfighters, as this blogpost proves........

Anonymous said...

You're not paranoid if they really are after you...

YesBiscuit! said...

Mr. Woodall was smart to get out his video camera and document goings-on.

Unknown said...

Keeping a charged video camera handy is a good thing. He would not have saved his dogs otherwise. When I read these accounts, my heart just breaks that this land of the free could so disregard our rights. Shameful and immensely sad.

BlueDogState said...

Joe was fortunate that his pride in his family and his dogs led him to create a videography of the dogs and his set up that went back for two years.

I hate to think what would have happened without it.

He taped the entire raid, from beginning to end. It's heartbreaking.

I'll be doing a follow up post, asap.

BlueDogState said...

"So remind us why they needed to be seized from their owners?"


Most states allow for a "seize in place" -- allowing animals to be left where they are, with court-ordered inspections to ensure their safety and welfare while charges are adjudicated.

There is no reason for dogs to die because "there's no room at the inn." Or the alternative "the pit bull community didn't step up and take responsibility."

As SmartDogs posted on her own site, seizure is appropriate when an animal is in imminent danger. It is not an excuse to kill dogs belonging to panicked/confused/ naive/poor defendants facing unproven allegations.

Got Dog Kennels said...

Anytime power and authority is abused and we allow it to go unchecked, we are endangering our own freedom and wellbeing. Now, I don't know if this is the case here, but it may well be.

maggie b said...

Until we unite, put up some money to help those victimized fight and slap a few of these a$$holes back to next years in the courts we're all at risk. Let's make it so expensive they fear to tread on us. I don't have pit bulls but I will defend to the death your right to have them.

maggie b said...

Tell Mr. Woodall that sometimes you can tighten a slack pastern by giving 1/4 of a 250 chewable Vitamin C (for a 15lb dog). It works if a young dog is being grown too fast by the dog food with too much calcium/protein. If that is the problem it will work like magic nearly over night. Give one dose wait a day or so and give a second then lay off it. Even if that's not the problem it won't hurt to dog to give it a shot. Do it as soon as you see the slackness, let it go too long and it sets that way.

BlueDogState said...

Thank you, Maggie, for your advice. I've passed it on to Joe.

I can't speak for Joe, but I know he loves his dogs and is grateful for the support of other dog owners. said...

thanks for the advice but the pup is doing a whole lot better,he will be in the next ga,apbt conformation show in oct.just this moring he pulled over 650lbs in the yard he is training hard.
Again Tahnks for all the support.

Unknown said...

Its been awhile since I,ve posted any thing but wanted to bring every one up to date on my case , 3 years ago in Aug of 2006 my animal rescue barn was raided by the Stark County ,Ohio Humane society , they entered two days in a roll with no warrant , first day Magnolia police came on a fishing expedition with no warrant, we did,t even know it had happened till they entered second day again with no warrant , they beat kicked and strangled six of the dogs to death , then charged us with animal crulety, we were taken forward in a unbelievable sham trial .All of our motions to examine siezed dogs with our own expert witness lay unanswered by judge, she allowed us to go to trial with out it ,our own attorney ended up giving testimony about the warrant less search for the prosecution saying all ,first police officer did was look in a window this was despite his own police report that said he walked past pad locked doors till he magically found and open one , his police report even gave ancount of taking pictures that also magically disapeared on and on it went .We were able to get pictures of all 36 remaining alive animals which showed beatiful healthy fat well fed animals only six days after raid we entered on a court order , but that did't stop Inhumane Society and its agents from saying pictures were taken a month after they had had dogs despite the record of the court order,It was after they had fed the dogs groomed them cut their toe nails. They had not one picture of a skinny ,malnourished dog as they claimed all six dogs died of neglect and heat exhaustion on day of what just happened to be their raid , one of their dumb ass dog wardens even gave a complete description of pulling the dogs out by the neck on rabies polls and that they bit up the insides of their mouths and were harmed ,Still with the judge jummping in giving testimony for the prosecution ,we were convicted sent to jail 3 of us women in our 50's with no criminal record we now all have one . we appealed ,appeals attorney was just as dirty as trial attorney Russian bastard wrote a 4th amendment issue with all sorts of false facts that he had prima facie evidence in his hands to prove was false ,and I dont't mean to say that just because someone is Russian they are bad' but many times they are, they have no blood in this country ,no past no connection, now their here and there preverting our constitution we poor dumb americans have let them take us by telephone 'just like they said they would. to make a long story short I am now in Federal Court expecting an answer any day' Case No. 5:08CV02162 Northen District of Ohio under prisoner petitions because along with 20 days of jail time I was also puut on 2 years probation , what I had to do to even 'get back in court was file a motion in appeals court to reopen case , then take that when they turned me down to Ohio supreme court , it was then and only then after exhausting all claims at highest State level I gained the right to be in Federal court on a Habeas Corpus, These people are powerful make no mistake they are out to kill your animals and you too before this fight is over , I had to become my own attorney and work in Pro se ,I had to give myself a crash course in the law learn to type , learn to work a conputer, I pray its all worth it , I have to my credit hung in the Federal court now for almost a year I have their own pictures taken of the empty cages with pictures of water in bowls of animals and testimony of each and every witness saying no where in barn was any water for the dogs

