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28 thoughts on “Unmasking a Con: How a Pit Bull Activist Rose to Fame in the No-Kill Community while Simultaneously Killing Dogs

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  1. So many thoughts…

    First off, Colleen, thank you for that video of a female pitbull mounting another dog (repeatedly). I sort of feel like you put that one in there for me.

    Baldwin looks like he has a drug problem. And I’m saying this because of the way the skin around his eyes looks. Also, the presence of the full sleeve tattoos is often a great way to hide track marks.

    What is it with these fraudulent people having tons of tattoos, wearing slogan T-shirts, and overall trying to look cool? After my mid-20s, I no longer had the desire to wear any T-shirts with “cute” slogans or anything else campy. It is just gross after a certain age. Both of these tools have this going on.

    The people running Animal Planet are partly to blame for this. They continue to glorify pit bulls and pit bull culture. These narcisists will continue to pop up with claims of special beast charming powers.

    I have been thinking about this for a while – the only way these types of dogs can ever be safe is if they have full dental extractions. Maybe this should be a consideration for rescues and shelters that insist on trying to find them homes.

    • Christy, while you were being flippant, I think you actually came up with a humane solution for the no-kill advocates.

      A dog can live it’s whole life on soft food if necessary so I’m wondering if you aren’t completely right about the dental extractions. It’s done to wild cats if they are too dangerous to handle or for film making purposes.

      That comment made me think.

      • I’m not sure removing dogs’ teeth is the solution. I once watched a shepherd type dog attack the chain link of its kennel repeatedly to get to visitors. I think it could still have done damage just through the force of its jaws. Just thinking about it, of course.

        • Tooth removal would certainly make a dog safer, even if not completely safe. We wouldn’t see humans completely shredded by a pit bull, if they had no teeth.

          The real question is, why go to that much trouble to save every dog? Dogs are no where near being an endangered species, in a world of limited resources, I see no reason to try to save every dog.

      • Hi there.. Thank you for this story I’ve never even heard of Steffen Baldwin until today and it makes me sick that he claimed to be against euthanasia yet killed dogs and then made money from them! I hope he gets the book thrown at him but knowing the way courts work I’m thinking they’ll drop a lot of the lesser charges in exchange for a plea deal. I’m sure he’ll spend time in jail (hopefully a long time) but we’ll have to wait and see how it all transpires I reckon. I saw a comment from Christy and she said because his eyes are puffy and he has arm sleeves that believes he is on drugs. Well I mean no disrespect to you Christy but just because somebody looks like a druggy doesn’t make them one. I’m a recovering drug (opiates) addict and I don’t have any tattoos at all no ma’am I’m just a regular guy who made some bad choices but I’ve been clean and sober 5yrs as of Aug 4th this year. Anyhow I hope some good comes of this mess like maybe someone who was walking a thin line decides to get off and make better choices or it sheds some light on other things such as adopting rescued animals or even shedding light on behavioral euthanasia. It breaks my heart to know this POS killed dogs and it breaks my heart even more that when people were warned of him being investigated and they chose to DO nothing! End the end I hope and pray that justice will prevail… Thank you and good day

      • Although dogs can have all their teeth extracted, they will still vocalize and scare people. Besides, the pressure from a bite without.teeth can be bruising. In other words, extractions don’t result in safe dogs.

        • I agree with you. And as Libertarian Thinker points out, there really is no compelling need to save every dog.

  2. Meanwhile, here in Pima County, Kristen Hassen-Auerbach is still the director of the waste of taxpayer dollars known as the Animal Care Center.

    And we, the residents and taxpayers have been extremely lucky. Her reckless behavior hasn’t led to any mauling deaths here. At least not yet.

