Thursday, October 16, 2008

Floyd Acquitted; Bad Law Remains

Pit bull message boards lit up with news of Floyd Boudreaux's acquittal from state dog fighting charges this week when prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to convict. *News* Floyd admitted to pitting his dogs back when dog fighting was still legal in Louisiana, but maintained a reputation as a breeder until 2005, when state troopers, aided by the HSUS, stormed onto his property and seized his dogs. We'll let Floyd's Maker sort out his life choices, but we can't let this go without highlighting the archaic Louisiana State Animal Law that gave investigators the green light to destroy some 57 dogs within 3 days of Boudreaux's arrest ---and all for naught.
(2) The legislature finds and declares that fighting dogs used or employed in violation of R.S. 14:102.5 are dangerous, vicious, and a threat to the health and safety of the public. Therefore, fighting dogs seized in accordance with this Section are declared to be contraband and, notwithstanding R.S. 14:102.1, officer may cause them to be humanely euthanized as soon as possible by a licensed veterinarian or a qualified technician and shall not be civilly or criminally liable for so doing. Fighting dogs not destroyed immediately shall be disposed of in accordance with R.S. 14:102.2. - LA State Animal Law

When we first learned of Floyd's arrest, we got on the phone to plead for the lives of his dogs, but they were already dead. The news was personally devastating to many of us - Not only were the dogs lost, they were branded as killers, and without any evidence or trial. That case subsequently lead to our fire to help the Vick dogs, before they fell to the same ugly fate.

LA-SPCA's then-director Laura Maloney received death threats for her shelter's role in destroying the dogs. But Laura was fed the same line that the rest of the country had heard: Bad dogs, too dog aggressive to save. If only we'd heard a different tune in place of the chest pounding braggery that surfaced.

The. Dogs. Deserve. Better. And yes, three years in a shelter would've been a cruelty of its own kind - Which is exactly why authorities need to consider the victims' fate, and take their potential suffering into account when weighing out the consequences of any raid. As we've said in the past: It's about the DOGS, people. Not the coup or the glory of the bust.

So, many breed fanciers are celebrating the Boudreaux acquittal tonight as a major victory for pit bull owners, especially during a time when owning a treadmill or breakstick can cause homes to lose their pets. That's got to be difficult for investigators to hear (and no doubt someone will follow here shortly to accuse me of supporting dog fighters). But victory or not, Louisiana's pit bulls are still the losers....

As long as LA is willing to keep an inhumane law on the books that excludes due process and condemns pit bulls to death based on an outdated, unproven premise, the authorities will continue to be in the wrong in these situations, and even the most responsibly owned pets will be in certain danger.

Photo Above: Bust survivor Hector has lessons for us all. Shown here with his adopter, Roo Yori.


Jon Low said...

I wonder what the LSPCA's position is on seized fighting dogs. Do they care at all about the dogs? Is there no one at the LSPCA willing to fight for their rights? Or are they like Nazi stormtroopers that are "just following orders"?

Leila said...

I'm always amazed at the lack of responsibility that people take. Blame the dog, when it is the people who are the screw ups. EDUCATION people! If people are responsible about the animals in their care, we wouldn't have animal cruelty or abuse.

Thank all that is good for those who are shouting with all their might for the rights of the silent.

Anonymous said...

They`re dogs not humans.I hear that all the time when I defend these dogs.

I understand that but can anyone imagine killing the human victims of ANY type of abuse
(Kidnapping,rape,child pornography etc)
BEFORE or AFTER a trial.

These dogs are innocent no matter the outcome.Why is killing them even on the table?
This is insane.
There is nothing to prevent him and other alleged dog fighters from producing/buying more dogs.
It just becomes a vicious cycle with the dogs being the losers.

I don`t understand why dog fighting can`t be shut down.There must be people in very high places that are involved.

Why don`t they all start beating the crap out of each other for big bucks and leave the dogs alone.
It`s so sad.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that I can do is wonder what everyone involved here is thinking? First of all, the morons were probably raising fighting dogs. But with the track record of the Vick dogs thanks to orginizations like BadRap and Best Friends, how can the shelter think that it is ok to put all of these dogs down, especially the puppies? You have gone above and beyond in your fight to rehabilitate the Vick dogs, as had Best Friends, who has even rehabilitated Meryl, the poor girl that will never leave Dog Town. I can't believe how much people suck, then claim that "they didn't know" or "it was assumed that the dogs would be put down". The whole thing makes me so angry I could cry, but will instead hug my pit and thank God for giving me the gift of saving her life.


Donna said...

Hi Natalie - Thanks for the note. These dogs were destroyed 3 years ago, back before the Vick dogs made headlines. You are so right to want to go hug your own dog.

