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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 22 December 2006 Issue

WRITE, PROTEST Men to stand trial on dog-fighting charges

By Paul Janczewski

Fresh blood soaked the carpet and stained the plywood walls of a makeshift dog-fighting ring found inside a Flint garage.

Nine of the dozen pit bulls found near the scene had either fresh wounds or evidence of recent fights.

One dog, likely the loser of an earlier fight that evening, was found by police locked in the trunk of someone's vehicle. It had injuries over its entire body.

After hearing that and other evidence at a hearing this week, Flint District Judge William H. Crawford II ordered two men to stand trial on charges relating to a dog-fighting ring.

Nigel L. Swain, 26, and Rodney L. Knapp, 51, face January 8 circuit court arraignments before Genesee Circuit Judge Richard B. Yuille.

Swain, who was represented by attorney Henry Clark Jr., is charged with attending an animal fight, a 4-year felony, while Knapp is charged with animal fighting and possessing animal fighting equipment, both 4-year felonies, and felony firearm.

The incident occurred August 6 when police were called to Knapp's residence at 5417 Laurene St., near W. Mott Avenue, about 1 a.m.

Police told assistant Genesee County Prosecutor Janet McLaren that they found nearly 30 cars parked near the residence. When they shined their flashlights toward the garage, police said about 30 people bolted from it.

Police said Swain had fresh blood on his pants. Knapp was seen walking from the garage and denied having any dogs in it.

Knapp is represented by attorney Martin Levois.

Inside the garage, police found a 12-foot-by-12-foot portable pen, set up with plywood and carpeting. Those items were covered with blood, police said.

Police found two injured pit bulls inside with injuries often found on dogs that have been fighting. Other animals were located outside in the vehicles, they said. Three pit bulls were found in Knapp's backyard.

Police also found a handgun in Knapp's garage.

They also found treadmills and other "exercise" equipment used to train dogs to fight, including a contraption that makes a dog cling to a rope or risk falling from a great height, often used to build up the animal's jaw strength for clamping down on its opponent.

Some of the animals were treated at the Genesee Animal Control Department shelter in Flint. All the animals were confiscated.

Please write to the following people and encourage them to prosecute these beastly men to the highest extent of the law. This kind of behavior must be stopped and the proper handling of this case will send a message to other abusers that their behavior will result in serious jail time.

Jennifer McKellar Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Prosecutor David Leyton
[email protected]
900 S. Saginaw
Flint, MI 48502

Judge Richard B. Yuille
Circuit Court
900 S. Saginaw Street
Flint, MI 48502
email: Court Webmaster
[email protected]

Source: [email protected] 

Go on to Former Slaughterhouse Worker Became Outspoken Animal Rights Activist
(Virgil Butler, October 13, 1965 - December 15, 2006)

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