Wednesday, September 16, 2009

5 Plead Guilty In Missouri Fight Bust Case!

St. Louis, MO, September 14, 2009 -- The Humane Society of Missouri today confirms guilty pleas have been entered in connection to the July 8, 2009 multi-state federal dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of more than 500 fighting dogs. Federal agents made 26 arrests and dogs were rescued in 8 states.

According to a press release issued by the Humane Society of Missouri, four eastern Missouri men, Robert Hackman of Foley, Teddy Kiriakidis of Leasburg, Ronald Creech of Leslie and Michael Morgan of Hannibal plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to charges connected to the dog fighting raid. Another man arrested in connection with the dog fighting raid, Jack Ruppel of Eldon plead guilty to charges on September 4 in federal court in Jefferson City.

“We can confirm that five of the individuals charged with this gruesome form of animal abuse are being brought to justice,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “Today’s guilty pleas raise awareness that dog fighting is unacceptable, inhumane and illegal and will not be tolerated. The unprecedented scale of this investigation and rescue operation should alert the entire nation to what a horrible crime dog fighting is and what a dangerous and serious affect it can have on animals and communities.”

Warnick continued, “We sincerely hope these guilty pleas will result in sentencing that sends the message that this form of animal abuse will no longer be tolerated. Humane Society of Missouri staff and our many partners have selflessly sacrificed much of their personal lives in the pursuit of this investigation and the care of these dogs. We fervently desire that this historic effort marks the beginning of the end to dog fighting in the United States.”

“This was the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, but it will not be the last,” warned Michael Kaste, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “This case sets precedence for the FBI along with our local, state and federal partners to aggressively root out underground dog fighting rings where people have absolutely no qualms about torturing man’s best friend for money and entertainment.”

More pictures of some of the dogs seized in this large scale effort can be seen on HSMO's online album.

We are hoping since the evil men have pleaded guilty they will forfeit the dogs very soon. We hope the dogs will be coming to us in the next few weeks...we cannot wait and lets hope the courts system acts quickly. NHPBR has been working with HSMO and Missouri based rescue group Mutts n Stuff to receive dogs and follow the progress of the cases, so please check back often for updates! We will let you know more as we are permitted.

Among the groups helping to care for the dogs are:

American Humane Association
Animal Humane Society
Atlanta Humane Society
Best Friends Animal Society
Brazos Animal Shelter
Brew City Bullies
Broken Hearts, Mended Souls Rescue
Denver Dumb Friends League
Hawaiian Humane Society
Hickey College
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of Central Illinois
Humane Society of Greater Kansas City
Kauai Humane Society
Michigan Humane Society
Mutts n Stuff
Oregon Humane Society
Pierce County Animal Response Team
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Seattle Humane Society
Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue

Other groups are expected to arrive in Missouri to begin helping with dogs this week. Included in these organizations is Our Pack, Inc's Tracey Cutler.