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|Prosecutor(s):|| Matt Whitworth|
|Defense(s): ||Larry Pace|
|Judge(s):|| Ortrie Smith| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Wednesday, Jul 8, 2009County: Harrison
Charges: Felony CTA
» Rick P. Hihath
» Cris E. Bottcher
» Jill D. Makstaller
» Julio Reyes
» Zachary R. Connelly
» Kevin P. Tasler
» Ryan J. Tasler
» Andrew D. Makstaller
Case Updates: 21 update(s) available
A federal grand jury has indicted two Missouri men and five others for purportedly operating a pit bull dog-fighting ring in Northwest Missouri.
The charges, unsealed Wednesday morning, allege that Rick P. Hihath, 55, of St. Joseph, Cris E. Bottcher, 48, of Gilman City, Mo., Jill D. Makstaller, 32, of Perry, Iowa, Julio Reyes, 28, of Tecumseh, Neb., Zachary R. Connelly, 32, of Ogden, Iowa, Kevin P. Tasler, 51, of Jefferson, Iowa, and Ryan J. Tasler, 32, of Woodward, Iowa, conspired to sponsor a dog-fighting enterprise.
According to the indictment, the conspirators bet thousands of dollars on the outcome of at least three fights that occurred between late February and early May at Bottcher's farm in Gilman City, about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City in Harrison County.
After an April 25 fight, Bottcher alleged used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot two dogs who had fought that night, "but did not perform to the handler's/owner's expectations," according to the indictment.
At a Feb. 28 dog fight, Connelly and Ryan Tasler purportedly discussed how they disposed of dogs they had killed after fights.
"They said they burn their dogs in a barrel so if police come to their property all the police would see are holes burned in the ground," the indictment alleged.
The indictment also alleged that Bottcher and Hihath spoke of killing dogs and throwing them in the river.
The indictment also alleged that conspirators denied "adequate and humane medical treatment" for wounds or injuries that the dogs had suffered in the fights.
|A Nebraska man arrested as part of a multistate dogfighting investigation has been given six months in prison.|
Julio Reyes of Tecumseh had pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge of buying, selling or delivering animals for fights. He also was sentenced earlier this month to three years of supervised release after prison. In addition, he must make restitution of nearly $5,000 to the Nebraska Humane Society, which cared for four pit bulls seized from his home last July.
Reyes' plea came after a deal he made in January with federal prosecutors in Kansas City, Mo.
Reyes was among more than two dozen people accused by U.S. attorneys in several states of cruelties after authorities conducted raids in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Mississippi.
|Source: Omaha.com - Apr 16, 2010|
Update posted on Jun 2, 2010 - 3:31PM
|A husband and wife from Iowa were placed on probation Monday for taking a pit bull to a northern Missouri dogfight last April.|
Jill Makstaller, 33, and Andrew Makstaller, 35, previously pleaded guilty to the dogfighting charge in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. They were among eight defendants charged in connection with the dogfighting case centered on a farm near Gilman City, Mo.
Each Makstaller was placed on probation for two years. Jill Makstaller was ordered to serve six months of house arrest and perform 100 hours of community service. Andrew Makstaller must perform 50 hours of community service.
|Source: Kansas City Star - May 11, 2010|
Update posted on May 11, 2010 - 10:08AM
|Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that three more defendants were sentenced in federal court for promoting or participating in dog fights.|
“Dog fighting is not only criminal, but cruel,” Phillips said. “Our community will not tolerate such inhumanity, and we will aggressively prosecute those who abuse and mistreat animals for the sake of this blood sport.”
Cris E. Bottcher, 49, of Gilman City, Mo., Kevin P. Tasler, 52, of Jefferson, Iowa, and Ryan J. Tasler, 43, of Woodward, Iowa, were sentenced in separate hearings before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. Bottcher was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison without parole. Kevin Tasler was sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of home detention and 100 hours of community service. Ryan Tasler was sentenced to two years of probation, including 50 hours of community service.
This case was part of a multi-state investigation that resulted in additional defendants being charged in separate cases in three other districts, as well as the federal seizure of hundreds of dogs during a series of coordinated raids on July 8, 2009.
