Reward in dog deaths case at Macon shelter hits $13,000

adrury@macon.comOctober 22, 2013 

Less than a week since a fatal dogfight at a Macon rescue shelter, the potential reward for tips that lead authorities to the culprits has grown to $13,000.

On Tuesday, the Humane Society of the United States announced up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the break-in at All About Animals, a rescue organization that primarily saves animals from the Bibb County pound. That money is on top of $8,000 in reward cash offered through Macon Regional CrimeStoppers.

Warren Selby, chairman of the CrimeStoppers board of directors, said the $8,000 includes a previously announced $5,000 commitment from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and $3,000 from local contributions.

Selby said Tuesday that one tip in the case has come in, and it has been passed on to the Macon Police Department, which is overseeing the investigation.

Besides the reward, the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society is giving a $2,500 Shelters in Crisis grant to help with repairs, veterinary care and better security at the All About Animals facility off Riverside Drive near the entrance to Macon’s Central City Park.

“Sheltering facilities should be safe havens for homeless animals, and it is inexcusable for someone to break in and put animals’ lives at risk, or worse, physically attack them,” Inga Fricke, director of shelter and rescue group services for the national Humane Society, said in a statement.

“We hope this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this disturbing crime and that our grant will help All About Animals continue their lifesaving work,” Fricke said.

When All About Animals volunteers arrived at the shelter Thursday morning, they found a bloody scene. Dogs that were in their cages just a few hours before were running loose. A handful were missing, and two were dead. A third died soon afterward.

Volunteers suspect that other dogs may have been brought in specifically to fight the rescued dogs from All About Animals. As many as 15 other dogs were injured in the melee, several of them severely. Other dogs that were not physically injured showed signs of psychological trauma, with many of them cowering in fear in their pens, volunteers said.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Macon police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet stated there was no evidence that dog fighting was a motive. Police do not believe any other dogs were brought to the shelter to induce the fighting.

"Investigators have found no evidence of dogs being injured by sharp objects," Gaudet stated. "It appears that all injuries to the dogs were caused by other dogs."

Police now say 40 dogs of various breeds were released from cages, up from 25 in the initial report.

Mary Crawford, director of the no-kill shelter, said Tuesday she’s been overwhelmed by the flood of local support. A community vigil last Sunday drew more than 100 people, including Mayor Robert Reichert, to the shelter to remember the three dogs killed -- Jack, Butler and Flapjack.

Besides donations of a security system, cash, blankets, dog toys and medical supplies, All About Animals has a stack of dozens of applications from people who want to volunteer with the group.

“We’re getting support like never ever before,” Crawford said. So much so, she said, that the rescue group plans to share some of its overflow of supplies with other local animal rescue groups.

Since the break-in, one dog was adopted Friday and another 10 dogs have been adopted on a trial basis, she said.

“We’re feeling really good about the community,” Crawford said.

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to call Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at 877-68-CRIME.

To contact writer Andy M. Drury, call 744-4477.

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