REVIEWS: Prosecuting Animal Cruelty & Illegal Animal Fighting
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2004:
Prosecuting Animal Cruelty & Illegal Animal Fighting
AIM Reality Training video
featuring Captain Ken “Beau” Beauregard & Dena Mangiamele, DVM.
(POB 26593, Los Angeles, CA 90026; 213-413-6428;
<email@example.com>; <www.realitytraining.com>), 2004.
Two hours. Available on DVD disk or in VHS format. Free to law
enforcement agencies and bona fide humane organizations.
The Sheriff’s Department in Newton County, Alabama, during
the last week of January 2004 apprehended 120 suspects in connection
with a dogfight in Covington. This one raid resulted in more arrests
than all dogfighting raids around the U.S. combined did as recently
The Sheriff’s Department in Indian River County, Florida,
during the last week of February 2004 seized 1,500 gamecocks: more
than the total number seized nationally in any year for which
statistics are available prior to 2001.
In the first week of March 2004, Sporting Dog Journal
publisher James Fricchione, 34, was convicted in Goshen, New York,
of six felonies and five misdemeanors for allegedly promoting
Sporting Dog Journal, supported by paid subscriptions and
kennel advertising, “has about 6,000 subscribers nationwide,”
wrote Oliver Mackson of the Middletown Times Herald-Record.
Said prosecutor David Hoovier, “To the dogfighting world,
this is like taking down Al Capone.”
Animal fighting, stereotypically associated with backwoods
rednecks, migrant workers, and inner city youths, has re-emerged
after almost a century of successful repression as a major branch of
organized crime. Police, animal control officers, and humane
investigators need all the help they can get to bring it to heel.
In early 2003 the law enforcement training film production
company In The Line of Duty released a 35-minute video called Animal
Abuse: Why Cops Can & Need To Stop It, priced at $95 per copy.
Animal Issues Movement founder Phyllis Daugherty, of Los Angeles,
appreciated that it was a well-meaning attempt to fill a gap in
police officer training, and obtained a grant to distribute free
copies to law enforcement agencies.
Daughterty bought and distributed 150 copies before deciding
she could and should do better.
Daugherty, a 20-year veteran of animal advocacy, in 1989
produced an influential training video featuring Marvin Mackie, DVM,
teaching early-age dog and cat sterilization surgery, and in 2001
produced a video documentary on overcrowding in animal shelters
entitled Standing Room Only.
Having an idea what was really needed, but only the remainder of her
grant to work with, Daugherty simply set up a video camera on a
table and invited two friends over to practice show-and-tell.
One participant was Captain Ken “Beau” Beauregard, a former
police officer who retired due to medical disability and went on to
do investigative work for the San Diego County Public Defender’s
Office and the San Diego Humane Society. In recent years he has
primarily taught law enforcement technique.
The other participant was Dena Mangiamele, DVM, who was
formerly animal control director for San Diego County, and before
that was chief veterinarian for the Los Angeles Department of Animal
Regulation. Also trained as a law enforcement officer, Mangiamele
may have the most praised television presence of any veterinarian
since “James Herriot,” a fictional character created in
autobiographical novels by British veterinarian james Alfred Wright
and played by professional actor Christopher Timothy.
Beauregard is particularly distinguished for his work on
cockfighting cases, and has also developed expertise on dogfighting
and animal hoarding. Mangiamele has more experience with
dogfighting, and testified as an expert witness for the Fricchione
prosecution, but also is familiar with animal hoarding and has
handled cockfighting cases.
Daugherty started the camera and the conversation, she told
ANIMAL PEOPLE, then stepped aside as Beauregard and Mangiamele
“discussed what actually happens when you arrive at the scene of a
dogfight or cockfight: how to protect the officers, detain the
suspects, safeguard spectators (including children), identify,
gather and preserve evidence, identify the animals for care, and
photograph and videotape wounds for future reference–all the details
of how to prepare for court and handle the animals, done in a
brain-storming atmosphere,” with some use of props and illustrative
material from past cases.
“We bought a second-hand Mac, and some editing programs,
and cut down seven hours of rambling discussion,” Daughtery
continued. “It’s not going to win an Academy Award, but I think most
law enforcement officers will find it helpful, and all the material
is free. We are going to continue interactive training online with
anyone who wants to log on. AIM is doing this with
<www.Pet-Abuse.com>, so their data bank will also be
available–again, at no charge to the officers.
Cruelty case data
Alison Gianotto, founder of <www.Pet-Abuse.com>, makes a
cameo appearance to conclude Prosecuting Animal Cruelty & Illegal
Animal Fighting. She describes her project as “the only
international searchable online database of convicted animal abusers
with information provided by law-enforcement, animal control/humane
organizations and prosecutors around the world.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE and the Animal Legal Defense Fund had the same
idea more than 10 years before Gianotto started, beginning with a
joint study of cruelty case sentencing patterns and working in a
pre-World Wide Web data compilation format oriented toward
After the first abstract of findings appeared in 1992, the
ALDF and ANIMAL PEOPLE projects took different paths.
The ALDF side of it grew into an online data base of
noteworthy animal-related court cases.
The ANIMAL PEOPLE side expanded into paper files on thousands
of cases, often used in statistical reviews to topics of interest,
but the files have never been converted into an online searchable
data base despite our long-held ambition of doing so. Our files on
approximately 1,000 animal hoarding cases were almost ready for web
formatting on October 20, 1998, when an ill-timed lightning flash
that hit a wire during a backup operation destroyed our newsroom
computer and our external hard drive, and severely damaged our
laptop as well. Only the abstract of the first 688 cases could be
recovered. The mission is now Gianotto’s, may her luck be better
and her project more enduring.
As to Academy Awards, there is none for law enforcement
training videos, but Prosecuting Animal Cruelty & Illegal Animal
Fighting will help even seasoned veterans of humane investigation.
Daugherty deserves an award not only for the quality of the
information shared, but also for observing on camera that, “The
fact that an abusive behavior has persisted for several generations
within the same family does not make it a part of their ‘culture.'”
Prosecutors, healers, and law enforcement are mostly now
agreed on that point as regards child abuse and spousal abuse,
despite some continuing confusion involving ethnic customs. It is
time to extend that recognition to animal abuse, which precedes
other forms of family violence, as Beauregard points out, in
approximately 70% of all documented cases.