Bottcher, Kevin Tasler and Ryan Tasler each pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to transport animals across state lines for an animal fighting venture. In addition to the conspiracy, Bottcher also pleaded guilty to sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.
Bottcher admitted that he hosted a series of dog fights at his farm property. Bottcher also admitted that he bet money on the fights and that he euthanized dogs that had been wounded or underperformed in dog fights. At one of the dog fights, Bottcher used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot and kill two dogs, then disposed of the bodies by placing them in plastic containers.
Co-defendant Rick P. Hihath, 56, of St. Joseph, was sentenced on Feb. 22, 2010, to 16 months in federal prison without parole. Following his prison term, Hihath must serve three years of supervised release, during which he is prohibited from owning or possessing any dogs, and must serve 100 hours of community service. Hihath will surrender to begin serving his prison sentence on April 5, 2010.
Hihath pleaded guilty on Oct. 14, 2009, to his role in a conspiracy to transport animals across state lines for an animal fighting venture. In addition to the conspiracy, Hihath also pleaded guilty to sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture. Hihath was the promoter and sponsor of the match fights and roll fights involving pit bull fighting dogs transported from Iowa and Nebraska to Missouri.
Co-defendants Jill D. Makstaller, 33, and her husband, Andrew D. Makstaller, 34, of Perry, Iowa, and Julio Reyes, 30, of Tecumseh, Neb., have pleaded guilty to their roles in the dog-fighting conspiracy and await sentencing.
The government is seeking to take legal ownership of Bottcher’s 11 pit bulls, Ryan Tasler’s five pit bulls, Kevin Tasler’s two pit bulls, Hihath’s 12 dogs (seven pit bull terriers and five American bulldogs), and the Makstallers’ 23 pit bulls, all of which are in the care and custody of the Humane Society. Under federal law, the government can seek the forfeiture of any animals engaged in an animal fighting venture. Additionally, the government is seeking a court order requiring the defendants to reimburse the Humane Society for all costs incurred for care of the animals while the animals are in the custody of the Humane Society.
|Source: Infozine.com - Apr 5, 2010|
Update posted on Apr 5, 2010 - 1:50PM
|A St. Joseph man is among eight people who have pleaded guilty in federal court in a dogfighting ring.|
Federal prosecutors presented a disturbing video as part of the evidence presented at a sentencing hearing on Monday for Rick Hihath.
United States attorneys said Hihath, 56, pleaded guilty to his role in the dogfighting conspiracy and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
An undercover surveillance video showed Hihath going over the rules and taking bets at a dog fight in Missouri. Prosecutors said he was the promoter and sponsor of the dog fights, involving pit bulls that were transported from Iowa and Nebraska to Missouri.
The government is seeking ownership of Hihath's 12 dogs and at least 40 dogs from the other defendants named in the dogfighting ring.
Among the eight people listed, there is a husband and wife from Iowa. Jill and Andrew Makstallers, who owned 23 pit bulls, pleaded guilty to transporting a pit bull for a dog fight.
|Source: KCTV - Feb 22, 2010|
Update posted on Feb 23, 2010 - 12:02AM
|A former teacher from northwest Missouri will serve 16 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting scheme exposed in a multistate raid last July.|
Fifty-six-year-old Rick Hihath of St. Joseph received the maximum sentence Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. He was one of eight people from Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa indicted in the investigation and pleaded guilty last October.
Hihath taught at a state school for handicapped children. He told Judge Ortrie Smith that the case cost him his job and possibly his house.
Surveillance video showed Hihath supervising dog fights at the Gilman City property of a co-defendant. In the video, Hihath hands over a nonperforming dog that is then fatally shot.
|Source: Fox 4 - Feb 22, 2010|
Update posted on Feb 22, 2010 - 11:20PM
|Jill and Andrew Makstaller of Perry, Iowa, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to promote and participate in dogfights in Northwest Missouri.|
The Makstallers transported a pit bull from Iowa to a fight in Gilman City, Mo. Cris E. Bottcher, 49, owned that home and also pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy. Mr. Bottcher will be sentenced March 26.
Rick P. Hihath, 56, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty as well to his role in the scheme. His sentencing will be Feb. 22. Mr. Hihath was the promoter and sponsor of the fights involving dogs from Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.