    • Human mauling deaths, true. Important, obviously, but I like to keep an eye on dog deaths as well and there’s been at least 1 fatla mauling of a dog connected to a shelter dog processed through ACC under Auerbach. Flower, a Chihuahua, was killed in 2019 when her owner’s newly adopted pit bull “Rajah” attacked her in her own home 2 weeks after it was purchased from ACC.

      https://www.gvnews.com/news/adopted-dog-euthanized-after-killing-another-pet/article_d6d5be86-ffe1-11e9-81ba-f7c3c25ab47e.html

      • Sara, I agree. If only there were enough band width to account the deaths of innocent dogs killed by pit bulls as well as the costs of veterinary care to the owners of injured dogs. And it can happen to anyone at any time.

        And the madness even applies to dog killing behavior. This is from the Review Times, Fostoria Docket:
        “• A caller advised that a neighbor’s dog killed her grandson’s dog at a College Avenue address. The owner of the dog that was killed said his dog attempted to go under the fence and the other dog was trying to help and accidentally killed his dog.”

      • Unfortunately, we will never be able to truly appreciate all of the animal deaths caused by pits. Many fatal attacks of pets and livestock go unreported. Others are documented by such a wide variety of organizations, such as animal control, or a rural Sheriff’s office, that they are only so much unremarkable paper work shuffled into a file that no one sees. Many go unreported to any agency. The first time a pit entered my yard and attacked my livestock, I just literally picked up the pieces and started over, adding electric fencing to keep the neighborhood pits out. I didn’t know that I should have reported it, if only to have a record of the dog aggressively attacking livestock in case of future attacks. Later, when a different pit attacked my cows, we called the Sheriff and Animal Control. The second time the same dog attacked again, causing the death of a full grown cow, we reported it again. Neither attack made it into the media. The dog (whose origin was not investigated by any agency) was tried and found guilty of being dangerous, but then moved to a different county to start over with a fresh slate.
        There’s no way to know how many other pet or livestock deaths have occurred in your area by dogs processed by ACC. I would not be surprised if the number is much, much higher than records show.

  3. Thank you, Colleen, for taking much valuable time and effort to compile this comprehensive work that shows the willful malicious criminality of this evil industry. I am delighted that a prosecutor was gifted with the spirit of Good, so as to take on this Evil.

  4. Again, the best thing we can do for pit bulls is pass spay/neuter laws and put vicious dogs down.

  5. This deep dive into the cruel scam behind at least one manifestation of pit bull “advocacy” is a great piece of investigative journalism. Thank you for putting it all together with such lucid acuity. Fantastic work!

  6. Wow, first I want to thank you Colleen, for your exhaustive research into this article. It’s truly a noteworthy investigative article and you deserve an award for it.

    A few points come to mind for me, reading this.

    The first is that I’ve been saying for a decade that there is a LOT of money in these rescue orgs and that it isn’t about the dogs, it’s about the profits and huge paycheques. Pitbulls are the most obvious proponents of this ongoing scam, writ large.

    Dogs who are a known liability should never, ever be adopted out to the public.

    Another point I’d like to make to pitbull enthusiasts is that all of the people who are purchasing pitbulls as “pets” are part of the reason that dogfighters have the opportunity to hide in plain sight. They’re being used for cover.

    Used to be, if you saw a pitbull you pretty much *knew* that a dogfighter owned it. Soccer moms are being used for camouflage and are too naive to know it. Pitbull lovers don’t love dogs…as most murdered dogs are overwhelmingly murdered by pitbulls–they love the *idea* of pitbulls. Obviously, all these scam artists knew exactly how to play that game to maximise profit.

    Plenty of dog trainers start out with the “never euthanize” ideal. Unless they stick to small breeds, they’ll soon be forced to realise that most families just aren’t equipped to deal with truly egregious or dangerous dog behaviors. The point of a dog is NOT to live for ten years in misery. Any dog trainer who ascribes to “no kill ever” is either very inexperienced, or LYING for profit, as in this case.

    Better to ask the owners what they’re willing to sacrifice for the next ten years to manage a dangerous dog and suggest the least painful and inexpensive decision for everyone in the long term, is to euthanize the animal, grieve and move on, sadder and wiser.

