Tips For Fun, Safe Summer Travel With Your Dog

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By Kaitlyn Manktelow @Kurgo, the dog travel experts

With the beautiful weather outside, it seems almost a crime for you and your favorite canine to stay inside, instead of enjoying the sunshine together. While it seems pretty easy to just pack up and hit the road with your furry friend, there are some hidden dangers to traveling with a dog that you may not be aware of. Here are some safety tips to ensure both parties have a safe and fun time!

Keep Arms & Legs & Paws Inside at All Times

We know your dog loves to stick his head out the window. While it may seem like an innocent and ‘cute’ thing to allow your pooch to do, it is actually incredibly unsafe.

As human beings, we have a windshield to protect our eyes from different traveling dangers. Hanging with their heads out the window, leaves our four-legged friend’s eyes vulnerable to being hit by foreign objects like rocks, twigs and other forms of debris. The cornea of a dog’s eye is very sensitive and hard to repair if damaged. It also exposes their lungs to breathing in toxic fumes which can cause pneumonia.

Even worse, an unrestrained dog with its head out the window can jump out of a moving car. If a car swerves or is involved with a collision, your pup can be thrown out the window. The severity of these injuries can be anywhere from road rash, to broken bones to even fatal injuries.

Everyone Two-legged and Four, Should Be Buckled Up

Most of us put on a seatbelt in the car without giving it a second thought. We make sure that all human passengers are strapped in, but what about our animal family members?

In addition to being injured in a crash, a loose pet can also be a possible hazard for human passengers in an accident. An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force on anything it hits, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 2400 pounds of force.

A loose dog can also limit a driver’s ability to steer, use the gas and brakes as well as create blind spots.

One car safety solution is to use a dog seat belt with a crash-tested dog car harness. Now your dog is safely buckled up just like you.

Click it or ticket – did you know there are laws being put into place in the United States and across the globe making it illegal to drive with a loose pet?

Bring A ‘Pet-Friendly’ Travel Kit

When humans travel, we have our go-to items like a water bottle, favorite snack or comfy sweatpants. Make your pet more comfortable on the trip by bringing them creature comforts too. Hydration is important in the summer, so be sure to throw in water for your dog and a portable dog travel bowl. Some dogs have anxiety so giving them something that smells like home such as a favorite toy or blanket can ease their fears. And of course snacks. Treats can be an easy way to coax a reluctant dog back in the car after a rest stop break.

Never, Ever Leave Your Pup Alone in the Car

A dog should never be left in an unattended car, no matter the season. However, in summer heat, it is even more important considering that on an 85 degree day, car temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees within 10 minutes even with the windows open!

For more tips, check out this Pet Travel Safety Tips Video.

About Kaitlyn Manktelow – Kaitlyn is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.

Bills 413, 414 and 416 need your support! #protectMIanimals

DSC_0015In 2012 as an Animal Services Officer I reached out to the Humane Society of the United States to help me investigate dog fighting here in Kalamazoo.  With limited resources and training, I knew I needed help and the HSUS stepped in and gave myself and my department all the tools we needed to go after the big names on my list.  The HSUS invested $250,000 into investigating and prosecuting dog fighting here in Kalamazoo.  The 2012 string of dog fighting raids was a success because of the help of the experts and generous donors of the HSUS.

Michigan has some of the best laws out there to protect animals from fighting and abuse, but it lacks in the ability to punish people who break these laws.  Time and time again we have watched dog fighters in Kalamazoo, Detroit, and all over the state get away with minor penalties for felony offenses, and as a result they pick up where they left off and get more dogs to continue.

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It’s important to know that for people who are fighting dogs, this blood sport is a business, a way of life, and an addiction.  It isn’t something they’ll give up without a compelling reason.  A 1-30 day sentence to jail is worth it, because the rewards greatly outweigh the risks.

