Images from the Wildside Kennels MySpace page that has since been taken down.
Rescue Groups Absent
UPDATE 02/18/09: Following a judge's order, Wilkes County Animal Control euthanized 146 pit bulls. On Monday, Judge Ed Wilson Jr. of Superior Court ruled that state law defines dogs as dangerous if they are involved in a dogfighting operation and a county ordinance requires that dangerous dogs be destroyed. A number of rescue groups had offered to place the dogs, but none of their representatives were at Monday's hearing when the judge was considering their fate.
The raid was the result of a 3-year investigation by the Humane Society of the U.S., in cooperation with Wilkes County Animal Control and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office. Representatives of the Humane Society told the judge that the dogs should be destroyed, because they had been bred for generations to be aggressive. - Winston-Salem Journal, February 17, 2009
02/16/09: Judge Orders Dogs Euthanized
A Superior Court judge ordered the 127 pit bulls seized in the raid of Ed Faron's property, Wildside Kennels, be euthanized. Judge Ed Wilson entered the order after hearing arguments from Wilkes County officials, the prosecutor and the Humane Society of the U.S. stating that the dogs are dangerous and would pose a risk if adopted into homes. Also, Amanda Grace Lunsford, 25, the final defendant, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals (Casanova's fiancé).
When Wildside Kennels owner Ed Faron failed to pay the county for the dogs' care after they were seized, a judge awarded ownership of the dogs to the county.
Faron, 61, pleaded guilty last week of 14 counts of felony dog fighting and was sentenced to 8 to 10 months in prison. His adopted son, Donni Juan Casanova, 18, pleaded guilty to one count of felony dog fighting and was given a suspended sentence of 6 to 8 months. - Winston-Salem Journal, February 16, 2009
02/13/09: Ed Faron Pleads Guilty to Felonies
Wilkesboro, NC - Ed Faron pleaded guilty yesterday to 14 counts of felony dog fighting and was sentenced to 8 to 10 months in prison. Faron also must serve a lengthy period of supervised probation, and may not own, possess or care for any dogs as part of the plea agreement. His adopted son, Donni Juan Casanova, pleaded guilty to one count of felony dog fighting. He was sentenced to 6 to 8 month in prison (suspended), and ordered to serve 24 months of probation.
Wilkes County has possession of the 127 pit bulls that were seized in the raid on Faron's Wildside Kennels property on December 10. The county was awarded custody of the dogs by a judge last month after Faron failed to pay nearly $53,000 the county had asked for their care. A large number of puppies have since been born, and the dogs are being held at undisclosed locations. According to the clerk's office, the court file yesterday did not include notice about the disposition of the dogs.
John Goodwin, the manager of animal-fighting issues for the Humane Society of the U.S., said a judge would decide the fate of the dogs later. The Humane Society worked for three years on the investigation, in cooperation with Wilkes County Animal Control and the sheriff's office. Goodwin said Faron was one of the nation's largest breeders of fighting dogs. He believes his conviction will show dog fighters that "even their godfathers are being prosecuted and sent to prison."
Goodwin also said the dogs have been bred for fighting and it would difficult and expensive to re-train the dogs, even the puppies, so that they could be adopted into homes. This common sense runs in stark contrast with a sizable promotional effort by Best Friends that claims Faron's dogs can be "rehabilitated" into family household pets. Goodwin added he believes a county ordinance requires the dogs to be put down. "It's not a matter of would, could or should. It's the law."
It's important to point out that Faron's dogs are top-notch, multi-generational game-bred dogs. Michael Vick's dogs were not.
As reported in a previous post, Best Friends' offer to have the dogs sterilized and to assist the county with placing them still stands. In the instance of Vicks' dogs, the United States government required each rescue group recipient (Best Friends, BadRap and others) to carry a 1 million dollar liability policy. If Faron's game-bred pit bulls were ever placed for the purposes of "rehabilitation" and adoption, it would only be reasonable to mandate a 1 million dollar policy PER dog.
The attempt by Best Friends to show the Vick and Faron dogs as "equally" capable of rehabilitation is a distortion of the truth and dangerous.
01/22/09: Best Friends Steps into the Ed Faron Dogfighting Bust to "Save" Unstable Dogs
12/23/08: Edward Faron of Wildside Kennels Has Been Charged by Authorities
11/03/08: Flashback: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Refuses Care of Pit Bulls