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Friday, Feb 1, 2008County: Sarasota
Alleged: Thomas Spann
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A man charged with more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty wants to keep two of his 14 dogs that were seized.
A report says 27-year old Thomas Spann has requested a civil hearing to get back both pit bulls--an 8 week old and a 12 year old. Spann's dogs were found during a Sarasota Police Department raid on a home in the 1700 block of Central Avenue last week.
Officers say the conditions at the home were overwhelming--when referring to the odor. A report says there was days worth of dog feces, flies, fleas and a decaying rat around the 14 American pit bulls. The chains weighed a quarter of the weight of the dogs according to officers and most were underweight suffering from malnutrition. No dog food was found anywhere on the premises. Most of the dogs had worms according to officers and they suffered hair loss and sores.
The smallest puppy was in a 3x4 wooden box with only a one-inch opening for air. Officers say the box was ammonia soaked with urine and there were visible claw marks where the puppy tried to get out. Some of the dogs also suffered from bite wounds, which a report says is consistent with dog fighting.
Spann admitted he didn't take his injured dogs to the vet and continued to breed them in the conditions they were in. Officers say other items in the yard are signs that Spann was training his dogs to fight.
Spann is charged with fighting animals and 15 counts of animal cruelty. He is out on bond tonight.
|Investigators raiding a suspected drug house found 14 dogs in terrible condition, tied with heavy chains, suffering from untreated bite wounds and infested with worms and fleas, Sarasota County authorities said.|
In a line of cages at the Sarasota County Animal Shelter on Monday, two of the dogs cowered in a corner. Another dog, this one missing part of its muzzle and part of an ear, paced back and forth at the gate and barked at anyone who approached.
Those are the outward signs of damage, but the dogs also have suffered behavioral damage and likely will be euthanized. They will be put through a battery of tests as their owner heads to court on 34 charges, including drug possession, animal abuse and dogfighting, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.
The owner, Thomas Spann, 27, posted bail and has been released from jail as he awaits trial. He is fighting for custody of two of the dogs.
The other 12 dogs are locked in the shelter, away from where the public can see them, and will go through a series of behavior tests. A dog that gets aggressive when it is walked past another dog or when food is taken from it could be a liability to any family who adopts it, animal control officials said. "If it fails, it wouldn't work in a regular house," said Tami Treadway, shelter supervisor. "Most of the people who come to shelters want a family pet. That's not what comes into a shelter like ours." The dogs all appear to be at least part pit bull terrier. The dogs were found late last week at 1735 Central Ave. in Sarasota.
Investigators say one puppy was in a wooden box with a 1-inch slit for ventilation. Another dog found in a box had a swollen, infected bite wound on its shoulder. Five were confined with short, heavy chains, a condition that Treadway said can make a dog neurotic and ultradefensive of his territory. Investigators say they found a bicycle tire hanging from a tree, an indication dogs were being trained to fight.
Spann told detectives he is a breeder of pit bull terriers, sheriff's office records state.
|Source: Tampa Bay Online - February 12, 2008|
Update posted on Feb 13, 2008 - 8:32AM
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