    It’s less cruel to a dog to painlessly euthanize it than leave it miserable in a cage for ten years.

    Good on Sharon Logan for pointing out all these fallacies.

  7. Is there a way to contact the writer of this piece directly? An email address maybe?

  8. I am sure that you do. I see you were with Top of Ohio Shelter (which was the pet shelter for Logan County Humane Society?). So Baldwin served as the interim Executive Director at Top of Ohio Shelter in 2015 (while he was running ACT Ohio). This aspect is not in our timeline. Top of Ohio is also listed in the indictment (Counts 39, 41) as being victims of grand theft from Baldwin. What is the time frame that Baldwin served as the director of Top (2015 and 2016)? What is the time frame that Baldwin was a board member for Logan County Humane Society? I am sorry to learn about the shelter’s 2016 closing and all of the difficulties it faced.

  9. Michael, that’s the exact nonsense that’s causing the problems with pitbulls.

    They are not little dogs. They are powerful dogs that are capable of shredding a human being or other animal. Pitbulls are not pets. Humans invented this dog breed and unless you are advocating that we continue the tradition of dog fighting–they need to be un-invented, ASAP.

    You cannot fix instinct by training. You cannot Shutzhund train a border collie and expect the same results you’d get from a Mailinois and to believe that you can overdrive a basic genetic code *that humans engineered* is the absolute height of ego-centric delusion.

    Michael Vick’s dogs were *not* “rehabilitated” for the most part. A number were involved in mauling incidents and many were “fostered” (read stuck in a cage and behaviourally managed) for the rest of their natural lives. The egregious amount of money spent to “save” these dogs would have been better spent saving some family-friendly dogs that could have lived productive dog lives in society. Several were euthanized by PETA.

    Try actually researching next time.

    Rat terriers are rat terriers. They are bred to kill rats. In a good working line, they will do *exactly* what they are bred to do–slaughter small prey. What they cannot do is bring down a bull, a horse, a goat or a human unless they get very, very lucky. Anyone who purchases a terrier designed for ratting is a fool if they think it won’t murder their pet hamster.

    Pitbulls are designed to slaughter large prey such as bulls, other dogs and humans.

    Pitbulls are doing exactly what humans bred them for while pitbull nutters try to palm them off as companion dogs.

    Please inform me when a group of Springer Spaniels, Poodles, Golden Retrievers or even Irish Wolfhounds begins murdering more people per year in North America than all serial killers, combined.

  10. I will delete comments that do not pertain to this post. This post discusses dogs that have serious behavior issues — that point is not in dispute.

  11. This great article had me reading for hours! I click on nearly every ‘link’ and I believe I took 5 hours to get through most of it… I’m back for another look, in case I skipped a bit, my goodness, what a magnificent written piece! thankyou so much Colleen, from Australia xx

  12. I absolutely want to see him nailed on fraud. However, I do not want the legal precedent that putting down a pit with bite history is “animal abuse” or “needless”. I don’t know the terms that he took these dogs in under. If there was language to the effect of “we reserve the right to euthanize any dog that in our opinion can not be rehabilitated” I don’t see how this is a legal issue. Hitting people up for money to keep training their dead dog?
    That is a legal issue.

    I don’t want to see anyone charged for putting down pits. If it is “animal abuse” to have a vet peacefully euthanize a dog I suspect animal abuse charges will become more common against people who defend themselves, their families or their pets from rampaging pits.

    Frankly I am glad there are 18 less maulers being warehoused with our tax money & being pimped out as “great pets” that “love children”.

  13. Despite how no-kill/pit bull fans would like to frame this case, the legal issue is that he killed dogs and lied about it, and even used the dead dogs for fundraising. That is why there is a criminal case at all.

  14. I wonder who wiped Jackie Bedsaul Johnson’s backside while she cannot move her arms for weeks/months following this viscious mauling, by her ‘foster’ pitbull ‘Boscoe’…. does she have another pit on hand, so to speak?

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