This game of cat and mouse between law enforcement and dog fighters is maddening, because even though law enforcement may “win” in a legal sense, the offender knows that nothing has really changed, and they can continue as soon as probation is over.  In the end, with these cases taking months to years to properly investigate and prosecute, it’s hard to justify the effort.  The only silver lining is knowing that the dogs we were able to rescue would never know that kind of life again.  Getting the dogs out was the only thing that made it worth the time.

dog3After watching Kelvin Thomas receive a slap on the wrist for his 3rd dog fighting offense, we knew something had to change.  Our system was broken and needed fixing.  Public outrage over the sentencing of Kelvin Thomas made it clear that it was time to take this problem to the next level.

Again, we reached out to our friends at the HSUS and we began working to make changes to the current laws.  Senator Margaret O’Brien sponsored these changes that would eventually become bills 413 and 414, and would create mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders.

Yesterday I was able to sit in on a hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee regarding bills 413 and 414.  The bills passed the Senate unanimously and will continue to move through the legislative process.  We hope to have these bills written into the law before the end of 2017 but it could be 2018.

Also introduced was bill 416.  Currently, if a humane agency is in custody of a dog that is known to be bred or trained for fighting purposes, it is illegal to adopt those dogs.  This goes for puppies, dogs that will not fight and breeding females.  In many cases the outcome is euthanasia after spending weeks to months in an animal shelter, as there is no place for these dogs to go unless an out of state agency is able to take them on.  Bill 416 would allow humane agencies the ability to adopt out dogs that can safely re-homed.  This bill would give the animal victims of dog fighting a chance at a better life, and a chance to become a pet.  It is no fault of the dog that they have found themselves in the hands of a dog fighter.  Together, bills 413, 414 and 416 make the necessary changes to our existing laws that allow humane law enforcement officers and court workers to effectively manage dog fighters and their animal victims in the aftermath of an investigation.

These bills can be supported individually or together.  This is the time to make it clear to our legislators that there is public support for these changes.  Please contact your legislator by writing a letter or an email, and express your support for bills 413/414 and 416.

All 3 bills (413, 414 and 416) were passed 4-0 with no objections with a recommendation to be immediately effective.  The video below is the recording of that Judiciary Committee hearing at 3:00PM June 6th, 2017.  413, 414 and 416 can be seen from the beginning of the video until 21:08, and voting begins at 44:40.

https://misenate.viebit.com/vod/?v=bshLUsD22WjV&s=false

Resources:

A Citizens Guide to State Government (2017; Michigan) – This PDF file includes all the information you would need to contact your legislator, and also outlines the process these bills are subject to.

Bill 413 – Details and PDF download of Bill 413

Bill 414 – Details and PDF download of Bill 414

Bill 416 – Details and PDF download of Bill 416

Dogfighting in Kalamazoo:

Marvis Blanks, 2012
HSUS Coverage of 2012 Collaberation
Leonard Turner, 2012
August 2012, Leonard Turner and Kelvin Thomas

Stronger penalties needed for animal abusers

Today we’ve officially released a statement regarding the disappointing outcome of the Kelvin Thomas case.  Immediately after the sentencing hearing our office started taking calls from upset citizens concerned about yet another “slap on the wrist” sentence for such a horrible crime.  We share those concerns, but before we put out a knee-jerk statement we did our homework.  We contacted the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the prosecutor’s office and several other attorneys who are experts at sentencing guidelines and plea bargain negotiations.  All of our research helped us write a more informed response and has also given us a good direction to head in to prevent this type of sentence in the future.

Please know that our work on this is not done.  In fact, it is just truly beginning.  We will be releasing information as it happens  and we hope you will join us as we continue to fight for stronger penalties for crimes  with animal victims.  You can stay informed about this and other Michigan animal relate issues with #protectMIanimals


On Monday, January 23, 2017 at 1:48PM, Judge Gary C. Giguere Jr entered his courtroom at the Kalamazoo County 9th Judicial Circuit Court and took a seat in front of Kelvin Eric Thomas (56) of Oshtemo Township, MI.  This is not the first time these two have meet under these circumstances.