Jon - LA-SPCA was operating out of their old pre-Katrina shelter after this bust. They wouldn't have had enough room to house the dogs long term without choking their day-to-day operations. The director at the time was a pit bull owner herself. She told me that this was an extremely difficult time for all of her staff ... But back then, no one knew different and everyone was following the creed of the HSUS in regards to seized pit bulls. Of course, that no-mercy creed hasn't changed and HSUS will still maintain that destroying dogs from these situations is the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

"It's about the DOGS, people" -- at least it should be for humane organizations. But to take it one step further, this is about the Constitution, DUE PROCESS, innocent until proven guilty - even if you are a dog hater how could you support seizing and destroying property without so much as a day in court!? This is a victory for pit bull owners as the laws in a vast number of cities have also cast us as GUILTY criminals with for having a dog that "resembles" a pit bull and kill the dog in the same way - without a courtdate much less a conviction of any crime.

With the evidence, or lack thereof (treadmills?! that's it!?), presented, it really seems like H$U$ got in on this out of vengence with the goal of killing those dogs. Thanks H$U$! Now, getting a warrent or charges against future dog fighters is going to be just THAT much harder now that you've screwed this one up!

Donna said...

> Constitution, DUE PROCESS, innocent until proven guilty - even if you are a dog hater how could you support seizing and destroying property without so much as a day in court!?

Absolutely, Michelle. Thank you for adding that important point.

I really hope this case doesn't make it harder for busting dog fighters in the future. Hopefully something was learned ... Who knows.

Anonymous said...


I am glad that you cleared up the fact that this happened before the Vick case. I still maintain though that the work that organizations such as BadRap and Best Friends do amazing things in the fight for the breed. You are all truly amazing, and I look forward to meeting all of you someday. Until then, keep fighting the good fight!
God Bless!


Unknown said...

What is BadRap's suggestion on what to do in these situations?

I've seen dogs become incredibly dangerous or dead inside from lack of socialization, exercise and proper care as they languish in a shelter awaiting a court's decision. It was heartbreaking watching these dogs be further destroyed by a system that is "supposed" to help them. None of the dogs at the shelter I volunteered at made it out alive, all the court cases went in favor of the state and the dogs were euthed.

I'm not advocating automatic euthanasia by any stretch. There must be a better system, though. Those dogs did not deserve to die.

Donna said...

That's a great question that pushes us all to think outside the box, Rinalia.

The 'old way' of warehousing dogs in tiny spaces isn't working for our most popular breed, so what we learn from fight bust cases can be applied to every shelter that has a population of pit bulls.

Looking at what's worked: Believe it or not, the HSUS inadvertently created a fantastic situation for long term pit bulls after Katrina. If only they would recognize that they found a workable solution. That is, they housed dozens of pit bulls - some very drivey and dog aggressive - in a large 100 year old barn at a men's prison in 10x10 pens for several months. The dogs were cared for by inmates and most got a 1x outing which included a walk and a roll around in a nearby field. When we finally met the dogs, I expected them to be a neurotic mess of pent up energy but they were some of the happiest sheltered dogs I'd ever met. This is where LawDog Hemi came from --- he was one hell of a drivey boy but as sane and happy as a pig in mud. The program was a success in that it improved the lives of the inmates as well as the dogs.

So, there's one for-instance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the text of the law.

I note that.. importantly .. it says the dogs MAY be destroyed. Not MUST or SHALL. "May" gives officials discretion. They DO NOT HAVE TO KILL these dogs.

Let's hope in the future they will not.

jonzak said...

Whomever made the call to euthanize the dogs did so probably because they believed no one would care. A terrible testament to the disregard most have for a Pit Bull's life. I'd like to think that with what your organization has done, the work of Jane Berkey and AFF and even Roo and Wallace, that somehow that attitude will change, and has changed. I so deeply respect the work you do and especially how you go about doing it. Rock on Bad Rap!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting the note about the dogs at the men's prison after Katrina. That's the first I ever heard about them after we helped load that truck up that night. I never did trust that HSUS was actually taking them where they said they were going and that has really been haunting me...

Donna said...

Jon - Thanks for your vote of confidence. It takes an army tho,' I tellya.

Brent - I worried about that load of dogs too! It made me crazy. But interestingly, the Katrina pit bulls - no matter how scarred or dog aggressive - were safer with HSUS than any other org at the time. They feared public outrage if any owned dogs were put to sleep. This load of dogs stayed at the prison for 6-8 months and were treated rather well, considering. Large credit goes to a local veterinarian though who voluntarily took on the job of vetting them and helping to find them homes.

Here's some info we posted long ago on those dogs and that project.

Kirsten said...

More rescue groups and good foster homes would help, too. Until we work out a way to clone Bad Rap and distribute them around the world ;)...

I work at a very crowded shelter, and any time we have breed rescue groups or good foster parents waiting in the wings, we call on them.

It's harder for shelters to 'disappear' dogs so heartlessly and thoughtlessly if there is outside pressure from people offering to help, and offering viable solutions.

So, I say, keep the pressure on shelters to do the right thing if their ethics/ methods/ solutions are looking suspect, and help organize alternatives. Most shelters, good or bad, need all the help they can get.