UPDATE: Dog Breeder Found Guilty of Animal Cruelty


UPDATE 6/20/13

WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ --It was a courtroom dog fight between Animal Control officers and a dog breeder to determine if 11 dogs were victims of animal cruelty.

Todd Fulford was in Wayne County Magistrate Court on Wednesday to answer to citations against him following a raid on his dog breeding service last week.

Jim Cumm, Director of the Huntington-Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter, says Fulford was running an unregistered service

A website says the name of his service is known as Deadgame Pattererdale Terriers International. Patterdales are smaller dogs used for hunting.

According to Cumm, the dogs were being kept in cages at a home along Big Creek Road, with little food and hardly any water.

On Jun 11, after getting a complaint from neighbors, animal control officers went to the home to check on the condition of the dogs. About an hour later, they returned with a search warrant and confiscated the animals taking them to the Huntington-Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter, and later local vet.

Fulford was cited for animal cruelty and failure to register a dog kennel, along with citations because the dogs were not wearing tags, taxes were not paid on the dogs, and he did not have proof of rabies shots in the form of tags.

Cumm says there was a great deal of fecal matter where the dogs were being kept. They found one dead puppy and the intestinal remains of another. He said many had no access to food or water, in some situations where there were water bowls filled with fungus.

"The conditions were horrible. You could smell the feces as soon as you walk around the corner," explained animal control officer Scott Iseli.

Last week, Fulford told WSAZ.com that the dogs were in fine shape when they were removed from the home.

He provided WSAZ.com with video that he says shows the area was clean.

Animal control officers say their pictures and video show a different story.

A local vet who examined the dogs after they were removed form the home said they did not appear malnourished.

"It just looks like bad conditions," explained veterinarian Holly Lyons who examined some of the dogs. She had some treated with antibiotics and steroids.

After hearing testimony from both Humane Officers and Fulford on Wednesday, a Wayne County Magistrate ruled that Fulford was guilty of animal cruelty.

Although the dogs didn't seem to be under fed, the living conditions were not considered healthy according to Humane Officer Scott Iseli.

"It's the no food, the water and the feces that's all over in the cages and the wood floors which harbor disease," said Iseli..

Defense attorney Valerie Maynard says the dogs were well taken care of by Fulford. "There were some dirty conditions. That doesn't mean it was life threatening. It doesn't mean it was cruel. These animals were all well fed. These animals were not flea infested," said Maynard.

Fulford was sentenced to 2 years supervised probation, a fine of $300 and ordered to not own any animals for 5 years.

Cumm says he is pleased with the outcome. "We have to speak for the animals because they can't speak for themselves. I'm glad we got a conviction," said Cumm.

Fulton says he plans to appeal the conviction and says he doesn't believe in his heart the dogs were mistreated.

"Cruelty to animals is the willful withholding of food and water and different things like that. You've heard I didn't have any money, still I went out and paid $31 a bag for dog food for those animals. I feed them and do without myself," said Fulford.

If Fulford appeals the conviction the dogs will remain at the shelter until the case is closed. If he does not appeal the case will be closed and the dogs will be put up for adoption.



6/12/13
WAYNE, W.Va (WSAZ) -- Eleven dogs and two puppies were rescued from a home in Wayne County.

Jim Cumm, director of the Huntington-Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter, says Todd Fulford was running the unregistered dog breeding service.

A website says the name of his service is known as Deadgame Pattererdale Terriers International.

Patterdales are smaller dogs used for hunting.

According to Cumm, the dogs were being kept in cages at a home along Big Creek Road, with little food and hardly any water. Animal control officers say there was a great deal of fecal matter where the dogs were being kept. They found one dead puppy and the intestinal remains of another.

Many had no access to food or water, in some situations where there were water bowls filled with fungus.

"The conditions were horrible. You could smell the feces as soon as you walk around the corner," explained animal control officer Scott Iseli.

Fulford was cited with animal cruelty and failure to register a dog kennel. He is also facing citations because the dogs were not wearing tags, he'd not paid the tax on them and he did not have proof of rabies shots in the form of tags.

Cumm said living conditions, neglect and lack of veterinary care are among the reasons someone can be cited with animal cruelty.

Fulford told WSAZ.com that the dogs were in fine shape when they were removed Tuesday from the home.

He provided WSAZ.com with video that he says shows the area was clean.

Animal control officers say their pictures and video show a different story.

The animals were taken to a vet on Monday. The animals did not appear malnourished.

"It just looks like bad conditions," explained veterinarian Holly Lyons who examined some of the dogs. She had some treated with antibiotics and steroids.

The animals were living on wooden boards, which officers say can breed disease.

"If they bring that dog out and put another with the wood, whatever disease was left on that wood, that dog is going to get because you can't get it out of that," Iseli explained.

This incident is the first in which the animal shelter was able to target a breeder who was not properly licensed.

Fulford has a website where he advertises the dogs. Officers say they can be sold for up to $1,200.

"He markets the dogs. He sells them online people don't understand where they are coming from or how they are being taken care of before they purchase them," Cumm said.


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