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|Judge(s):||Michael P. Kiley|
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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2008County: Shelby
Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony CTA
Alleged: Matthew R. Dalton
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Rural Stewardson resident Matthew R. Dalton, 34, is being held under $50,000 bond and has been charged with one count of alleged cannabis possession with intent to deliver and multiple counts of dog fighting and other related charges.
Dalton's bond was set at the $50,000 amount at the request of Shelby County State's Attorney Allan Lolie during a court hearing before Judge Michael P. Kiley in Shelby County Circuit Court today.
Dalton said he plans to post bail and would require approximately two weeks to hire private legal counsel. Judge Kiley set Dalton's first appearance with counsel for 10 a.m. on Sept. 8.
Dalton also is scheduled to appear earlier, on Aug. 25, to deal with a petition for posting of security prior to trial in reference to the cost of providing care for 23 so-called pit bull fighting dogs confiscated at his residence and now being cared for by the Shelby County animal control warden.
In a petition for forfeiture of the dogs, Lolie alleges that at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, Dalton was arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and charged with five counts of cruel treatment to animals, in that he was training dogs to fight each other; five counts of dog fighting and five counts of violation of owner's duties in that he failed to provide a sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water.
Lolie told Judge Kiley that sheriff's deputies and animal control personnel observed the violations at Dalton's residence.
"The animals were being possessed and trained with the intent to use them for dog fighting. Although the defendant is currently only charged with five counts of each of the above violations, all 23 dogs seized were possessed for dog fighting purposes and were not properly fed or hydrated," said Lolie in the petition for forfeiture.
Lolie noted that he seeks Dalton provide $2,976.20 security for 30 days, or forfeit the animals that were seized. That issue will be dealt with during the Aug. 25 hearing.
Lolie explained that officials initially arrived at the Dalton residence on Aug. 19 to serve a search warrant in regard to the nine male and 14 female dogs that ultimately were seized.
During that process, indications of alleged cannabis on the property were observed and a second search warrant was obtained before authorities found alleged cannabis in an amount over 2,000 grams but less than 5,000 grams – approximately nine pounds – according to Lolie.
Dalton has been charged with one count of unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.
The remaining 15 counts deal with the dogs.
Those counts allege illegal dog fighting, cruel treatment to animals, and violation of owner's duties, explained Lolie.
The various dog fighting counts refer to specific animals seized, and allege that Dalton knew those specific dogs were "intended for use in an activity involving a fight between the dog and any other animal."
The various cruel treatment to animals counts refer to specific animals seized, and allege that Dalton "cruelly treated an animal… in that he abused the animal by training it to fight other animals."
The various violation of owner's duties counts refer to specific animals seized, and allege that Dalton "intentionally failed to provide a sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water."
Lolie said law enforcement officials discovered the dogs chained in such a manner as to be close to each other without being able to physically make contact, which he said tends to make them agitated and is an alleged method used in the training of fighting dogs.
Many of the dogs were found to have scars on their face, neck, back and other body areas, and in one case, a black male dog had an open wound on its leg.
Other dogs were described in various ways such as "very thin," "extremely scarred," "thin," or in "not bad shape."
Lolie also noted that officials found on the property other indications of dog fight training, such as so-called "break sticks" used to pry apart the jaws of fighting dogs, chains, and treadmills for training purposes.
If convicted of the cannabis-related count, which is a Class I felony, Dalton could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment, probation, and/or a fine of up to $150,000.
The remaining counts dealing with the dogs range from Class 4 felonies to misdemeanor counts that could include sentences of state imprisonment or time served in the county jail, probation or fines.
|The 23 pit bulls seized from a Stewardson man's home on Aug. 19 were euthanized Tuesday [Sept 9, 2008] after the man accused of abusing the dogs failed to pay fines for the care of the dogs.|
In a Monday hearing in Shelby County Circuit Court, it was discovered Matthew Dalton, 34, failed to pay $3,000 for the care of the pit bulls. A judge then ordered the dogs to either be put up for adoption or be euthanized.
Shelby County State's Attorney Allan Lolie said the dogs were euthanized Tuesday.
According to state statute, if any animal is malnourished or maltreated, it can be put up for adoption or euthanized if the owner does not take responsibility for the animals, said Lolie.
George Donley, Shelby County animal control officer, called the Department of Agriculture and U.S. Humane Society to see about the possibility of adopting the dogs out. According to Lolie, Donley was advised to euthanize the dogs because they were malnourished and were trained to kill other dogs.
Lolie said Donley abided by what authorities advised him to do, adding this was not a case Donley relished.
According to Lolie, the dogs couldn't be kept in the same pens in the Shelby County Animal Shelter because they would kill each other.
He said he has seen how the dogs react around each other, having witnessed two of the dogs chewing through a chainlink fence trying to get to each other.
Lolie doesn't believe this is a case specific to a dog breed, saying any animal can be trained to kill, not just pit bulls.
"It's a sad case," he said.
The dogs were seized on Aug. 19, along with more than 10 pounds of cannabis, after two searches of Dalton's residence. Dalton was arrested after the second search. He is facing 15 counts of dog fighting and animal cruelty charges, alongside a felony drug charge.Dalton's next court appearance is set for Sept. 29.
|Source: Effingham Daily News - Sept 10, 2008|
Update posted on Sep 10, 2008 - 11:31PM
- Shelby County News - Aug 21, 2008
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