The government wants to take ownership of Mr. Makstaller’s 23 pit bulls, Mr. Hihath’s 12 dogs and Mr. Bottcher’s 11 pit bulls -- in addition to the dogs of other co-defendants. All the animals are with the Humane Society. The government also seeks to have the defendants reimburse the Humane Society for the cost of the animals’ care.
The federal court will schedule the Makstallers’ sentencings after the United States Probation Office completes its investigations. The defendants each face a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, fines that can’t exceed $250,00 and restitution.
|Source: St Joe News - Feb 12, 2010|
Update posted on Feb 17, 2010 - 10:36AM
|Dozens of rescued dogs will be leaving St. Louis this morning for special homes across the country. They are some of the 400 pit bulls that were rescued in July in the largest dog fighting bust in U.S. history. 26 pit bulls will be dropped off at adoptive homes throughout many western states including Utah, Oregon and California. The Humane Society is working with rescue groups, organizations that know how to deal with dogs that were trained to fight.|
The animals' new owners know how to handle the dogs and retrain them. The dogs were brought to the Humane Society in July as part of a record five state raid. There were federal indictments and close to 30 arrests.
Another 31 dogs will be leaving St. Louis this afternoon they are headed for homes on the east coast. A judge recently ruled that these dogs are adoptable.
|Source: fox2now.com - Nov 12, 2009|
Update posted on Nov 12, 2009 - 2:38PM
|The Humane Society of Missouri says it has an urgent need for supplies for more than 150 pit bull puppies in its care as a result of a multi-state dogfighting raid.|
Fifty puppies were among the more than 400 dogs seized in the raid July 8. Meanwhile, an additional 100 or so have been born since then to other dogs who were rescued in the raid.
The St. Louis-based Humane Society says it desperately needs toys, peanut butter and other items needed for the active puppies. It is also accepting monetary donations.
|Source: BND.com - Nov 12, 2009|
Update posted on Nov 12, 2009 - 2:24PM
|A St. Joseph, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a northwest Missouri dog-fighting conspiracy.|
Rick P. Hihath, 55, admitted that he promoted and sponsored three dogfights between February and May 2009 at the home of a co-conspirator, who already has pleaded guilty.
Cris E. Bottcher, 48, of Gilman City, pleaded guilty last week to identical charges of conspiracy and sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.
A Kansas City grand jury indicted Hihath, an employee at a state school for the handicapped and former school teacher, and six others in June, charging them with running a dog-fighting ring. In all, more than 20 defendants were charged in Missouri and other states with participating in what has been described as the largest dog-fighting operation ever uncovered in the U.S.
Prosecutors said the government is seeking legal ownership of 18 pit bull terriers and five American bulldogs owned by Hihath and Bottcher. Those dogs are in the custody of the Humane Society, which assisted authorities in the investigation.
Authorities also are seeking ownership of 46 dogs owned by Jack Ruppel of Eldon, Mo., who pleaded guilty in September to his role in a separate case that was uncovered in the same investigation. Ruppel admitted that he participated in 10 dog fights between July 2008 and April 2009.
Hilhath will be sentenced Feb. 23.
|Source: kansascity.com - Oct 14, 2009|
Update posted on Oct 14, 2009 - 4:49PM
|A northern Missouri man pleaded guilty this afternoon to charges filed in connection with dog fights that took place on his farm property.|
Chris E. Bottcher, 48, of Gilman City, was among several dozen persons charged this summer with participating in what has been described as the largest dog-fighting operation uncovered in the United States.
Bottcher, one of seven defendants charged in federal court in the western Missouri, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sponsor animal fighting and one count of sponsoring animal fighting. He faces a maximum of five years on each count. He will be sentenced Feb. 26.
|Source: KansasCity.com - Oct 6, 2009|
Update posted on Oct 6, 2009 - 10:42PM
|A Madrid High School teacher has lost his job after being indicted on dogfighting charges.|
The Madrid School Board voted Friday to terminate Ryan Tasler’s contract, effective immediately.
Tasler was one of four Iowans arrested in a dogfighting raid. He and the other three defendants pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial on Monday.
