Oakland Boys Accused of Animal Cruelty

Update March 28, 2002.
There was a story on television yesterday about Theodore, he is fine, loving, and being adopted. A happy ending for this pup. Unfortunately there was no news about the criminals who set him on fire.

An Alameda County prosecutor said today that one of two teen-age boys who admitted to setting fire to a stray pit bull puppy last month has been ordered removed from his parents. Assistant District Attorney Walter Jackson said the boy will most likely be placed in a group home. The disposition hearing of a second teen who admitted that he also had set fire to the dog was put over until Feb. 13 because a court-ordered psychological evaluation has not yet been completed, Jackson said. A third teen was accused of a dog-fighting charge after the evidence determined he had not been at the scene when the puppy was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire. The teen, who admitted he fought his dog against the stray pit bull that was burned, is scheduled to appear in juvenile court on Feb. 14 for sentencing.

Oakland Boys Accused of Animal Cruelty
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, January 10, 2002
In a crime that has outraged neighbors, police and dog owners, two Oakland, California boys were in custody yesterday for allegedly setting a 3-month-old pit - bull terrier on fire after forcing it to fight another dog. The youths, ages 12 and 15, told police they threw flammable material on the stray dog Tuesday afternoon after it beat another pit bull puppy in a fight they staged outside an East Oakland apartment building, said police Sgt. Arturo Bautista. One of the boys cares for the female puppy that lost the fight, and the attack may have been the boys' revenge, authorities said. A third boy, age 14, is also being sought in the case. "This is a terrible event," said Glenn Howell, Oakland animal control director. "You have a juvenile, of all things, setting a puppy on fire. It's very cruel. People need to be aware that pit bulls as a breed are just totally misused." The injured puppy suffered burns on one-fourth of its body, including on its face, back and legs, and was recuperating yesterday at the Veterinary Centers of America Bay Area Animal Hospital in North Oakland.

Theodore, puppy set on fire by two boys

Veterinarians at the hospital have named the hapless, 19-pound puppy Theodore and have been giving him painkillers and antibiotics intravenously, feeding him high-calorie food and applying soothing aloe vera on his skin. Groggy from morphine yesterday morning, the brown-and-white dog blinked slightly in its cage while wrapped in a Minnie Mouse towel. "It's an unusual case," Bautista said of the three boys allegedly involved in setting the dog on fire. "It raises concern in everyone, not only police but anyone hearing about it, as to why this was going on." The injured puppy is about six pounds underweight, slightly emaciated and already suffered from mange before its ordeal, said veterinarian Carl Singer. The puppy will probably stay at the animal hospital for three to seven days before it is transferred to the Oakland Animal Shelter on 29th Avenue in East Oakland. There, animal control officials will decide whether the puppy can be adopted. After the puppy won the fight about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the boys sprayed him with some material from a canister, threw flammable material on the puppy and ignited it with a match, Bautista said. The boys then chased the dog into a vent underneath an apartment building at 1436 71st Ave. in East Oakland, where part of the building also caught fire.

Theodore was chased into this vent by the boys

Firefighters quickly doused the blaze. It was unclear whether the flaming dog set the building on fire or if the boys started the building fire. Animal control officers took the other dog, which had some previous scars but was uninjured in the fight, to the Oakland Animal Shelter. Two of the boys were taken into custody on suspicion of felony cruelty to animals and attempted arson. They were being held at Alameda County Juvenile Hall in San Leandro. Because of their ages, their names were withheld. "That's messed up -- they should be punished," said a 13 year old girl, who lives on the block where the incident took place. She said dog fights are common in the neighborhood. Amber Niewold, 28, of Oakland, a co-founder of
Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls
said the abuse highlights how the breed has been unfairly stigmatized.
"I hope the media and the public are able to use this event to begin placing blame where it belongs, which is people, and to stop bashing breeds of dogs and making judgments about breeds when it is clearly people who are behind horrible things," Niewold said.
2002 San Francisco Chronicle


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