With his attorney’s hand on his back and news cameras rolling behind him, Thomas stood facing the bench and listened as Gigeuere stated, “This behavior is disgusting, it frightens me and it has no part in our community.”  Giguere ended his beratement with, “if it were my discretion, you’d be going to jail.”

We at the Kalamazoo Humane Society were proud to have been invited to assist during the search warrant executed in 2012.  We saw first-hand the unacceptable conditions that 36 dogs were forced to live in.  We saw the basement walls painted red to cover blood stains and we saw that blood come to life with the help of forensic chemical reagents.

In 2016 we were asked to assist again as officers found that Thomas had not given up a life torturing animals for profit.  Seven young Pit Bulls and three Dobermans were being subjected to the same fate as untold numbers of dogs before them; forced into feces caked pens that were too small, chained to dog houses with no food or water, left out in the bitter cold and snow, growing accustomed to a life of neglect and abuse.

Followers of this case expected to hear that Thomas would be going to jail; instead they listened as the judge read off the sentencing agreement, including five years of probation in which he cannot own or possess animals and fines totaling $10,126.00. $8860.00 of those fines is to be paid to Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement for the care of the dogs that were in their custody from February to October 2016.

What we’re seeing here is a two-part problem.  Firstly, the plea agreement with Kelvin Thomas did not allow the judge to utilize his own discretion in exchange for his plea of No Contest.  Secondly, and of even greater concern, the lack of harsher punishment is a result of the fact that dog fighting and other animal-related felonies are only Class F felonies.  On a scale of A-H, with Class A resulting in life imprisonment, a class F felony does not rack up much in the way of jail time even for habitual offenders; however jail is still possible if he violates his probation.

While we all wish to see animal crimes treated with the same severity as crimes against humans, the reality is that unless felonies involving animal victims can be elevated to a higher class, animal lovers will be forced to sit by and watch as more animal abusers get away with what can only be considered a slap on the wrist.

We need direct our frustration and show legislators that there is still more work to be done concerning animal protections in the State of Michigan.  Using the momentum from this case, we will take the steps needed to change our existing animal protection laws to include harsher punishments for those who violate them.  You can help by contacting your state representative and letting them know that you support stronger punishments for habitual animal abusers.


Video of sentencing hearing available on our YouTube channel here –>
https://youtu.be/FKHEzIYvS44

Outdoor Cats and Winter

With the arctic blast we’re all feeling, we’ve had several calls about what people can do to help their neighborhood cats through the winter.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to provide safety and shelter to outdoor cats.

Food:
Keep dry food protected from moisture.  This could mean putting it in a sheltered place, or elevating it above the level of the snow.  Keep in mind that wet/canned food will freeze just like water, so keeping dry food out in the winter is the best option.

Water:
Water freezes, but there are good solutions including electric or solar heated bowls.  Find a great in-depth article about good water solutions from NeighborhoodCats.Org here:  http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/colony-care/stop-freezing-water

Shelter:
Shelter is the biggest concern for outdoor cats.  These cats, the ones that have been outside for more than one winter, acclimate to the low temperatures and put on extra padding for the winter just like any other outdoor mammal, however sometimes that just isn’t enough.  You can give them a boost by constructing a simple and affordable shelter.  Alley Cat Advocates has put together a great step-by-step shelter tutorial that would be a fun weekend project.  It’s simple enough that even your kids can help you!  Get the PDF download here:  http://alleycatadvocates.org/assets/ACA-winter-shelter.pdf

Medical Care:
If you see a sick or injured cat that needs medical care, you can either take the cat to the vet on your own, knowing that it will be at your expense, or you can contact your local animal services agency and find out what they can provide for sick or injured stray animals.

In Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement can pick up the cat, or you can bring it to the shelter at 2500 Lake St.  The cat will not be returned to the colony, but it also won’t be suffering.  Friendly stray cats that can be treated can be pl aced for adoption, however feral cats will likely be euthanized.

