Basketballers, footballer investigated for pit bull, Rottweiler mayhem
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:
PORTLAND–Oregon Humane Society and Clackamas County
Sheriff’s Office investigators found evidence linking basketball
player Qyntel Woods to dogfighting in October 11 and October 15
searches of his Lake Oswego home, reported Emily Tsao of the
Portland Oregonian on November 6, 2004.
Clackamas County Judge Robert Selander unsealed 26 pages of court
documents for Tsao, with names, addresses, and witness statements
blacked out to maintain the security of the investigation.
The Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball
Association on October 11 suspended Woods, 23, without pay.
Woods came under suspicion a week earlier when Multnomah County
Animal Services traced to him an injured female pit bull terrier
found in an alley. Woods claimed he gave the dog away, but KATU-TV,
an ABC affiliate, reported that Woods dumped the dog for losing a
Clackamas County detective Jim Strovink on October 21 told
Allen Breitman of the Oregonian that his office had received a tip
that more than one Trail Blazer had attended dogfights in Linn County.
Woods’ Trail Blazers teammate Zack Randolph told Geoffrey C. Arnold
of the Oregonian that he has owned and bred pit bulls, but denied
involvement in fighting.
Police detective Lawrence Zapata of nearby Vancouver,
Washington meanwhile denied that the Woods case connects to the
October 12 seizure of 21 pit bull terriers and dogfighting
paraphernalia from property owned by Eduard J. Ribaya, 52.
Ribaya in 1995 was convicted of felony dogfighting in San
Francisco. He was believed to be one of the three organizers of a
fight that was raided while in progress. Police made 78 arrests,
seizing $50,000 in cash and two dead dogs found on the premises.
Woods was the third major league athlete to come under
investigation in 2004 for suspected crimes against dogs.
In Holdenville, Oklahoma, former National Football League
player Leshon Johnson is facing up to 10 years is prison for alleged
dogfighting, racketeering, and conspiracy in connection with a
dogfighting ring broken up in a series of raids between May 25 and
July 9, 2004. Thirty people have been charged with related
offenses, and 225 dogs were seized, narcotics agent Jim Ward told
Tony Thornton of The Okalahoman. Leshon Johnson, his brother Luther
Johnson, and Luther Johnson’s girlfriend were allegedly found in
possession of 68 of the dogs.
Leshon Johnson was previously arrested for dogfighting in
2000, but prosecution was deferred on condition that he give up his
dogs and stay away from dogfights.
Sixth in the 1993 Heisman Trophy voting after leading the
U.S. in rushing at Northern Illinois University, Johnson played
professionally for the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, and
New York Giants, finishing up in the short-lived XFL, whose style
of play was modeled on TV wrestling.
The New Jersey SPCA on October 8 ordered the Hunterdon County SPCA to
“immediately cease all operations,” NJ/SPCA president Stuart Rhodes
confirmed to Matthew Dowling of the Newark Star-Ledger.
The suspension came, Dowling wrote, because Hunterdon
County SPCA executive director Tee Carlson accepted donations from
former NBA star Jayson Williams, while failing to prosecute Williams
for allegedly shooting a dog after losing a bet.
The incident came to light through a deposition given by
Dwayne Schintzius, a former New Jersey Nets teammate of Williams,
at Williams’ April 2004 trial for aggravated manslaughter in
connection with the August 2001 shotgun death of limousine driver
Costas “Gus” Christofi. The jury deadlocked on the manslaughter
charge but convicted Williams of trying to make the death look like a
suicide. Williams was then recharged with reckless manslaughter.
His second trial for Christofi’s death is scheduled for January 2005.
Schintzius “told investigators he bet Williams $100 that he could
drag a Rottweiler named Zeus from Williams’ home while Williams gave
attack commands,” Dowling wrote. After Schintzius won the bet,
Williams killed Zeus with close-range shotgun blasts.
“We have received information from several sources that
indicates that the amount of donations from Williams [to the
Hunterdon County SPCA] may well exceed $20,000,” Stuart Rhodes told
ANIMAL PEOPLE. “There are several other issues involved, such as a
lack of reporting, how many law enforcement people Carlson has, and
what if any training they have had.”