Tasler was a science teacher and golf coach at the school.
|Source: Globe Gazette - Aug 22, 2009|
Update posted on Aug 23, 2009 - 7:39PM
|Four Iowans who were indicted for their alleged roles in a northwest Missouri dogfighting ring have pleaded not guilty to felony charges and are scheduled to stand trial on Aug. 24.|
The pleas in a western Missouri federal court came about two weeks after authorities arrested Jill D. Makstaller of Perry; Zachary R. Connelly of Ogden; Kevin P. Tasler of Jefferson; and Ryan J. Tasler of Woodward.
Prosecutors allege that the quartet were part of a ring that would "routinely and inhumanely abandon and destroy certain pit bull dogs that became severely injured, wounded, or disabled" in the fights.
The indictment also names a Nebraska man and two alleged organizers from Missouri. The Iowa arrests stem from alleged dogfights in February, April and May at a home in Gilman City, Mo., about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City.
Participants wagered a combined $7,200 during two of the gatherings, according to the indictment. Some pit bulls were allegedly thrown in a river to conceal the operation from authorities. Others were shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle or burned in a barrel, prosecutors allege.
During one fight, Ryan Tasler allegedly acted as a "spongeman" who wiped blood from the animals. Makstaller was a timekeeper, according to the indictment, and all of the Iowans allegedly placed bets during the matches.
Makstaller was a dog trainer at the time of her arrest who specialized in Schutzhund, a German dog sport that teaches tracking, obedience and protection skills. Ryan Tasler was a high school science teacher and golf coach in the Madrid school district.
|Source: DesmoinesRegister.com - Jul 28, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 28, 2009 - 11:32PM
|A Nebraska man plead not guilty to federal dog fighting charges.|
28-year-old Julio Reyes of Tecumseh made the plea yesterday in Kansas City district court.
He is accused of 1 count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and four counts of transporting animals to fighting ventures.
Reyes was among 26 people arrested in multi state raids on July 8th. Four pit bulls were also seized from his home.
|Source: KPTV.com - Jul 24, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 27, 2009 - 4:33PM
|Undercover agents tipped off by informants infiltrated the illegal world of dogfighting by attending underground fights, leading to the arrest of at least a dozen people in several states, court documents show.|
Federal raids last week in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas led to charges against 26 people. About 500 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were rescued in the largest dogfighting seizure in U.S. history.
Documents filed recently in federal court in Kansas City, Mo., show informants began introducing federal investigators to breeders, promoters, referees, gamblers and fighters in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska in October 2007. The agents later infiltrated dogfighting operations run by those people.
In January 2008, undercover officers from several agencies began attending fights and spending time at participants' homes and rings. They used hidden audio and visual equipment to record the sights and conversations.
The agents discovered records in spiral notebooks and computers and found items used in the sport, including bloodstained carpets, digital scales, harnesses, treadmills, breeding schedules, fight-breaking sticks, contest ribbons and rifles for killing dogs, documents show.
One agent described how spouses and children egged on fighters at one rural Missouri home where matches were held in a tan metal building attached to the house. Fights drew as much as $5,000 in bets, the agent said in an affidavit.
Some dogfighters offered to help undercover officers buy dogs and obtain steroids to enhance their strength, the affidavit said.
Aerial photographs of dogfighting compounds taken by federal investigators showed dirt patches where dogs were chained on short tethers to stakes in the ground.
Agents got much of their information from an eastern Missouri man who had been involved in dogfighting for 12 years and participated in fights around the U.S. He introduced the agents to many of his associates.
An informant in western Missouri talked to a Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant, who'd been getting citizen complaints about alleged fighter Rick Hihath of St. Joseph as long ago as 2000. Hihath was charged after last week's raids with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to sponsor a dog in a fight and two counts of sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.
Hihath, who teaches physical education at a state school for the severely disabled, went by the name "the schoolteacher" when discussing dogfighting online, the affidavit said. The Highway Patrol learned from the Humane Society of the United States in 2007 that Hihath was known as a conditioner of fighting dogs whose work is referenced in dogfighting publications.
|Source: Associated Press - Jul 15, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 16, 2009 - 11:47AM
|The Nebraska Humane Society is looking after four pit bulls thought to be involved in a dog-fighting ring. The animals were seized from a Tecumseh man indicted this week in the largest dog-fighting sting in U.S. history.|
Law enforcement seized about 400 dogs across eight states from Mississippi to Illinois. 28 -year-old Julio Reyes of Tecumseh is the only Nebraskan implicated in the case. Prosecutors say he took two pit bulls to a farm in Northwest Missouri, and then placed bets on the outcomes of several fights.