The most important thing you can do for a neighborhood with a stray cat problem is SPAY and NEUTER!  By eliminating the possibility of future litters of kittens, you can manage the cats that are already there without having them destroyed.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society offers affordable spay/neuter help for feral cats.  For more information on our current feral cat program, visit our website at:  http://kazoohumane.org/ofi/ferals.php

 

Kalamazoo dog fighter accepts plea deal. Again.

MI Dogfighting Rescue

A pit bull is seen chained on Kelvin Thomas’ property during a rescue conducted by Kalamazoo County Animal Services in Oshtemo Township, Mich. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society was able to offer a helping hand to Kalamazoo County Animal Services this February while they executed a search warrant at the home of Kelvin Thomas for the second time.  Now, just 9 months after Faith Temple Church of God Bishop T.D. Lockett proclaimed that he felt Thomas was being framed, Thomas, a former church Elder, has pled to felony dog fighting charges making this his 3rd conviction for dog fighting.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, Thomas has now accepted the harshest penalty to be handed down to a dog fighter in Kalamazoo County history.

For those following this case, we know the hope was that he would receive jail time, however due to the sentencing guidelines, we’re happy to say he’s getting the max penalty he can receive at this time, based on the charges he pled to.  If he fails to meet the requirements of his probation, jail/prison time is still an option.

Link to story: http://wwmt.com/news/local/kelvin-thomas-takes-plea-deal-in-animal-fighting-case

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – An Oshtemo Township man charged for the third time with animal fighting is taking a plea deal.

10 dogs were taken from Kelvin Thomas’ home in February.

The United States Humane Society was even called in to help with recovery.

Despite being a habitual offender, Thomas isn’t expected to face jail time for these crimes. Instead he’ll have to complete several classes, and serve years of probation.

Thomas waived his right to a trial in court on Tuesday.

“He told the officer he owned 7 dogs, records show none were registered,” said Steve Lawrence, the Kalamazoo County Director of Animal Services. “None of them had water, several we think all were anxious to get into a warm place.”

10 young dogs were taken from Thomas’ Oshtemo Township home this Feburary.

Dogs experts say he was training them to fight.

“They were able to find that he had been advertising the dogs or the puppies which they do for fighting dogs,” Lawrence said.

36 dogs were taken from the same home back in 2012.

Thomas was ordered to two years probation at the time.

“Michigan has some of the best cruelty laws in the country; the problem is the penalty for them is not as strict as it needs to be in some cases,” Lawrence said.

Now, jail time will likely be waived, but his probation extended, thanks to stronger animal cruelty laws passed since his first charge.

Thomas will be sentenced in January.

If he violates any of his probation terms, he could also serve jail time.

He’s not allowed to own any animals during that time.

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Related News:

http://wwmt.com/news/local/more-dogs-seized-from-home-of-convicted-dog-fighter

http://wwmt.com/news/local/church-leader-claims-dog-fighting-suspect-church-elder-is-innocent

http://wwmt.com/news/local/facing-possible-animal-cruelty-charges-w-mich-man-resigns-from-church-position

http://wwmt.com/news/local/kalamazoo-co-man-facing-dogfighting-charges-turns-himself-in

http://wwmt.com/news/local/repeat-offenders-causing-michigan-to-re-evaluate-animal-cruelty-laws

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/12/oshtemo_township_man_given_com.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/08/suspected_dogfighting_operatio.html

 

 

Senior Services Pet Food Drive

Senior Services is one of the largest and most comprehensive organizations serving older adults and persons with disabilities.  They provide vital, life sustaining services to their clients.  Serving Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties, as well as other portions of Southwest Michigan, Senior Services has been caring for those in need for over 50 years.  Their integrated model of care helps keep their clients living safely within their own homes.  With just one call to Senior Services a complete array of services become available.  When you call Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, “One call does it all”.

Donate Pet Food to help keep seniors and Pets together –

Monday October 10th marked the kick off for the annual Pet Food Drive, a project of RSVP – Your invitation to Volunteer and Cool 101FM. The drive will run from Oct 10-14. Pet food collected will help seniors who may be struggling financially to feed their pets while meeting their own needs.

