Kinship Circle: CASE CLOSED? SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets

January 20th, 2008 10:29 pm by Kelly Garbato

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 20, 2008 8:59 PM
Subject: CASE CLOSED? SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets

KINSHIP CIRCLE ANIMAL DISASTER RELIEF – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST
http://www.kinshipcircle.org/disasters/

GULF COAST
1/20/08: Breaking News – Case Dismissed In SBP Street Shootings?

IN THIS ALERT:

1. Clarification: Two Cases, One Sheriff’s Office
2. Dogs Gunned Down In The Streets: Case Dismissed?
3. Slaughter In The Streets, On Video
4. Slaughter In The Schools
5. A Miracle Named Mercedes

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1. Clarification: Two Cases, One Sheriff’s Office

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CLARIFICATION: Two separate incidents of alleged dog shootings tied to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office in Chalmette, LA, caught the attention of the nation — and wrath of animal advocates everywhere.

1. SEPTEMBER 2005 / STREET SHOOTINGS:

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Dallas Morning News photojournalist David Leeson videotaped Mike Minton of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s office randomly shooting displaced pets. All charges in this case against former deputy sheriff Mike Minton and sergeant Clifford “Chip” Englande have been dismissed due to lack of substantial evidence.

KINSHIP CIRCLE is attempting to follow-up with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office and the assistant State Attorney General who initiated charges in the first place. IF a letter writing campaign is beneficial, we’ll post one as soon as we gather all the facts.

2. OCTOBER 2005 / SCHOOL SHOOTINGS:

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This was the execution-style killing of family pets inside four schools in St. Bernard Parish. Rising floodwaters forced people to take refuge at the schools. Upon further evacuation, they were ordered to leave their companions behind. Many scratched notes on walls: “There is a very nice dog in here. Please do not shoot her… Her name is Angel.”

But despite the presence of food, water, collars, ID tags, and contact information — some 33 dogs (and cats) were “shot in the body cavity, arms, neck, and hindquarters (not in the head) causing extreme prolonged suffering…” St. Bernard School Massacre… No time will erase the horror: http://www.pasadosafehaven.org/KATRINA/DOGSHOOTING/HISTORY.htm

The SBP school massacre case is STILL OPEN, but observers believe dismissal of the street-shootings case may halt or stall prosecution in the school shootings.

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2. Dogs Gunned Down In Streets: Case Dismissed?

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WHAT WE KNOW AS OF 1/20/98:

Mimi Hunley, Asst. State Attorney General of Louisiana, whose division pursued all leads in both SBP street and school shootings, spoke with a volunteer rescuer who has followed the case closely. On 1/18/08, Ms. Hunley informed our contact that charges in the case against former deputy sheriff Mike Minton and sergeant Clifford “Chip” Englande had been dismissed due to lack of substantial evidence.

While this seems impossible, due to a Dallas Morning News team FILM that shows Minton firing a gun — the camera never shows a bullet actually entering the dog. Still, Sgt. Minton admits to reporters that he regularly shot dogs wandering amid Katrina’s rubble…

In addition, no one has ever stepped forth to claim the dogs or prosecute their killers. Ms. Hunley expressed extreme disappointment and mentioned that dismissal was the call of NEW district attorneys who reviewed evidence.

Ms. Hunley’s criminal division is still gathering evidence in the SBP school shootings, with new leads trickling in. But most windup “dead-ends.”

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3. Slaughter In The Streets, On Video

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EXCERPTS FROM DALLAS NEWS REPORT

VIDEO: http://www.dallasnews.com/s/dws/photography/2005/katrina_video/straydogs.html

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September 2005: St. Bernard Parish is home to an unknown number of dogs left behind during the exodus from Katrina. With their owners missing, the animals fend for themselves. Dallas Morning News photojournalist David Leeson has been covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina…

Sgt. Andrew McRae tells Dallas News reporters: “Unfortunately a lot of people’s pets are wandering around here. We’re trying to gather them up…give them food and water…till [animal groups pick them up]…

“They’re shooting ‘em three blocks down…” one reporter says.

