As a dog lover, a 13-year volunteer at our wonderful local Southampton Animal Shelter and a 49-year resident of Southampton Town, I have been closely following the articles in our local newspapers concerning a horrific dog-fighting ring [“Hampton Bays Man Pleads Guilty To Animal Abuse,” 27east.com, March 2]. The immensely disturbing articles, which first surfaced last summer, enumerated the horrible things these animals endured. One of the defendants involved is a 52-year-old community member of my hometown of Hampton Bays.
Please note: In the first article, then-Acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron is quoted as saying, “This is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen in my 36 years with the department.”
Please note that, in December, it was reported that the Hampton Bays man was facing three felony charges and seven misdemeanors, including one alleging torture.
As I sat in my living room reading the well-written article in the March 3 edition of this paper, I saw red. Please, all animal lovers, read this article, either in print or at 27east.com.
Despite the fact that six Suffolk County men facing multiple felony charges as alleged participants in a national dog-fighting ring, including the 52-year-old male from Hampton Bays, have pleaded guilty in state court, the first two sentenced have been given plea bargain deals — it is felt that the other four are to follow.
To cut this letter as short as I can: I am outraged that the 52-year-old from Hampton Bays plea bargained to practically nothing — a $5,000 fine with one misdemeanor charge, which was reduced to a simple violation. The article states that even that charge will disappear from his record if he finishes one year of probation and pays the fine to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, plus stays out of trouble for the following year.
If charges are issued such as this, dog fighting will never be ended. Dog fighting is reported to be a $3 billion underground industry.
As a volunteer at the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, I see many pit bull terriers come in — this is a misunderstood breed, which suffers often for being judged as being vicious, which they are not. They are just like any dog, very capable of love, both giving and receiving.
They need to have our voices calling our officials, as they cannot advocate for themselves. Please, all animal lovers, pick up the phone and beg. Beg your legislators, Congress members, supervisors, board members, district attorneys — demand that they advocate for jail time, felony charges and no excessive plea bargaining.
We must fight to end dog fighting.
One fine body…