Here’s how you can help: spread the word, make a pet food or monetary donation at Senior Services in Kalamazoo or at Cool 101 collection events listed below.

Needed:  Dry dog and cat food in 10 pound bags or smaller for easy handling by seniors and monetary donations.

  • Senior Services of Southwest Michigan 918 Jasper St.
    Monday, Oct. 10—Friday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m.— 4:30 p.m.
  • Cool 101 FM Live Broadcasts at these Harding’s Friendly Markets:
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Mon., Oct. 10—5161 W. Main, Kalamazoo
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Tues., Oct. 11—618 N. Riverview, Parchment
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Wed., Oct. 12—3750 W. Centre St., Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 13—6330 S. Westnedge, Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14—6430 W. Stadium Dr., Oshtemo
  • For more information: Call Senior Services at 269-382-0515 or call Cool 101 FM at 269-343-1111

Get the PDF flyer here!

 

KHS starts collection to help hoarding victims

The Kalamazoo Humane Society is happy to offer assistance to Van Buren County Animal Control.  On June 29th, 2016, 117 animals were removed from the home of a couple in Lawrence.  During the course of the investigation and recovery of these animals, caring for them will be an enormous burden on the staff and resources of Van Buren County Animal Control.

Immediate needs include:  Towels, Dawn dish soap, puppy food both canned and dry, Clorox wipes, and baby wipes.

Through our Emergency Pet Food Bank program, we’re able to donate 10 bags of puppy food, with Pet Supplies Plus matching that donation for a total of 20 bags to be delivered today.

KHS will be accepting donations of supplies at our office at 4239 S. Westnedge and deliveries will be made on Friday July 8th and Friday July 15th with any donations collected.

Feel free to deliver the donations yourself to:

Van Buren County Sheriff Dept.
205 S. Kalamazoo St
Paw Paw, MI  49079

or

Van Buren County Animal Control
58040 CR 681
Hartford, MI 49057

Thank you for all of your help during this time!  This is definitely an emergency situation that will require the help of our local communities while Van Buren County does what they can to house, evaluate, and care for these victims or hoarding.

It will be a long time before the outcome of these pets is determined.  Please, do not ask about the adoptability of these pets.  The staff at Van Buren County Animal Control are extremely busy, working to care for all of these pets.  Potential adopters should wait until adoption information is released to find out what is available.  Until then, please offer them your support while they work through this case.

Thank you!

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Kalamazoo Growlers disregard animal welfare for ticket sales

PRIMATE  EXPERTS SAY NO – GROWLERS MANAGEMENT SAYS YES TO COWBOY MONKEY RODEO

Cowboy Monkeys to Perform in Kalamazoo June 18th at the Kalamazoo Growlers game. Do you wonder as we do what this has to do with baseball? The inhumane use of monkeys to “entertain” or to boost ticket sales has no place in a family night of fun at the ball game.

North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance Executive Director Sarah Baeckler Davis says, “Monkeys used in this type of event are forced to perform on cue and engage in incredibly unnatural behaviors. Training can be quite brutal. It’s not good for the monkey and it’s not safe for the public.”

In this event, Capuchin monkeys are dressed in cowboy outfits and tethered to saddles on the backs of border collies who run at high speeds around a field herding four to five sheep. The dogs stop, start, turn, lie down, and stand up abruptly as they herd sheep, causing the monkeys to be violently jerked forwards and backwards and slide wildly from side to side.

During the “cowboy monkey” events, the monkey is not under the control of a human handler, but is at the mercy of a dog running wildly around a field. Spectators would be at risk if a monkey got loose from the dog or if a dog charged off the field.

KHS voiced its concerns and condemned this spectacle last year, only to have the Growlers management ignore the concerns of the community and continue to demonstrate a lack of regard for animals by hosting the event again this year.  The Growlers support local animal rescue groups but their concern for animals seems only to be a marketing tactic, as they can so casually disregard the safety of the animals involved in Monkey Rodeo events for some flash-in-the-pan media coverage.