“Well that’s not us,” Sgt. McRae responds.

Reporters are next seen in their truck as a dog who looks like a gold lab mix crosses their path. We see another vehicle approach, with two armed men.

“They just killed that dog man,” one reporter says (referring to the gold lab they’d seen). “This place has gone crazy,” reporter Leeson mutters. “They followed him all the way up and shot him.”

We hear a gun shot. One of the reporters says: “They shot that one too [referring to a different dog].”

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The video cuts to an interview with Sheriff Mike Minton, who says: “This is really better for that dog… Where’s he gonna find food? It’s more humane for that dog…” A reporter asks: “So how many dogs?”

“Enough,” Minton says as he looks away and laughs…

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4. Slaughter In The Schools Of St. Bernard Parish

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TIMELINE

10/10/05: Justice for Animals Shot Execution-Style in N.O.
Pasado’s Safe Haven: As part of the investigation, our cruelty investigator videotaped all of the animals, as left to die. According to him, “The dogs were not shot in the head to quickly bring about death. Shooting an animal in the body cavity is one of the most cruel ways to kill an animal.”

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http://www.pasadosafehaven.org/KATRINA/DOGSHOOTING/HISTORY.htm

Oct-Dec, 2005: Pasado’s — Attorney General’s Office interviews witnesses.
Request submitted for photo line-up from St. Bernard Sheriff Jack Stephens.

Oct-Feb, 2006: Pasado’s collects statements from witnesses who left their pets at the St. Bernard Schools.

2/26/06: Katrina Dog Slaughter Case At A Standstill
http://www.kinshipcircle.org/disasters/gulfcoast/newsletters/2-28-letter.html
Pasado’s Safe Haven investigators gathered evidence for the Attorney General’s Office — including shell casings for forensics specialists and transport of bodies to Louisiana State Veterinary Teaching Hospital for necropsies. They now seek photos from St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office. They file a public records request, utilizing a state law similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Sheriff Stephens does not respond to Pasado’s request for a photo lineup of all St. Bernard Parish Deputy Sheriffs. A Kinship Circle letter campaign urges Sheriff Stephens to grant Pasado’s request for public records, as part of the comprehensive effort to investigate, prosecute and seek conviction of individual(s) involved in the brutal shooting of evacuees’ pets.

March, 2006: Pasado’s — A witness comes forward.
Although we cannot divulge our source, we believe we may now know who “the shooter” was in the Beauregard Middle School massacre…

August, 2006: Pasado’s — Attorney Eileen Comiskey takes case as a civil action.
The NOLA attorney lists Pasado’s Safe Haven and six victims as plaintiffs.

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October, 2006: Pasado’s — Civil case filed in Federal Court, in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

2/14/07: St. Bernard Deputies Plead Not Guilty In Dog Shootings After Katrina
http://kinshipcircle.org/disasters/gulfcoast/newsletters/07-02-15.html#4 New
Orleans Times Picayune / CHALMETTE, La. (AP) — A current St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputy and a former deputy pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals in a case dating back to Hurricane Katrina. Michael Minton, who has since left the Sheriff’s Office, and Clifford “Chip” Englande, a sergeant who has since been assigned to administrative duties, are accused of shooting dogs in the days following Hurricane Katrina…

JANUARY 2008: Case Closed?
We learn the case against Michael Minton and Clifford Englande in the St. Bernard Parish street shootings has been CLOSED, due to “lack of evidence.”

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5. A Miracle Named Mercedes

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SOURCE: Kelle Davis, kellek-9 [at] peoplepc.com

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Mercedes moments after Rescue inside Beauregard Middle School, Oct. 25, 2005.

By October 2005, Katrina rescuer Kelle Davis had traveled to NOLA from her Houston home many times. She began at Lamar Dixon on Sept. 13, 2005 and wound up working for original ARNO at their Magazine Street compound. Most of Kelle’s days were spent combing the streets of the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish, in search of animal survivors.

