Evidence of dog fighting found in county

Sunday, March 2, 2008
Princess was repeatedly injured when used as bait for dog fight training. She is now safe at the Humane Society of Putnam County shelter east of Greencastle.

Last Christmas Eve a sad young dog dragged himself onto the front porch of a house near West Walnut Street Road about six miles from Greencastle.

He was a pit bull mix that was wounded and bleeding. Fortunately, the porch he chose belonged to Don and Carol Seketa.

"It looked like the dog had been beaten repeatedly," Carol said. "There were puncture wounds everywhere. He was starved and malnourished."

The dog they named Weiser responded to their kindness. "He let me drain the wounds in his neck. He knew I was helping him and he licked my nose," she explained.

She and her husband suspected the dog had been used as a bait dog and that somebody was training dogs to fight. When they took the animal to Veterinarian Dr. John Scamahorn, he confirmed their suspicions.

"The doctor told me the raw and worn spots on the dog's tail indicated it had lived in a crate almost continuously," Carol said. Damage to the neck and head, evidence of old wounds under new ones are signs that an animal has been attacked repeatedly by dogs being trained for combat.

Weiser may have escaped his keepers or they might have dumped him by the side of the road when they were through with him. Either way his luck changed when he made it to Seketa's porch. The family nursed him back to health and found a good home for him out in the country east of Greencastle.

Two dogs that have suffered the same abuse got lucky in January when they arrived at the Putnam County Humane Society. A 1- to 2-year-old pit bull mix named Princess was one of them.

"She had fresh red scars, old wounds, bloodshot eyes, neck and head injuries, and bites all over her back," said Less Solomayor, a Humane Society employee.

"We took her to the vet for her injuries and had her spayed," explained Lainie Settecasi, manager of the shelter. "Most of her teeth were broken off," she explained.

According to Animal Control Officer April Keck of Tippecanoe County, sometimes teeth are broken or removed from bait dogs so they can't do any damage to the dogs that attack them. Muzzles and duct tape do the same job.

"It spite of what Princess has been through, she has a wonderful disposition," Settecasi said. "She loves children, gets along with other dogs, doesn't mind being left alone, and at the humane society, she sleeps with the cats."

Going into the kennels is the only thing she can't handle. "She gets frightened and starts to shake," she said.

These few dogs are evidence that training animals for dog fights may be occurring in Putnam and surrounding counties. Endurance paraphernalia is one of the clues that training is taking place. In professional dog fights, animals might be in the pit for more than an hour before one of them is incapable of continuing. According to Animal Control Officer Keck, handlers use treadmills for conditioning. Another device for the same purpose is call a "jenny." It is a circular treadmill affair where the dog runs continuously with a small animal kept just out of reach in a cage. At the end of the training the dog gets the bunny or kitten as a reward.

Dogs trained for combat in the country are shipped to urban areas for the actual fights. That's where the money is," said Officer Keck.

Last year pro football player Michael Vick drew attention to the cruelty of dog fighting with his arrest and conviction. As a result Indiana State Sen. Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) is sponsoring legislation that will increase penalties for it.

With no animal control officer in Putnam County, citizens who suspect that fight training is going on in their area should contact the local police at 653-5115 or state police at 653-4114 or the Sheriff's Department at 653-5115.

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  • This is the most disturbing thing I have read in a long time. What is wrong with people?

    -- Posted by LangdonUlger on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 12:16 AM
  • Hats off to Don and Carol Seketa for the love they've shown for this dog. Hopefully those responsible will get caught and this cruelty put to and end around here.

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 5:46 AM
  • I hope the people responsible get caught, have their names printed for all of us to see, and they get more than a slap on the wrist. Could this be where all the "lost" dogs are going?? Are family pets being stolen to become bait?? We all need to keep our eyes and ears open to try to help these poor animals.

    -- Posted by foxtrotter on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 10:21 AM
  • Worry about the people first? Are you implying that because we as a people have problems we should just overlook animals being mistreated? A person that would treat an animal as such would probably do just the same to a person. And it's until.

    -- Posted by TheJoker on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 4:35 PM
  • This is so sad....how could someone be so cruel? Oh, wait...these people rank alongside murderers and rapists in my book..I hope they find these people! Sometimes...I think that maybe the criminal should experience what they have done...anyone with me? There are some very sick people out there and they need to pay for their crime!!!

    Thank you and God Bless the Seketa family!!!

    -- Posted by sneaser on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 5:59 PM

    -- Posted by Michele1953 on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 6:07 PM
  • My son's name is spelled "Les Sotomayor", not "Less Solomayor." Thank you for the correction. -Scott Denny

    -- Posted by bluevelvet lynch on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 8:37 PM
  • T

    I love my animals and I love my family and I take care of both. I think people should value the lives of everyone and everything. Love for all is nothing to be afraid of.

    -- Posted by TheJoker on Tue, Mar 4, 2008, at 4:44 PM
  • Look north VBL.

    -- Posted by wil8139us on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 8:17 PM
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