Dogfighting not a new activity in Clark, Floyd counties
The Monday arrest of Timothy Howard Jr., 35, on a class D felony charge of promoting an animal-fighting contest, is indicative of neighbors getting involved and informing authorities when appropriate, said New Albany Floyd County Animal Control and Shelter Director David Hall. More scrutiny has surrounded it this year with NFL star Vick agreeing to a federal plea deal for his admitted dog fighting involvement.
In December, Hall and another Animal Control representative responded to a neighbor’s call that there was a dog fight going on at Howard’s residence, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed in Floyd Superior Court. A chained pit bull was attacking a pit bull puppy’s throat, the documents said. Hall, an animal control officer and a New Albany Police Department officer were able to distract and stop the situation, but the puppy was already gravely injured.
Because of the pending case in which Hall is to be a witness, he declined to discuss what happened to the attacked puppy. This week, Howard maintained his innocence on a Louisville TV station.
Jill Dolon, president and founder of Unconditional Love Foundation based in Muncie, got involved in the case because of her activism with general animal rights in Indiana, including pit bulls and dog fighting.
The puppy who was attacked in December did survive its severe injuries, Dolon said. However, despite multiple treatments, it was still significantly suffering and eventually euthanized, she said.
“In cases like this, it is sometimes more humane to end that suffering with euthanasia,” Dolon said.
Three other pit bulls, including the one who attacked the pit bull puppy, were seized from Howard’s property in December, according to the probable-cause affidavit. Dolon did not know what happened to those animals, which court records say had been kept chained up and had 55-gallon drums for homes.
Dolon’s foundation offers a $5,000 reward to members of all Indiana communities who offer successful tips about dog-fighting cases. They also hope to raise funds to place billboards against animal fighting and abuse in New Albany and surrounding areas.
Howard faces six months to three years in jail on the animal-fighting charge. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 20.
“Howard was a long-time combatant with our department,” Hall said.
Though Hall wrote his report against Howard in December and authorities pressed the felony charge against Howard in February, it took months for Howard to be arrested because he had left the community.
NAPD was unavailable to comment as of deadline Friday, and Howard’s case is being processed at this time through the Public Defender’s office.