Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Madison-area Pit-Bull Fighting

"The evidence is pretty overwhelming that there was dog fighting going on," - Sean McBryde, DCHS Spokesman

Since this is a new blog, no information regarding the Robert Lowery pit-bull fighting ring has been published here. We're going to cover this story, as it has lots to do with the challenge of No Kill when it comes to dogs and there seems to be an unwillingness to confront the issue of dog-fighting right here in Dane County.

There is really no better opportunity to pull this issue apart, figure out who is involved, and take active steps to educate and activate ourselves so that we don't see it pop up in some other form in the near future.

What happened?

On June 14th, a DCI/Dane County Sherriff's Office raid of Lowery's home at 3554 Lake Farm Road "netted 15 pounds of marijuana, about 25 ounces of cocaine, five guns and $47,000 in cash," according to state Department of Justice spokesman Mike Bauer.

They also seiezed 52 dogs, including 52 pit-bulls during the raid. These have been turned over to the Dane County Humane Society and are being held as "evidence" (read: cannot be visited or adopted). According to a DCHS statement made to the WSJ, "they plan to ask the Dane County district attorney's office to charge Lowery with animal cruelty."

Read the article for the dirty details of drug-crime gone wacky.

Another interesting tidbit of info from the article is that Lowery was "a former Dane County Sheriff's Office deputy, and was convicted in 1983 on dog fighting and drug charges."

So this stuff isn't new to him. He was convicted of dog-fighting - not just accused.

The WSJ published an article the day before the drug-bust article talking about the break-up of a dog-fighting ring. This is where we get McBryde's quote regarding the overwhelming evidence of fighting.

Some may ask what the evidence was. The Humane Society staff found, "found dogs with torn ears, cuts and bruises, a dog with part of its leg bitten off, a dog with a broken leg that had healed improperly and a dog blinded by eye injuries." Doesn't sound like your average breeding operation, does it? DCHS officials go on to point out that the dogs are "traumatized and require special-attention" - stretching resources to the breaking point.
DCHS's McBryde goes on to describe his assessment of Lowery's dogs: "It's really heart-wrenching to see. It's terrible that a human would do this to animals. They didn't ask for this situation. They're good dogs. They've just been taught all the wrong things."
Sean, you are quickly becoming my hero. DCHS Veterinarian Sandra Newbury chimed in as well, saying that the "Humane Society is assessing all of the dogs for emergency medical needs and collecting evidence for possible animal-cruelty charges against the owner," (according to the article).
I'm not sure if DCHS intends to follow-through on these claims, but wouldn't it be cool!
A disussion broke out on Madison.com regarding this whole pit-bull fighting issue - learn how your neighbors feel about this here.
Other headlines/articles/links:
Lowery must stay in jail (June 16th - TCT) - highlights a reiteration of the fact that dogs were "apparently being trained to fight, some of which had serious wounds." The article also points out that Lowery had, "the dogs and apparatus around the farm to train them for dog fighting." And regarding his drup-past, the article points out that, "Lowery also is mentioned in DCI reports in the 1980s as being involved in trying to obtain the names of confidential informants in drug cases and with threatening to kill witnesses, although he was never charged with any crimes."
Details of Lowery's Madison/Mexico Drug-Ring (June 25th - MJS) - This article drops all the details about his drug case and how they were caught. It also points to Lowery's 1991 Federal coke conviction in Florida. This article is why Dr. Morris Link's quotes in the following article strike me as covering for a buddy. Lowery was implicated in trying to get informants killed (wow!).
Spring Harbor Animal Hospital feels heat, defends Lowery (July 1st - WSJ) - this is a whole seprate topic of discussion, but Dr. Morris Link discusses the case by adamantly defending his drug-dealing client - "I would almost bet my bottom dollar that he wasn't doing any fighting" - and - "I've never seen anything to indicate in any way anything to do with fighting dogs" - Link also says that "a number of dogs that looked like they had fought at some time, but they were healed," and had probably been bought by Lowery after they had been in fights. "It certainly wasn't proof he was fighting dogs," Link said.
Yet Dr. Newbury from DCHS is quoted in the search warrant as saying, "10 of the pit bulls taken from Lowery's farm had wounds or scars consistent with dog fighting."
There's also lots of tidbits in here about the equipment used to train them, etc. It also points out Lowery's more recent cocaine distribution conviction from 1990.
DCHS requesting funds for pit-bull expenses (July 3rd - TCT) - This is worth looking more at in a separate thread. DCHS claims the dogs will cost over $300k per year to care for, but are all "wards of the state" (evidence) and therefore unadoptable. There's plenty of good questions to ask here...
DCHS short on funds due to pit-bulls (July 5th - WSJ) - Cathy Holmes (President - Board of Directors - DCHS) says in the article that they will request reimburement from Dane County and that the county could then force Lowery to pay them back. I find this unlikely and more a diversion for the bad PR of having to use donated funds to do state-mandated work. Our new hero Sean McBryde ends with some more colorful and hopeful quotes:
"Everyone at the shelter agrees that we are doing the right thing in getting these dogs out of danger. If this is the beginning of a movement that helps eliminate dog fighting in the United States, we are very happy to be part of it. We just need to be able to pay for it."
Lowery petitions for return of dogs (July 21st - WSJ) - Unbelievably, Lowery actually wants to get his dogs back (concerns of his drug-case having been resolved???). Dr. Newbury's concerns are repeated, but Lowery disputes that his dogs have suffered "abuse".
Midwest Area Pit Stop pumps pit-rescue (July 25th - WSJ) - Article focuses on the good work being done, rather than the negative pitbull fighting issue. It mentions Lowery, but only to say that Noel Anderson (MAPS founder/director) worries that "every time an incident like that occurs, there is a spike in interest in pit bulls by unsavory people who want them for all the wrong reasons, such as fighting." I see another side to this - mainly an opportunity to get active and educate. The MAPS website needs help, too.
Be a Poocher Smoocher (July 25th - Dennis York - local blogger) - Covers basics of case and provides some helpful links.
* we may update here with new posts *

5 comments:

Jason Lowery said...

