Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15836
Classification: Fighting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Lisa Riether
Defense(s): Roy Whitmore
Judge(s): Timothy G. Farrell


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Saturday, Nov 8, 2008

County: Burlington

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Khalil Spikes
» Tremaine Howell

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

A plea agreement Khalil Spikes has reached here will see him repaying more than $9,000 for the care of several animals rescued from a dog-fighting ring in his Penns Grove home last November.

Spikes, 29, of Sheffield Drive in Willingboro, pleaded guilty to a third-degree count of allowing a place for dog-fighting during an appearance in Salem County Superior Court on Tuesday.

He will be sentenced Oct. 27 to five years probation in addition to the restitution, prosecutors said.
Seven abused pit bulls were allegedly seized from the Lanning Avenue residence in the borough on Nov. 16, as well as quantities of cocaine, marijuana and a .22 caliber handgun, according to authorities.
Spikes and two other suspects were charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty in the case, among other drug- and weapons-related offenses.

Four healthy dogs were subsequently taken to an area animal shelter, where sources said they were presumably euthanized.
The three in the worst shape, however, were treated at a Mullica Hill veterinary hospital, their bills paid for by the non-profit group New Jersey Aid For Animals (NJAFA).

NJAFA founder and president Kathy McGuire, who led the effort to save the dogs, sat with her notepad in court Tuesday as an advocate for the animals, she said.

"I'm here representing these dogs as their witness," McGuire explained. "Because they don't speak for themselves."
She said the vet bills for that first day alone were more than $1,000, adding Spikes will be held responsible for such costs.

Two of the rescued pit bulls, named Miracle and Noel, have since been flown to an animal sanctuary in Texas. The third, Chance, has been adopted by a loving owner in a home without other animals or children, McGuire said.

Once called Scarface in the dog-fighting circuit, Chance bore the wounds and gashes of his brutal kill-or-be-killed encounters. Miracle was likely used for training and Noel for breeding.

In what she said was her seventh appearance in court here, McGuire recounted the doctor's unconvincing prognosis for one of those dogs, teetering on the brink of death when it arrived.

"They told me to put the dog to sleep," McGuire whispered as court was in session. "I said, 'Do whatever we can to keep him alive. Whatever it takes.'"

Animal control investigators apparently found fresh blood on basement walls in the Penns Grove home, dog-fighting equipment and animals with scarring as well as recent bite marks.

They were called out to the scene Nov. 16 after receiving complaints that one of the dogs was hanging over a fence by its chain. It had apparently jumped over and was stuck dangling there, authorities said.

Salem County First Assistant Prosecutor William Brennan said previously that some of the equipment seized in a search included canine medications, break-sticks used to open the jaws of dogs, a radio to cover noise and a scale to weigh the animals.

According to McGuire, when Spikes' sentencing date rolls around in October, she will be there once again, but this time with Chance in tow, putting a face to what she called unspeakable acts of cruelty.


Case Updates

The Salem County Prosecutor's Office is currently seeking any information regarding the whereabouts of Tremaine Howell.

He is currently wanted for failure to appear for a status conference. The underlying charge is dog fighting.

On Nov. 16, 2008, while investigating a report of an injured dog, Penns Grove Police Department uncovered an alleged dog fighting operation.

Howell was arrested relative to an investigation conducted by the Salem County Prosecutor's Office, Penns Grove Police Department and the Salem County Humane Society.

On Sept. 29, 2009, a warrant was issued out of state Superior Court in Salem County for the arrest of Howell. His last known address was in Willingboro.

Howell, 27, is described as 5 feet, 7 inches in height, 145 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Howell should contact the Salem County Prosecutor's Office at (856) 769-3508 or submit an anonymous tip online at www.salemcountyprosecutor.org
.
Please do not approach or attempt to contact the fugitive. All information is kept strictly confidential.
Source: nj.com - Oct 12, 2009
Update posted on Dec 1, 2011 - 6:08PM 
Nearly a year after several animals were rescued from a dog-fighting ring in a Penns Grove home last November, Khalil Spikes was officially sentenced for his role in the incident Friday.

Spikes will serve five years probation and pay restitution of more than $9,000 as part of a plea deal reached in September.

Spikes, 29, now of Sheffield Drive in Willingboro, had previously pleaded guilty to a third-degree count of allowing a place for dog-fighting in September. He was sentenced Friday morning in state Superior Court in Salem.

As part of his agreement, Spikes has to pay restitution to those organizations such as the New Jersey SPCA that took care of the animals after they were rescued.

“He was required to pay a lump sum today, however due to financial constraints he will have to pay $1,500 to the prosecutor’s office by noon on Monday, if not it will be a violation against his probation and we will issue a warrant out for his arrest,” prosecutor Lisa Riether explained to Judge Timothy G. Farrell.

The remaining restitution will be paid by Spikes in installments of $200 a month starting the first of the year.

Farrell made a couple of special conditions along with the probation and restitution as part of the agreement.

“There is a special condition that he not own, adopt, or care for a foster animal or reside in housing that has an animal during the term of his probation,” said Farrell.

Seven abused pit bulls were seized from the Lanning Avenue residence in Penns Grove Nov. 16 of last year. Authorities also found quantities of cocaine, marijuana and a .22 caliber handgun.

Along with two others, Spikes was originally charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty in the case including other drug- and weapons-related charges.

Authorities were called out to the scene Nov. 16 after receiving complaints that one of the dogs was hanging over a fence by its chain. According to authorities, it had apparently jumped over and was stuck dangling there.

Four of the dogs rescued were taken to an animal shelter but unfortunately sources say they were euthanized. The three other dogs were taken to a Mullica Hill veterinary hospital and treated. The non-profit group New Jersey Aid for Animals (NJAFA) paid for the bills.

NJAFA President Kathy McGuire was in attendance at the sentencing and spoke as an advocate for animals. McGuire led the effort in saving the dogs.

She explained how they spent the holidays last year trying to save the dogs. McGuire brought in pictures to show how one of the dogs is doing.

“The defendants actions were like a small-time Michael Vick and were intentional. Perhaps the defendant could get a real job instead of counting on the money he gets for fighting defenseless animals to death,” said McGuire.
Source: NJ.com - Oct 31, 2009
Update posted on Nov 12, 2009 - 6:26PM 

References

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