ARKANSAS DEALER PLEADS GUILTY - FINES UP TO 10 YEARS IN JAIL AND $5MILLION
Chester Baird, 58, owner/operator of Martin Creek Kennels near Williford, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to a single count of money laundering, conspiracy, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of more than $5 MILLION. Baird's wife, Patsy, 58, pleaded guilty to failure to report a crime in connection with mail fraud the Bairds admittedly committed while buying/selling animals. Chief U. S. District Judge Leo Holmes hasnąt set a sentencing date for Patsy Baird yet. As part of the negotiated plea, the Bairds agreed to surrender about 700 acres of land valued at $1.1 million to the government. The agreement resulted in the permanent revocation of licenses that allowed the Bairds to legally sell and breed animals.
The case, which cited numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, was settled before a trial was to start. Baird sold animals to nearly 50 research facilities making $584,000 in 2001 alone. Witnesses were prepared to testify that the Bairds were seen buying dogs at a monthly flea market in Ripley, Mississippi and preparing false acquisition records. Those documents made it appear that the animals were bought from licensed breeders or shelters when they actually werenąt. Baird, is also employed as a Church of Christ minister and an insurance adjuster.
Several hundred dogs and cats had been rescued from the Baird facility in a nation-wide effort to close him down. The Society was contacted to take whatever dogs we could in order to spur the closure of the operation. March 10th was the day the Society rescued 14 dogs at Martin Creek Kennels - the entire last batch of dogs waiting to leave.
Several were adopted and two were given to a foster home in Arkansas to work with the emotionally scarred victims of living in a kennel of horror. Pictured are the last three dogs waiting for a lifetime of love after living in an abusive, neglectful situation.
Read more on the Society's rescue of the Arkansas dogs and the background prompting a nationwide rescue effort of dogs from Martin Creek Kennels.
And please support the Society's efforts - without our ResQ Fund, we would not have been able to accept and treat these needy dogs.
10/3/05-GREAT NEWS!! Both Jed and Jethro found loving homes this past weekend!
For photos of a few of the lucky pups on their adoption days, click here!