Pets believed stolen for dog fighting - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pets believed stolen for dog fighting

August 22, 2006
By Theresa Schmidt

In just two days Calcasieu  Animal Control has had three or four complaints of dogs being stolen and it is believed that they are being taken for use in dog fighting. Animal Control spokesman David Marcantel says some dogs are stolen to fight by "mostly street fighters" while other dogs taken are used to train fighting dogs.  And Marcantel says a ring is operating in Calcasieu Parish involving the theft of household pets used in connection with dogfighting.  

One theft victim, Courtney Manning, is speaking out in hopes of finding her dog alive. Manning says close to 30 dogs, mostly pit bulls, but others too, have been stolen just over the past couple of weeks from here area in Lake Charles. "Like from Friday to Sunday there were about 30 dogs taken that I'm aware of. Everybody's scared to speak up, but I'm not," said Manning. 

Her pit bull, named Chyna, was taken from a fenced yard.  Manning said that the dogs collar and tags were thrown out of her sight.  She is convinced that her dog is to be used for dog fighting which could prove fatal.  "These dogs mean too much to too many people to do this and these dogs are worth a whole lot of money. I am pretty sure that's what people are doing, taking. . .whoever is taking these dogs to fight, its not fair. And I know that is the only reason people would take them," said Manning.  Dogfighting is a felony.

Manning credits Chyna with saving the life of her infant daughter who suffers seizures. "If it wouldn't be for her, my little girl probably wouldn't be here. I was in the bathtub and my little girl was having a seizure, and my dog was barking, and needless to say she let me know something was wrong with her."

And while losing Chyna any way would be painful, Manning is especially heart broken that her dog may be treated with such cruelty.  "Bait dogs are basically where they train another pit to attack. That's how they train them to fight, use other dogs as basically. . .chew toys, that's what they are. That's what I am scared going to happen to her because she won't fight, I know she wouldn't," said Manning. 

Manning's neighborhood is not the only one falling prey to the theft ring.  Marcantel,  with Calcasieu Animal Control,  says the thefts are occurring all around the parish-- and that while most of the animals stolen are pit bull dogs and some Rottweilers,  all breeds and even cats are at risk too, because they can be used for training.  Marcantel says any household pet that can be used to "reward" a fighting dog is at risk.

For now, Manning is determined to protect her puppy Ming and warn other pet owners.  Marcantell Control says if you care about your pet, keep an eye on it and watch out for people you don't recognize in your neighborhood...it could save your pets life.

Anyone with information that could help solve animal theft cases can contact Animal Control at 721-3730 or call the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department.

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