Caged and scared, yet remarkably well behaved. That's how the Nebraska Humane Society describes four pit bulls seized Thursday in Tecumseh. Their owner is accused of conspiring to fight dogs for sport.
Vets say although the pit bulls are mostly healthy, some have old scars on their head, chest, or legs. "That would lend credibility to the fact that these dogs may have been fought or may have been used to train fighting dogs because there is scaring in the areas that fighting dogs typically have," said Pam Wiese.
The humane society is caring for the pit bulls until trial. Experts say while dog fighting is concentrated in rural areas; it is an issue in the Omaha area. "We get tips all the time from people that suspect dog fighting, we have found paraphernalia in homes, dead dogs in dumpsters," Wiese said.
Animal control workers say they're always on the look out for signs of trouble. "We run into a lot of cases where we've located dogs after the dog fight, where they had severe enough injuries they've had to be euthanized because they were so bad," said field investigator Kelli Brown.
Signs of dog fighting include a large number of pit bull like breeds in the same location, including dogs that tend to be aggressive toward other dogs and have scars or visible injuries.
Many times owners also force their dogs to run for hours or hang heavy chains around their necks. "Tools used to train the dogs, such as treadmills, ropes hung from trees that allow the dog to jump up and hang from it and that helps the dog to build muscle strength," Brown said.
Experts say dog fighting is a very difficult crime to crack, because it's so underground and the people involved stay pretty closed lipped. The humane society does offer big bucks for information that leads to a dog fighting arrest and recovery of the animals involved.
The humane society says it's too early to tell if the dogs involved in the Tecumseh case can be rehabilitated, but they're hopeful and just glad the dogs were saved before they were seriously hurt or killed because they didn't perform.
|Source: KPTM.com Jul 11, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 12, 2009 - 12:27AM
|Nearly three-dozen dogs that were seized in this week's sting of a dog-fighting ring are now being housed in Des Moines. Four locations in Iowa were raided and the U.S. Marshals Service turned over all 35 pit bulls captured to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. |
Tom Colvin, the shelter's executive director, says they're obligated to take the dogs, but it's a strain on room and resources. "This definitely puts us in a bind," Colvin says. "This takes about half of our kennels that we have available. As you can imagine, if you're going to house pit bulls, they need to be housed alone, single to a kennel."
The 35 dogs seized in Iowa and were among 350 animals captured in five states during what's believed to be the largest single crackdown on American dog-fighting rings. Four Iowans were among those arrested.
Since the pit bulls were allegedly used in dog fights, Colvin says they're having to handle them carefully. "Each dog that comes to the Animal Rescue League with unknown background, from any source, we have to be very cautious that they don't come in contact with other dogs until we make sure what their temperament is," Colvin says.
"Typically, we're going to be taking a lot of precautions but on these? Yes, we have extra concern." Since space is such an issue at the animal shelter, Colvin says other abandoned animals will likely have to be displaced by the dogs that are part of the criminal investigation.
If people would like to volunteer at the Animal Rescue League to help take care of the displaced dogs or help with any resources, contact Colvin via the website "www.arl-iowa.org". The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is a nonprofit organization, the state's largest animal shelter, and last year served more than 19,000 animals from all corners of the state.
|Source: Radio Iowa - Jul 11, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 11, 2009 - 11:58PM
|Two area men pleaded not guilty to dog-fighting charges Friday and will be released on bond.|
Rick P. Hihath, 55, of St. Joseph; and Cris E. Bottcher, 48, Gilman City; appeared for arraignment Friday at U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Both men face two counts of sponsoring animal fighting and one count of conspiracy.
