Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Gary, IN - Two years after he was first charged, Gary firefighter Carlton Davis Jr. will stand trial this week on more than two dozen counts of animal cruelty and animal fighting for allegedly running a dogfighting operation out of his Calumet Township home.
When police raided Davis' home in June 2006, they found six dog carcasses and 15 fight-scarred dogs, treadmills fitted with leashes, training schedules that lead up to "game day," and what appeared to be a bloodied fighting ring. Davis, 34, petitioned to have the search declared illegal, and claims he was nothing more than a dog-lover who ran a small, breeding operation.
The run-up to the trial, which starts Monday, has been lengthy and at times, bizarre. Who would have guessed?Days after 15 dogs were confiscated from Davis' home, would-be thieves made a brazen attempt to steal the dogs from the Lake County Sheriff's kennel, which sits a few yards from the sheriff's headquarters. Investigators later discovered a web site marketing pit bulls with fierce "predator instinct" operated by another firefighter.
Media attention surrounding the case became somewhat intense and Judge Salvador Vasquez issued a gag order on attorneys in the case. Anti-cruelty activists have flooded Vasquez's office to protest delays in the trial. Betty Clayton, executive director of the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana in Gary, says that this is an important case.
"They think that by getting delay after delay after delay they can force it out of the public eye, and they won't prosecute it like they should."Dogfighters have developed pat defenses to explain legal uses for equipment prosecutors claim is fighting paraphernalia. For instance, they say apparent fighting rings aren't stained with blood from canine combatants, they are "whelping pits" where females have given birth. And, they say, the dogs aren't scarred from organized fights, just normal rough play.
Randall Lockwood, an animal behaviorist and head of anti-cruelty initiatives for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says that these defenses don't always work. Lockwood has helped investigators and testified in dogfighting cases for more than 20 years.
"You don't need an eyewitness to a dogfight to get a conviction. A jury has to weigh the preponderance of all the circumstantial evidence," Lockwood said.Since the charges were filed, Davis has remained on duty. Davis forfeited the dogs after he was unable to pay a $48,000 bond for their care. Five of Davis' dogs still remain in the custody of the Lake County Sheriff. A community liaison, April Borda, says the dogs were reconditioned by animal trainers to become less aggressive. Ten others were adopted.
DogsBite.org forecasts a serious lawsuit if one of the adopted dog turns out to be not so "reconditioned."
Please donate to support our work
DogsBite.org is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity organization. Learn more »
| 4/24/2008 12:57 AM |
My sincere apologies to the entire public for the actions of this individual. Please understand this is not representative of firefighters and there is no way members of our profession would grant this person the status of "brother firefighter." We are humiliated and infuriated by this betrayal of public trust, decency, and compassion.
I am shocked to learn this person has maintained their position and can’t account for this particular department, other than to assume the existence of an arcane protective policy requiring final adjudication. (And for that I am sorry as well!)
Finally, thank you Dogsbite.org for sharing our commitment to improve public safety. We have long recognized the inordinate representation by certain breeds that too frequently inflict gross injury. We sincerely appreciate your efforts to help communities move forward.
| 4/24/2008 3:50 AM |
To this day -- ten months after I was attacked by a pit bull on a city sidewalk -- the firefighter paramedics that responded to the scene continue to awe and amaze me. They were exceptional at their jobs and exceptional human beings. I will never forget the multitude of ways in which they helped me; there is no monetary sum that could ever match and repay them for their actions and care.
Thank you for writing to us. DogsBite.org stands in full support of first responder teams; particularly firefighter paramedics. As we follow this case, we will take care to distinguish that Carlton Davis is not a "brother firefighter." Our focus will stick to the dogfighting charges and what can only be described as a "breakdown" the in the Gary, Indiana department that kept him employed all this time.
| 4/24/2008 11:50 AM |
UPDATE on the GaryIndianaScum.
A surprise twist. Davis is a dog "lover" He loved his dogs so much, he couldn't bare to part with their dead and decomposing bodies.
The blood stained "area" was not from fighting, it was from a dog giving birth to a litter of pups!
And they are not Davis' dogs but belonged to a friend. Oddly enough, in 2006, neither of these idiots claimed ownership of the dogs. (Sgt Schultz strikes again!) Now the friend says they are is dogs but he had to get rid of them immediately so the Hobart police could not seize them after one of the dogs broke into a neighbor's house and trashed it.
(What OTHER breed of dog breaks INTO stranger's homes?)
"Nasty Boy was the one I was going to pay any amount to get, and (shelter workers) knew it," she said. "And they euthanized him."
Pay any amount, including theft to get back their prize fighter, named NASTY BOY.
| 6/14/2009 11:33 AM |
This loser firefighter/dogfighter lost his appeal.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the 2008 convictions of former Gary firefighter Carlton Davis Jr., who ran a pitbull-fighting operation in Calumet Township.
On the issue of whether the trial court mistakenly allowed evidence obtained in violation of Davis' 4th Amendment right against illegal searches and seizures, the appeals court noted that circumstances of animal cruelty would create an exigent circumstance to permit a police officer to inspect the property. A neighbor reported she saw emaciated, scarred animals chained to 55-gallon drums on Davis' property and empty food and water dishes.