Anonymous said...

A note to the all the so-called legalize dog nappers operating in the USA under the "Color of law"...The law states that anyone acting under color of law, who is acting against the law, is no longer protected by their association with the law. They are then criminals, no different from any other criminal, and can be treated as such. Dogs are property of their owners in all 50 states,and are protected by the 4TH amendment. It's just to bad that most Americans like myself, didn't know the laws enough for sure, when they bent by arm back far enough to surrender my dogs. They scare you with intimating acts, and then tell you that there will be no charges brought against you if you surrender your dogs. Which turns out to be all lies. They try to lay heavy fines, knowing that the SPCA will collect half of what they charge.This to me seems like a real conflict of interest and shouldn't be allowed by a private 501C3 organization that is made up of lawless citizen, that go braking the law by just stepping foot on peoples property without a warrant(in my case). I can only guess the hands that were in the cookies jar when this whole SPCA things started in New Jersey back in the 1800's to protect farm animals, mainly horses and cows. How did it grow to be the abusive agency that they are today? It must have been a real free for all before they were made to share their pots of gold with the local municipality.
These raids on our dogs are of a terrorist nature, and they can be charge for the taking of our animals under the federal law known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act that was pass into law in 2006. The fist case was fought in California recently, and the four people being charge were all found guilty. I will be lawyering up to fight these abusive cop wannabes.

Tom said...

Great. Just great. Now we have a different kind of "Schindler's list."

Anonymous said...

Petdefense says this....We are working to obtain a legal network of those who might help defend. Only in beginning stage. But even getting some help from criminal defense/civil attorneys will be helpful. Stay tuned. Petdefense does not give up.

admin said...

Seems like these people have grounds for a lawsuit. Were they charged for the care of the dogs?

That federal opinion in Louisville might be of some use.

Michelle said...

Seems so unfair, Animal Control was out to my place about 8 months ago, said I needed a license to sell puppies, I had two pits. I hope they dont come back. I now have 8 adults and about 25 puppies they are not gonna like that. They stated, before my license, that they were gonna shut down every breeder in Henry county.

Anonymous said...

It will keep filling up as long as people keep breeding pits. I volunteer at a local animal shelter and they get several pit/pit mixes a month because of the economy and laws against pits. One of the shelters in another county euthanizes any dog that looks like it might have pit in it.

Anonymous said...

I supported the ASPCA for many years with donations.

But I have stopped doing that, in part, because of this kind of crap.

Go Woodalls...

And yes, get your cameras rolling and lawyer up. You can beat these thugs.