Case Snapshot
Case ID: 12474
Classification: Fighting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Monday, Oct 15, 2007

County: Shelby

Disposition: Alleged

» Arthur Bland
» Walter K. Ward

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Police arrested two men and confiscated 46 dogs, including many pit bulls in a raid on a Memphis home.

Authorities say many of the animals were malnourished, scarred and unvaccinated.

Arthur Bland and Walter Ward are being held on dog fighting, animal cruelty and drug charges.

Police went to the house after a witness told police someone there had a weapon pointed at him.

When police arrived, people started running.

Bland and Ward live at the house, which is in Ward's name.

Officials say the animals will eventually be destroyed. Pit bulls are not likely to be put up for adoption and they won't be returned to owners who are charged with fighting dogs.

Case Updates

Police are investigating how nearly four dozen pit bulls were stolen from the Memphis Animal Shelter over the weekend. Shelter officials said many of the missing dogs were seized nearly a month ago in a dog-fighting raid.

It sounds too strange to be true, but police confirm someone or several people successfully broke in and walked out with dozens of pit bulls. The shelter tags each animal so they know many of them can be tied to recent busts, but are still trying to put the pieces together.

About 50 pit bull terriers were seized nearly a month ago. However, police said many, if not all of them, are gone.

"This happened during the time of the weekend it was not something that could have happened in five or ten minutes, seeing the nature of the dogs, seeing they are pit bulls, maybe the person was familiar with these dogs," said Monique Martin, of the Memphis Police Department.

Police are still tying the missing dogs to previous owners, but in October, police charged two men, Walter Ward and Arthur Bland, with animal cruelty and dog fighting after discovering the 46 pit bulls while responding to an assault call. Now they're hoping the dogs will lead them to the suspects.

There were no obvious signs of a break in from the outside. No broken glass or windows, but police said the break in happened over the weekend and was discovered Monday morning.

We know entry was gained through one of the doors," said Martin. "We're having to look at different parts of the building to determine where and with that we'll look and see if there's surveillance."

Though the shelter is fenced in, many areas in the back are hidden. Police said they believe the suspects had to plan how to get the dogs in and out. Now police are worried that these dogs are back on the streets and are asking for the public's help to track them down.

Twenty-one of the dogs seized were adults and twenty-five were puppies. Police have not caught a suspect or suspects, so they ask anyone who might know which day of the weekend the burglary took place, or any details to call the police.
Source: MyFoxMemphis - Nov 12, 2007
Update posted on Nov 13, 2007 - 2:29AM 
Forty-six pit bull or mixed-breed adult dogs and puppies taken from an alleged dog-fighting operation were being cared for at the Memphis Animal Shelter on Tuesday, but their future is gloomy at best.

The dogs -- many of them malnourished, unvaccinated and scarred -- were taken Monday evening from a back yard at 3587 Prescott.

Location of suspected breednig and training operation for fighting dogs.

Police went to the address, which is off Winchester east of Memphis International Airport, in response to a call that a man was pointing an assault weapon at bystanders.

By the time they had completed their investigation, two men charged with animal cruelty were in custody, the 46 dogs were in the pound, and various weapons, drugs and dog training equipment were in the Memphis Police Department evidence room.

Arthur Bland, 54, was being held on a $50,000 bond, charged with cock or animal fighting, cruelty to animals and possession of marijuana.

Walter K. Ward, 56, was being held on a $100,000 bond in Shelby County Jail, charged with cock or animal fighting, animal cruelty, possession of pot and drug paraphernalia.

Both men live at the Prescott address.

A witness told police Monday afternoon that someone at the address had a weapon pointed at him.

When police got there, people started running.

Ward was trying to lock a gate, then took off when he saw them, according to the charges. He was arrested after a short foot chase.

On the property, which was in Ward's name, police found 21 adult dogs and 25 puppies, mostly pit bulls, along with a treadmill used for training the dogs.

There were kennels and a cage on stilts in the yard.

Police found a crack pipe in Ward's pocket, and discovered a 2- to 3-foot-tall marijuana plant on the property.

Bland was arrested with a bag of pot, according to the charges.

Several weapons were taken from inside the house.

The dogs were in poor condition and many had fighting injuries, according to police reports.

Dogs taken by the police are held at the Memphis Animal Shelter and evaluated for health and temperament.

But, ultimately, they likely will be put to death, officials said.

They are not returned to the owners once the owners are charged with fighting dogs, and pit bulls are not likely to be put up for adoption.

The dogs were probably not part of an organized fighting ring, the shelter's operations manager Tony Butler said.

The dogs had been trained to be aggressive toward other dogs, but many did not appear to be aggressive toward humans, Butler said. If animals are sick or aggressive, the shelters won't adopt them out.

The number of dogs seized at the Prescott address was one of the largest in Memphis this year, he said.
Source: Commercial Appeal - Oct 17, 2007
Update posted on Oct 20, 2007 - 7:09PM 


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