Ok, now that the news has broken on the DCHS statement from Thursday, we can sift through some of the details and figure out where things are really at. The CapTimes brings us up to speed with this article from Friday. The WSJ covered this as well. NBC15 adds video. We've posted some pics online from DCHS.
Well if you read these stories, there's a few things that don't pop up. I read the formal legal response that DCHS filed jointly with Dane County (the legal-entity) and many of it's juicier tidbits are not in any of the articles. (more below)
-"Respondents" (DCHS/Dane County) fail to recognize Lowery's ownership of at least some of the animals.
-Respondents state that there are reasonable grounds to believe the owners mistreated the dogs in violation of Wisconsin animal-cruelty statutes.
-Respondents find at least some of the dogs (7) to pose a significant threat to public safety (and should be euthanized).
-Item found at Lowery's ranch include "break-sticks" with bite marks (to pry jaws of fighting pits), lots of dog-fighting literature, a well-stocked pharmacy, a "jenny" (cat-mill), and two treadmills.
-The dog fighting literature included several issues of "Scratch and Match" magazine (dog-fighting sub-cult terminology). One issue includes an article written by Robert Lowery of "Windy City Combine". Windy City Combine is the name of Lowery's kennel. Several issues of Scratch and Match contain adds for Windy City Combine dogs (ed. note: very tough to find anything on "Scratch and Match" online - this is not an easy-to-find title...)
-Dog fighting literature also included issues of "Pit Master" magazine (still looking for this one too), an issue of "Gameness" which contains an interview with "Rob Lowery" of "Windy City Combine" regarding dog fighting, a copy of "Highlander Rules of Combat and the Certified Contender and Championship System" (a 22-page manual containing very detailed rules governing dog fighting), and other veterinary articles regarding treating animals in-shock and recovery from traumatic injury.
-The well-stocked pharmacy included IV drug sets, surgical tape, skin staplers, numerous catheters, scalpels, splints, syringes, vet-prescibed pharmaceuticals, and testosterone (commonly used to build muscle in fighting-dogs).
-Upon arrival to DCHS the "vast majority of the dogs exhibited injuries and symptoms consistent with those resulting from intentionally istigated dog fighting." There injuries included old and fresh puncture-wounds and scars (particulary on limbs and faces), missing and deformed limbs - feet - and toes, irregular - torn - and scarred ears, missing and broken teeth, blindness and other eye damage, irritation, redness, and hair-loss.
-Besides the 7 dogs showing human-aggression issues, there are 25 that are showing dog-aggression at an alarming level. Over three-quarters of the dogs show elevated arousal levels.
-Reasonable grounds exist to believe that the dogs were either bred for, trained for, or used in intentionally instigated animal fighting.
-Respondents also ask the court to require Lowery to reimburse Dane County and/or DCHS for all costs incurred to-date and in the future relating to the care, custody, and treatment of the dogs (cool!).
So those are the salient aspects of the petition to maintain custody and ideally accept surrender of all 48 dogs. We will post an Adobe file of the court-filing as soon as I get a chance to scan it all in (12 pages).
I'm sure Lowery will explain most of the medical stuff away as a necessary bybroduct of breeding aggressive dogs. The magazines and articles are a lot harder to explain away. We'll see how the press deals with these hard pieces of physical evidence. Taken as a whole, the evidence paints quite a picture.
Lowery is clearly eager to get his hands back on his dogs. They represent a ton of cash in the dog-fighting world and I'm betting a few are not his, but dogs he was holding/raising for friends (clients?). DCHS has extra security on these dogs for this exact reason. We're not talking about a law-and-order crowd here.
So that's where we stand.
DCHS needs our general support in their request to accept surrender of these 48 dogs. That is the most important thing that needs to happen right now.
(BTW, this pic is not from DCHS nor does it depict one of Lowery's dogs. It was random.)