Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17274
Classification: Fighting, Neglect / Abandonment, Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Dec 9, 2010

County: Alameda

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 4 files available

Alleged: Arthey Gene Yancey

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

An Oakland man was facing charges of animal cruelty Tuesday after investigators said they found dogs piled high in crates living in their own filth inside his home.

Megan Webb, the director of Oakland Animal Services, called it a heartbreaking case that she said was the largest single instance of animal abuse she's ever seen.

"Several of us did cry," recalled Webb. "It was tough to see."

Dog cages were stacked on top of each other in a single small room. In all, 33 dogs were crammed into the small space living in their own waste.

Animal control officers arrived at the house on Capistrano Drive in East Oakland after getting complaints about noise and foul odors.

"The smell was very intense," said Webb, "It was almost impossible to breathe in that space."

Police arrested Arthey Yancey on felony charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

Neighbors said they knew he had dogs, but didn't know how many. Area resident Reinaldo Mejia described seeing the dogs as they were removed from the home.

"Some of them were maybe cramped or confined that they probably couldn't walk," said Mejia.

Many of the dogs were too sick to be saved. Others animals were too aggressive to consider for placing in homes.

Those that survived still have struggles. Amarilis, a white pit bull, had her fur stained yellow from living in her own waste.

Webb said most of the dogs suffered from a condition known as "urine scalding" from sitting in their own feces and urine.

Still, new homes have been found for some of the animals that made it through the ordeal.

"It's amazing after seeing what the conditions they were living in how they've adapted and are doing so well," said Webb.

It's also a sign of changing attitudes in Oakland with residents calling in animal abuse cases and authorities using the law to go after those who don't care for their pets.

Animal abuse in Oakland is being taken very seriously and that's what we want to see, said Webb.

As the investigation into the incident continued, authorities said if there were signs any of these dogs were used for fighting, more felony charges could be filed.

Case Updates

A reporter and a cameraman for ABC7 TV were assaulted and robbed Thursday evening in East Oakland while reporting about efforts to find new homes for a pack of severely abused pit-bull dogs.

The two men had finished interviewing neighbors in the 600 block of Capistrano Drive, near where officers found the abused and neglected animals in December, about 7:10 p.m. when two men approached them. One forced the reporter, Tomas Roman, to the ground at gunpoint and threatened his life. The other armed man confronted the cameraman, Stan Wong, and beat him with a gun. The robbers ran away with Wong's Panasonic P2 video camera. The victims were taken to a hospital. Police have made no arrests and the camera has not been recovered.

ABC7 News Director Kevin Keeshan said the attack was traumatic for the victims, but he could not discuss their condition because of ABC policies. "They had no reason to think they were in danger," he said.

As is the case with other victims of violent crimes, the Oakland Police Department and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $5,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call 510-238-3326, or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.
Source: - Jan 28, 2011
Update posted on Jan 31, 2011 - 2:18PM 
Oakland animal care officers were struggling this week to find homes for dozens of pit bulls rescued in one of the largest animal cruelty busts in decades.

"It was horrific, absolutely terrible," said Oakland police Officer Sarah Whitmeyer, who helped lead the raid on a squalid East Oakland home. "The smell was so bad even a mask didn't help. All of us were coughing and trying to breathe."

Police found 33 bloody and terrified pit bulls at the two-bedroom Sobrante Park home owned by Arthey Yancey when they swept through with a warrant on Dec. 9. The dogs were in crates stacked three high in a makeshift storage room. Some of the crates were so caked with excrement that the dogs had dug holes to lie in it and had skin stained yellow from urine.

Yancey, 68, was charged in Alameda County Superior Court with felony animal cruelty. He is free on his own recognizance.

Some of the dogs suffered from severe cuts, evidence of fighting, while others appeared to be in relatively fair condition, said Oakland's animal service director, Megan Webb.

Several of the dogs were in such bad shape that they had to be euthanized. Some of the others were acquired by rescue groups, and the rest are at the Oakland shelter undergoing treatment or awaiting adoption.

Authorities learned about the case after neighbors complained of a ghastly smell emanating from the home. Yancey told investigators he was rescuing dogs from the neighborhood, Whitmeyer said.

Possibly fighting dogs

Police have not yet determined exactly why Yancey was keeping the dogs at his home.

"He could have been hoarding dogs, fighting dogs, breeding dogs ... we just don't know," Webb said, adding that many of them appeared at some point to have been used in organized dogfights.

The dogs were a wide range of pit bull mixes, some classic fighting dogs - lean and squat - and some possibly used as "bait" for fights or for breeding. All were large, and all but three were housed in 3-foot-long crates bound with twine. The other three were chained inside the house.

The dogs probably had rarely been outside their crates, Webb said. Their legs and feet are permanently splayed, and most could barely walk for several days after they were brought to the shelter. Most have gnarled teeth from chewing on the crate bars, she said.

But worst of all, most of the dogs were crazed from having spent their entire lives in plastic boxes, Webb said.

Easily startled

"Dogs are social animals. When these guys got out, they were literally having breakdowns," said Oakland police Sgt. David Cronin, who has been helping on the case. "They were treated like a commodity. They had no emotional value."

Webb said one of the dogs she rescued was lying in her office one day when the animal was startled by the movement of her chair. The dog suddenly urinated and defecated, began biting the air and spinning crazily in circles, Webb said.

A few of the canines have nevertheless captured the hearts of shelter staff. Edna, a 12-year-old black pit bull, was in the worst shape of all the animals confiscated from Yancey's home. She was emaciated, covered in scars from years as a bait dog, and exhausted from delivering countless litters of puppies.

But on Wednesday, she was as mellow and friendly as an old golden retriever. She loped happily around the shelter lawn and licked all her human bystanders. Her tail never stopped wagging.

Oakland has recently beefed up its animal abuse enforcement by adding a sworn officer to the shelter staff.

"Even though we can't save all the dogs, it's great when we can get at least some of them out of bad environments," Whitmeyer said. "It's very gratifying."
Source: - Jan 27, 2011
Update posted on Jan 27, 2011 - 11:08AM 


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