KHS assists in dog fighting raid in Oshtemo Twsp

Oshtemo Township, MI, February 17, 2016– Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement has been investigating dog fighting in Kalamazoo, which has led them to 7645 W KL Avenue for the second time since August 2012. A specialized team of law enforcement and animal welfare experts from Kalamazoo County Animal Services, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Department, Kalamazoo Humane Society and Humane Society of the United States converged on the property belonging to Kelvin Thomas, 55, at approximately 9:00am on Wednesday morning. The search uncovered 3 Doberman Pinschers, 7 Pit Bull Terriers and evidence of dog fighting.

Thomas was a primary suspect in the 2012 dog fighting raids led by Kalamazoo County Animal Services. At that time, 32 dogs were removed from his property as well as overwhelming evidence of dog fighting, including a bloody fighting pit. He pled guilty to two charges in December of 2012 and received a sentence of $500 and court fines, 160 hours of community service and a two-year probation where Thomas was not to own or possess animals. Thomas only spent two days in jail.

None of the dogs seized on Wednesday were registered as required by state law, and all of the dogs were kept in the same pens and dog houses as those that were removed in 2012.

“Dog fighting is a serious offense that happens everywhere; not just major cities. Thomas is just one suspect on a long list of others in the Kalamazoo area,” says Mark Vanderberg, the investigating officer from Kalamazoo County Animal Services.

Charges are expected to be filed against Thomas after the dogs and evidence have been examined. There is no statement yet on the individual condition of the dogs that were seized, however there was a veterinarian at the scene during the search and seizure operation.

If Thomas is charged as a result of this latest investigation, this will be his third time facing charges for dog fighting.

If you suspect any dog fighting activity, contact Kalamazoo County Animal Services at 269-383-8775, or the animal services department for your county.

“Dog fighting is a well-hidden crime. Without the help of concerned citizens, many dog fighters will go undetected. We know It’s scary to step up and make a report, but it’s important to do the right thing for animals and for our community.” Says Aaron Winters, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Julie Barber at 269-743-0393 or email

Humane Society of the United States Coverage:


  1. Dionne frost says:

    Perhaps the law shouldn’t be so kind in their punishment this time. Obviously he said F the Police last time and started back up. In my opinion the law enforcement allowed these dogs to be abused and that should be taken in to factor. If he did it once he’ll do it again. Is he going to spend four days in jail this time? Kinda double his sentence? Give the man 10 years in prison, let that sink in. This makes me sick. Those poor dogs. Many will need to be put down and it isn’t their fault. All they know is to kill or be hurt.


    • In the previous case, the law wasn’t the reason why he wasn’t given a harsher sentence. Michigan has a fantastic set of laws and our local law enforcement uses them to the fullest. Ultimately, the sentence is determined by a combination of sentencing guidelines, the recommendation of the prosecutor, and the determination of the judge.

      At this time, there is no discussion of euthanizing any of the 10 dogs involved in this case. The dogs will be treated for any health concerns, evaluated by professional animal welfare experts to determine what rehabilitation will be needed, and rehomed where they will never know the life of a fighting dog. I believe these dogs were rescued before they saw the inside of a pit.


  2. Michelle frisko says:

    They should be in jail a long time ago!!!!!!!


  3. Claudia lee says:

    What. Is it gonna take to stop this loser. I thought animal abuse is a felony now. Why is he not in prison


    • Michigan law made it possible to charge certain animal violations as a felony since 2006, and it was charged as a felony in 2012 during the last case against Thomas. Unfortunately, just because something is charged as a felony doesn’t always mean that they will get the maximum sentence. Ultimately, the sentence is determined by a combination of sentencing guidelines, the recommendation of the prosecutor, and the determination of the judge.

      We hear all the time in the news that criminals are offered plea bargains and are given less harsh sentences as a result. It’s a common tactic used to get a “Guilty” verdict without having to exhaust resources to get it through a trial. Once the charges are filed for this most recent case, we hope to see a more appropriate sentence if he is found to be guilty.

      Currently he is not jailed because investigators need to process all of the evidence taken during yesterday’s search. Pending the outcome of the research and investigation, charges will follow that will result in an arrest warrant being issued. Any further action in this case will be determined by the result of examining the evidence.


  4. Way to go, Michigan! Perhaps actually PUNISHING him for his past offenses would have deterred him from DOING IT AGAIN?!


  5. Nicolas Kersten says:

    Thank you to all involved in this investigation and rescue…Thank you for removing these sweet poor pups from the hell they were forced to live in…
    Who is the inept judge that sentenced him to 2 years probation in 2012? That judge needs to be recalled.
    I grew up in Kalamazoo, I am an Animal Control Officer in San Francisco. I wish I was there to help with the investigation.
    KHS are true animal heroes today…


  6. Euthanize the judge and prosecutor.


  7. Makes me sick. Death would be to good for this loser.


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