For immediate release:
January 4, 2011
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan announced today that nine pit bulls trained for dog fighting were removed from their owner in a hearing before Justice of the Peace Armando V. Rodriguez. On January 3rd, 2011, Judge Rodriguez awarded possession of the dogs to the City of Houston Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) and ordered the owner to pay $4,060.25 for their care, feeding and shelter.
Assistant County Attorney Mimi Han represented the State of Texas in the case filed against Danny Wayne Bell. The animals were seized from Bell’s home in North Houston on December 22, 2010, following his arrest on drug charges.
Chief Veterinarian Dr. M’Risa Mendehlson of BARC said the injuries to the animals were consistent with those experienced by animals that had been used for dog fighting. Several dogs had scarring over their bodies. Dr. Mendehlson testified that one dog’s upper lip had been partially torn off, resulting in the dog’s inability to eat. The dogs had to be separated from each other and other animals to prevent them from fighting.
Senior Officer Suzanne Hollifield of the Houston Police Department also testified about the cruel conditions.
Dog fighting for entertainment, in which animals are trained to maim and kill each other, is illegal in Texas. It has begun to attract a growing following among young people and is part of a culture of gangs, drug dealing, and gambling.
Since taking office in 2009, County Attorney Ryan has formed a Special Prosecutions Unit, headed by Assistant County Attorney Linda Geffin to investigate incidents of animal cruelty and to take legal action to remove animals from inhumane conditions.