UPDATE: 11:33 p.m. – Five of the more than 50 dogs seized in connection to a dogfighting ring in the Greater Lansing Area will be put down.
A Lansing District Court Judge signed off on the decision Wednesday morning as part of an agreement between court officials.
Under Michigan law, if a court finds that an animal lacks any useful purpose and poses a threat to public safety, the animal can be euthanized.
In this case, officials at Ingham County Animal Control said five of the 11 dogs who they believe have been bred or trained for dog fighting, apply and should be put down.
One dog will remain in the shelter pending the outcome of a court case.
Not everyone is happy about this decision, including Christy Lawrence and Jamie Hillman.
The two are part of the group “Save the Lansing Michigan Pitbulls.”
The group has circulated a petition signed by more than 120,000 people to protect the dogs from being euthanized.
Lawrence said she’s disappointed to learn that five dogs will be put down.
“The question that we’re all asking is how did this happen? Who made this decision?” she said. “How can you actually single these dogs out when you’ve not had a qualified evaluator assess these dogs?”
The Ingham County Animal Shelter said it made the determination.
“Five of these dogs are clearly fighting dogs,” John Dinon, Director of Ingham County Animal Control said.
According to Dinon, based on the shelter’s findings, it is mandated by law to euthanize the five dogs.
“Under Michigan law, a dog that’s been trained or used for fighting or its offspring cannot be rehomed,” he said. “So if we were to rehome them, that dog, any of those dogs, I would be committing a felony.”
As for the five other dogs, officials found they will be evaluated by an animal behavior specialist to see if they can be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.
Both Lawrence and Hillman said all 10 dogs should get the same treatment.
“They should all be treated equally so each of these dogs has a fighting chance,” Lawrence said. “It doesn’t matter if their bloodlines or whatever they’re saying…they’ve been bred for so many generations, that doesn’t matter, because dogs from those sort of situations even have come out to be model dogs.”
Jamie Hillman said the numbers don’t seem to be adding up.
“There were initially 16 dogs petitioned to the court to be put down, so I’m not sure why there are 11, one they’re still going to hold, and then there’s 10 that were handed over today by the judge, so I’m wondering where these other five dogs are and who made this decision,” Hillman said.
So far, two people have been charged in connection with the investigation. They include 47 year-old Corey Henry and his daughter 26 year-old Synquiss Antes. They both face multiple felonies including animal fighting and possession of fighting animals or equipment.
While they await their next court hearing, the investigation continues.
“This has been a long process, there’s a lot more to come, there’s still more forfeitures to do, there’s more criminal trials to do,” Dinon said. “So it’s good. Anything that is progress forward and getting a resolution to the criminal case is getting placement for the dogs.”
As for the dozens of other dogs who were seized in connection to this investigation, their future is unclear as animal control officials say they’re waiting on the court process to play out.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any new developments.
UPDATE 4:01p.m. – Five of the forfeited dogs have been trained for fighting or are the offspring of dogs used for fighting and therefore will have to be euthanized under Michigan law. The remaining five dogs will be evaluated by ICAC to determine if they can be re-homed.
LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – An agreement has been reached concerning the future of a group of dogs confiscated in an alleged dog fighting ring case.
A decision was made that ten of eleven dogs that had been held in the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter will be turned over to the county.
Animal experts will determine if the ten can be retrained and become eligible for adoption.
The eleventh dog will remain in the shelter pending the outcome of the court case brought against Corey Henry and Synquiss Antes.
Antes had asked that the dog remain in the shelter because she has an emotional attachment to the animal.
Henry, 47, of Lansing is facing multiple felonies including seven counts of animal fighting and one count of animal cruelty.
Antes, 25, is facing nine counts of animal fighting and one count of having an unlicensed dog.
They were arrested in July when police removed dozens of dogs from two south Lansing homes.
Henry and Antes are free on bond.