On behalf of my family and friends, I want to express my frustration regarding some of the claims that were made by various members of the Humane Society about my father (Robert Lowery) and his pit bulls. The blatantly inaccurate portrayal of the treatment of the animals has misled the public and has resulted in death threats towards my father’s immediate family. The particular statements cited below appear to range from blatantly inaccurate to speculative and appear to reflect either an agenda and/or ignorance on behalf of the Humane Society. The statements were reported in the media and are either directly from the Humane Society or appear to have originated from interviews with the Humane Society. I've followed the statements with my comments or questions.
· The pit bulls were afraid to be taken out of their cages because they thought they were going to be forced to fight (McBryde).
Comment: How did Mr. McBryde know why the dogs were afraid to be taken out of their cages? The pit bulls were in a foreign environment (indoors and in cages) and around strangers. This setting would make any dog nervous.
· The cat that was taken from the property was "very traumatized"
Comment: From what I read later, the cat did not show any physical or mental signs of trauma. It appears this statement was made based on the (false) assumption that the cat was used to train dogs based on the presence of a "cat mill" at the house.
· There were injuries (plural) to eyes (plural) and missing limbs (plural) (Newbury).
Comment: I believe there two dogs that were blind, and not necessarily due to injuries. Only one dog had a missing limb.
· The dog with the missing leg was missing the leg because it was "bitten off"
Comment: What evidence existed that this was the reason that the leg was missing? The real reason that the dog was missing the leg was a lawn mower accident.
· The pit bulls were "taught all the wrong things" (McBryde).
Comment: This is inconsistent with the statements that the dogs were generally friendly towards people. Additionally, pit bulls are known to be naturally aggressive toward other dogs. Based on this, what evidence exists that there was any incorrect "teaching" or "training" going on?
· "Most" of the dogs were traumatized (McBryde).
Comment: According to Ms. Newbury, 10 of the 52 dogs had wounds or scars "consistent with dog fighting". Even if you count the scars as "traumatized” the statements made by McBryde and Newbury don't appear to be consistent with each other.
These are just a few of the statements that inaccurately portray the situation; there may be more. My primary concern, as well as the concern of other family and friends, is that my step mother has received death threats and hate mail as a result of what has been reported. This has a significant impact on the emotional well-being of my 9-year old sister at what can be a very insecure age.
One way or the other, the public should have a more accurate portrayal of what occurred. The death threats and hate mail now makes separating facts from speculation more critical. My hope is that the Humane Society will show some amount of professionalism and admit the inaccuracy of their statements. An accurate portrayal of the condition of the dogs is appreciated by not only my father, step mother, and younger sister, but the rest of the family, friends, and public, a good portion of which have obviously been enraged beyond what is appropriate.
Jason Lowery

Marsha Blackmon said...

There is absolutely NO excuse you could offer that would explain the condition of these dogs. Your pretense that nothing illegal was going on here is laughable. Blind dogs, a dog without a leg, a dog who had broken bones that had not set properly, dogs with bite wounds that had not been treated. You people have no business EVER being allowed to own another animal, not even a hamster.

Oh, poor you, gotten death threats huh? Well you and your family should have thought about this when you sat around watching those dogs suffer. What goes around comes around, and I would say you people are mutants who are getting exactly what you deserve. Those dogs didn't have the opportunity to "blog" and point out the atrocities they were suffering, I think you should just STFU. Nobody cares what your family is going through, you deserve everything you get. I hope your father goes to jail for so long that he is bent and broken when he is finally released. I hope the prosecutors take everything he owned.

Your whole family are obviously monsters, mutants, and should be watched closely considering you seek to defend this POS you call "daddy".

Marsha Blackmon said...

There is no excuse that you could ever give that would excuse what your father had been doing to and with these dogs. You don't have dogs on your property that are blind, missing limbs, and with cuts and wounds if you are not doing something reprehensible with these animals.

You can make all the statements you want, but if you seek to defend this monster you call "Daddy" then that simply puts you in the same category as him.

So your family is receiving death threats? Well maybe you should have thought about this while those dogs were on your property suffering and being abused. The dogs received worse than threats, and they didn't have the ability to defend themselves by getting online and writing obviously bogus blogs.

Hopefully, your sadistic father will end up in prison for a very long time, and this will serve as a deterrent to keep the rest of his mutant family from continueing in his footsteps abusing and killing dogs.

Nobody is listening to your excuses Jason. Your father is a monster and he is getting everything he deserves. I hope your 9 year old sister learns that what she was living with is NOT normal, and that abusing animals is NOT an acceptable behavior in our society today. I hope you
ALL learn from this.

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Jason Lowery said...

Marsha

Nobody in my father's immediate or extended family (except for him) has ever been in any legal issues or had anything to do with pit bulls whatsoever, so for you to call the family "mutants" and say they deserve everything they get is off base to put it mildly. Please note that my intent here is not to defend what my father has done with respect to drug charges, previous offenses, etc. He deserved to be punished for the marijuana. What I'm saying is that the condition of the dogs was very much distorted. This has since been confirmed by the fact that all charges associated with the pit bulls were eventually dropped.