They entered not-guilty pleas at the hearing. Both had been in custody after federal agents broke up a multi-state dog-fighting ring. A judge granted bond of $10,000 for each.
|Source: St.joenews.net - Jul 10, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 11, 2009 - 11:45PM
|Four Iowans accused of helping run an massive dog fighting ring will appear in court July 23rd.|
One of the Iowans indicted Wednesday is Ryan Tasler, 32, a teacher and golf coach at Madrid High School in Central Iowa. He refused to talk to reporters. Madrid school district also declined comment.
Along with Tasler, agents also arrested Jill Makstaller of Perry, Zachary Connelly of Ogden and Kevin Tasler of Jefferson. Each faces up to ten years in prison.
Those arrests were part of coordinated raids on a dog fighting ring in five states yesterday.
It netted 30 arrests and seized about 400 dogs.
|Source: KCRG.com - Jul 9, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 9, 2009 - 6:39PM
|A news release from the U.S. Attorney says 43-year-old Jill Makstaller of Perry, 32-year-old Zachary Connelly of Ogden, 51-year-old Kevin Tasler of Jefferson and 42-year-old Ryan J. Tasler were named in the indictment. The court information says Kevin Tasler, Ryan Tasler, Makstaller, and Connelly are each charged with one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.|
Proscuters allege the Iowans traveled to a Missouri farm for dog fights in April, May and June of this year. They say Ryan Tasler was the spongeman in one fight-- providing sponges to the dogs' handlers to wipe blood off their dogs or cool them down. On another night Connelly allegedly handled his dog, "Tommy". Makstaller was the referee for that first fight and the timekeeper for a second fight.
Ryan Tasler also allegedly was the timekeeper and spongeman for the first fight and also bet on the fight along with Connelly and Makstaller. The indictment says the dogs were often seriously injured and shot to death after the fights. The information also says several hundred dogs were seized in raids by several federal and state law officers connected to the case. It does not say if dogs were seized in Iowa.
The information says Ryan Tasler is employed by the Madrid Community School District -- but does not give further information on the other Iowans.
|Source: Radio Iowa - Jul 8, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 8, 2009 - 9:33PM
|A Nebraska man was one of several charged in a federal court for allegedly promoting and participating in dogfighting.|
Julio Reyes, 28, of Tecumseh, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Missouri, said U.S. Attorney Matt Whitworth. He faces a charge of transporting animals for animal fighting. The multi-state investigation included Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
According to the indictment, the defendants bred and trained dogs, mostly pit bulls, to be used in fights that took place from January to May. In early-morning raids, officers seized 350 dogs in several locations.
The defendants routinely destroyed dogs that had become severely injured by shooting them in the head, Whitworth said. The dogs' bodies were then dumped in a river or burned in a barrel.
Investigators said numerous dog fights took place at the farm of one of the defendants, Cris E. Bottcher, a registered nurse in of Bethany, Mo.
After one of the fights on Bottcher's farm, Whitworth said, Bottcher used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot and kill two dogs who fought below the handlers' expectations. Bottcher allegedly shot each animal twice in the head, and then placed the bodies in plastic containers outside the garage.
|Source: KEYV.com - Jul 8, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 8, 2009 - 5:20PM
|Four central Iowans who allegedly participated in a Missouri dog-fighting ring were named today in a federal indictment that describes repeated abuse and neglect of pit bull terriers.|
Federal agents arrested the four in Iowa this morning and seized 35 dogs here in a coordinated crackdown in at least two states. The indictment from western Missouri also names a Nebraska man and two alleged organizers from Missouri.
The Iowans arrested were Jill D. Makstaller, 32, of Perry; Zachary R. Connelly, 32, of Ogden; Kevin P. Tasler, 51, of Jefferson; and Ryan J. Tasler, 32, of Woodward. Most of the 35 dogs seized in Iowa were taken from Makstaller, said Don Ledford, a spokesman for federal prosecutors in Kansas City.
The arrests stem from three alleged dogfights in February, April and May at a home in Gilman City, Mo., about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City.
Indictments were unsealed today in Missouri's eastern and western districts, and in east Texas. Ledford said agents planned to make an arrest in a fourth district today, but would not reveal it until the suspects were apprehended. No further arrests were expected in Iowa, he said.
|Source: Des Moines Register - Jul 8, 2009|
Update posted on Jul 8, 2009 - 2:15PM
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