On Oct. 25 she roamed SBP streets with rescue partner Barb Dunsmore. Several residents flagged them down to talk about the high school dog shootings. One woman mentioned former deputy sheriff Mike Minton. Barb and Kelle hiked over to Beauregard Middle School, where the shootings had occurred weeks earlier. Upon entry, they saw bloodstained walls and red footprints. Kelle
inadvertently kicked a sleeping bag and found a dead Chihuahua stuffed beneath. She was so heartbroken, she ferried the little dog back to Houston for a proper burial in her own yard…

They left the school to continue street sweeps of SBP. One local, Maxy Munez, told Barb and Kelle he’d heard barking at Beauregard Middle School when there to fix a water break. They returned to the school and found an old limestone building — formerly a courthouse, but converted to the school’s gym offices. They noticed a broken window about four feet above ground. Kelle climbed through but didn’t see anything. Suddenly, as she rounded a table, something black lunged at her.

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Barb Dunsmore and an underweight, but alive Mercedes — the miracle dog who survived the St. Bernard Parish school shootings.

Kelle saw the black pit bull next to a wall by a filing cabinet — very much alive. Why wasn’t she shot along with the others? She was in the last room at the back of the building. Perhaps she’d heard the others’ cries and when killers opened the door, she bolted? But no one knows HOW this dog got through a thick, closed door into the room in the first place!

Mercedes, coaxed with food and trapped, went home to Houston. Kelle later received a photo of SBP resident Christopher Acosta and his wife clutching photos of their missing dogs. One looked vaguely like Mercedes, but it was hard to tell for sure. No contact information accompanied the photos. Kelle contacted Kate Danaher, original ARNO’s national volunteer coordinator and a Stealth Volunteer. Kate identified Mercedes as the possible lost dog of Chris Acosta and sent Kelle contact information.

REUNION! Kelle drove Mercedes to Chris and his wife, who lost other dogs to the shootings. CNN’s Anderson Cooper covered the amazing reunion story.

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Christopher Acosta with his dog Mercedes, who escaped being shot: http://network.bestfriends.org/hurricane/news/7561.html

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4 Responses to “Kinship Circle: CASE CLOSED? SBP Dogs Shot In The Streets”

  1. Sarah Panullo Says:

    This is ridiculous. It is obvious that they were favored by the judge. I hope this is going to be fought in a higher court. Those two should have been fired, at the very least. I hope the pet owners aren’t going to give up. If they can get away with this, they can get away with anything. It’s abuse of power. Its awful.

  2. Men Hate You And Your Little Dog, Too : Elaine Vigneault Says:

    […] Neighbors called Jax’s guardian, Dr. Patrick Coleman, who rushed home to find Jax dying in his backyard. Rather than aid in CPR, the NOPD officers ordered Coleman to “restrain” Jax’s sister Scarlett – again, in their own fucking home. Scarlett was terrified, cowering in the corner of her home, watching her companion die. Jax bled to death while the officers allegedly laughed and snickered. […]By the by, this isn’t the first dog shooting scandal to hit New Orleans. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish Deputy Sheriff Mike Minton and Sergeant Clifford “Chip” Englande were videotaped shooting companion animals whose guardians had been forced – sometimes at gunpoint – to leave them behind. Charges against both have been dismissed. This is not be to confused with another case, in which companion animals left (supposedly in safety) in four schools elementary in St. Bernard Parish were gunned down, execution style. The case(s?) is still open. […]

  3. Smite Me! [.net] » Blog Archive » Business as usual. Says:

    […] By the by, this isn’t the first dog shooting scandal to hit New Orleans. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish Deputy Sheriff Mike Minton and Sergeant Clifford “Chip” Englande were videotaped shooting companion animals whose guardians had been forced – sometimes at gunpoint – to leave them behind. Charges against both have been dismissed. This is not be to confused with another case, in which companion animals left (supposedly in safety) in four schools elementary in St. Bernard Parish were gunned down, execution style. The case(s?) is still open. […]

  4. Business as usual. » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] sometimes at gunpoint – to leave them behind. Charges against both have been dismissed. This is not be to confused with another case, in which companion animals left (supposedly in safety) in four schools […]

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