Please share on your social media and make sure to respectfully contact those who are responsible for it with your concerns.  We do not condone threats or violent behavior toward those who are hosting or sponsoring the event.  You will be heard louder if you are calm, direct, and informed.

Event Host:
Brian Colopy
President
Kalamazoo Growlers
251 Mills St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
269-492-9966
brian@growlersbaseball.com

Event Sponsor:
Pure Green Lawn & Tree Specialists
16350 Felton Rd | Lansing, MI 48906
(866) 557.7873
(517) 703.1111
service@puregreenlawn.com

GET MORE INFORMATION:

 

Be a courteous dog walker

The ground hasn’t had snow on it in days and the weather is going to be B-E-A-Utiful for at least the next few days!  People and pets will be hitting popular walking trails like the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, Celery Flats, Kleinstuck Preserve and Asylum Lake.  This is a great time of year to stretch your legs (and your dog’s legs too!) after being cooped up all winter.  It’s also the perfect time to freshen up our “Trail Etiquette” and remember how to be a courteous dog walker.

If you liked it then you shoulda put a leash on it

For so many reasons, leashing your dog is the safest, most courteous thing you can do. Years ago at Asylum Lake I was walking my two large dogs (one Rottweiler and one Lab; both friendly) on leashes.  Lots of fields and forest, and very quiet and peaceful.  Out of nowhere, two large Golden Retrievers came running up the path heading right for me.  I stopped, and I attempted to control both of my dogs who were yanking my arms out of socket to “go play”.  The Retrievers bounded over to my dogs and chaos ensued with leashes and legs being tangled, barking, sniffing, and lots of jumping up and down.  I was drowning in a combined 400+ lbs of fur and so very thankful that my dogs and these stray dogs were getting along.

By the time the owner of the Retrievers came into sight, I was dirty, scraped up, sore, and my dogs were acting like sugar-buzzed youths at a Chuck E Cheese.  It was not a good situation.  I could feel my relief as the offending dog owner ran over to me with her leashes in her hand.  I was prepared for an apology and a story about how her dogs got away from her, and I was equally prepared to get on with my day after that.  She grabbed her dogs by the collars and when she opened her mouth to speak she said “Did your Rottweiler bite my dogs?”  WHAT?  She then continues… “Are your dogs friendly?  You really shouldn’t bring dogs here that aren’t friendly.”  That was my breaking point.

The moral of the story:  LEASH YOUR DOGS!  I love animals, I love dogs, but for the sake of everyone involved please just leash your dogs.

Drop it like it’s hot, but then pick it up and throw it away, k?

Dog poop is gross.  No one likes dog poop, not even if it belongs to their own dog.  If you’re taking your dog for a walk it’s safe to assume there will be at least one stop-and-squat along the way, so bring a bag and a few extras, and be prepared to clean up after your pet.  Poop is not fun to step in, it spreads disease and worms and all other kinds of nasty stuff, and it doesn’t belong in the middle of public trail (or sidewalk, road, path, route, etc…).

Can you say “Misdemeanor”?

Believe it or not, walking with your dog off leash is a misdemeanor offense that will be added to your criminal history.  Law Enforcement and Animal Services Officers can and do issue citations on a regular basis for “Dog At Large” which basically means “Your dog was running loose and you got busted!” It doesn’t matter if your dog has been trained to respond to hand signals, a clicker, or a special language that only you and your dog know.  No matter how well behaved you believe your dog is, a leash is required.

This is a state-wide law in Michigan, so no matter where you go in the Great Lake State, make sure to use your leash if you’re bringing your dog along for the ride.

Here’s a a hilarious video from The Trail Foundation in Austin, TX highlights how irresponsible dog walkers can ruin a great day on the trail for everyone!

Enjoy this amazing weather!

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 jbarber@kazoohumane.org.

Humane Society of the United States Coverage:
http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2016/02/kalamazoo-dogfight-raid-021716.html

KHS Blog Authors

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