"Dealing Dogs" - Dogs of Martin Creek
C.C. Baird was America’s most notorious dog dealer. For years, he supplied the country’s research labs with thousands of animals. Some of the dogs were strays. Others were suspected to be stolen pets. There is no way to know where they came from, who previously owned them, or what kind of life they had. Thousands upon thousands of dogs passed through Martin Creek Kennels. After LCA’s undercover investigation C.C. Baird’s USDA license was permanently revoked and he was slapped with a fine of $262,700, the largest fine ever imposed by the USDA/APHIS. The Baird family consented to criminal forfeiture of $200,000 and approximately 700 acres of land, which includes their residence and former dog and cat kennels in Sharp County, Arkansas, valued at $1.1 million. They also agreed to pay approximately $42,400 in partial reimbursement of investigative costs as directed by the USDA, which will reimburse animal rescue groups that took custody of animals seized from Baird's property.
These are the stories of some of the lucky dogs and cats who were rescued by LCA and Dogs Only after Martin Creek Kennels, Baird's property, was shut down.
As told by Justice’s guardian
“Justice is an amazing dog! Six years ago this month (March 2011), he came to live with us. I wondered if we were ever going to get him out from under the bed! Now, a very sweet, gentle, friendly dog will greet you at the gate, run on the agility field, and happily walk by your side wherever you want to go. Justice had a rough time readjusting back to normal dog life. He was so terrified; he could hardly walk at times. For him to now be competing is nothing short of a miracle. Justice had his first agility competition in February 2011 and he won 4th place! We were so very proud of his first adventure of competitive agility, never expecting a ribbon!”
As told by Georgia’s guardian
“I have wanted to contact someone from your organization in reference to your "Dealing Dogs" documentary. I have adopted a dog awhile back that came from that awful place. About 6 months after we adopted her, the shelter in which we worked with called us and told us about the film airing on HBO, I did not want to see what she went through but thought it may help in our recovery steps to help get her well.
Here is a brief update about our wonderful dog we have adopted and a great success story:
I am the lucky owner of 3 amazing dogs who have each brought such an indescribable joy into my life. Although I should not pick favorites, one holds a special place in my heart like nothing else ever has in my life. She is a 9 year old beagle we named Georgia. My precious Ms. Georgia came from Baird’s horrible facility. After being seized from there she ended up at a wonderful shelter in Washington D.C. Georgia's spirit had been broken and she trusted nobody, was extremely timid, and just trembled at all times with her tail stuck between her legs as a permanent fixture.
After being in the shelter for over 8 months, I saw her profile on their website and her lost eyes just spoke to me, I knew I needed her in my life. Not many people wanted to take her into their home as she was going to require some work. I went down to meet her and feel in love. When she first came home with us she stayed huddled up in one corner in the upstairs of our house for about 4 months. She would not eat in front of us or even look at us she was so scared. We could not touch her or give her any affection, although it was hard we knew we had to wait for her. It would take about 10-15 min just to get a leash on her as she did not want to be touched. After the 5th month she started sitting on the landing of the stairs and looking down at her new pack. Slowly she came around and began eating in front of us and playing with the other dogs. Then a few months later she started to let us pet her as her trust built up. It has been over a year and a half now and our little broken spirit dog is now full of life, wagging her tail, goes crazy when we come home and wants affection all the time. Her transformation and process to get her over her abuse took a lot of patience and a lot of love, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. To truly learn a language on non verbal communication between a human and an animal is something I wish everyone could experience. When I look at her from then until now, there is such a special feeling of love in my heart that no words can describe.
Thank you for all the work you did at getting these animals out into loving homes. Thank you for shutting this man down. And most of all thank you for the awareness this film brought to many people!”
As told by Bingo’s guardian
“When I selected Bingo from WARL, I could have walked away with any of the dogs there and been happy. I was going through a difficult time in my life and wanted to find a dog that no one else wanted to love. Bingo fit the bill--larger, older, shy, black, and at the shelter for 7 months. Bingo is special, though.
This last September (2010) marks five years together. He has given me more in return than I feel that I've ever given him. He's gentle, wise, strong, loving, loyal, and very silly. I've learned a lot from him. He has only to push his strong brow into the palm of my hand and give me a warm, soft lick to let me know that everything is OK.
I never thought when he came home that he would ever get over all that he'd been through. He was one of the lucky dogs, escaping Baird's with only a cut paw, worms, and needing food, but he was afraid of all of the things that one would expect him to enjoy, like walks, petting, or eating. All I could give him was constant reassurance that he was safe and the patience to let him come to me in his own time. His resilience is astounding and a life lesson for me.
His sister, Yahtzee, has been a big part of his recovery. She was 7 months when she came to live with us and "pesky" would be the best word to describe her at that age. Poor Bingo! He'd tolerate her sitting on his head and chewing his ears, paws, and tail until he couldn't take it and join in her games. She taught him to hog the bed and nap on the couch. They'll play for hours in the yard, running circles, snorting and nipping, with tongues hanging out and silly grins. They are inseparable.
I've learned that Bingo has an infallible sense about who to trust or not. He's never been wrong and his need to warn and protect me is great. There are friendships that I value very much that have come because of Bingo.
This last year, Bingo's grown white eyebrows and muzzle. I've lamented over what a short time we have with our dog companions. But as someone pointed out to me, the fact that a dog from Baird's has a family and can grow old is an amazing thing.
As I've said, I feel he's given me far more than I have given him--loving him is easy. He tucks himself in the crook of my legs at night and is happy in the morning just because I wake up. I am a better, happier person from sharing his life and I'm honored to do so.
Bingo and I were happy to be invited and attend the Congressional briefing in June 2006 in support of the Pet Safety and Protection Act legislation. It was a great pleasure getting to meet Chris DeRose and "Pete" to thank them personally for my beautiful Bingo and all of their work--they're my heroes. Sharing Bingo's story is very important to me, knowing that there are other animals suffering in facilities like his”.
Buck and Max
Buck and Max are black tan coonhounds that were rescued from Martin Creek Kennels. They were the sickest of all the animals saved, both suffering from heartworm. Both dogs were so beaten down; they stayed at the local vet clinic for seven months, and while there, became close friends. They both knew they were loved and had big cushy beds and would lounge around together. When the dogs were well enough to leave the clinic, they both went to foster homes.
Max was adopted by an Oklahoma family where he gets to sleep on the bed and has his place on the couch. He is now a very happy, well-fed dog.
Buck, a loveable coon hound, with sparkling eyes and affectionate ways, was adopted by the father of a local vet. Sadly, Buck died only a year after the raid on Martin Creek Kennels, but in that year, he got to live life to the fullest. Buck got to be loved and cared for—and got to be a hound. One day just before he died, he got off his leash and put his nose to the ground and he took off. He went through every wooded area he could find. He was a happy dog who left a lasting impression on everyone who knew him and had a great last year of life. Buck died unexpectedly from internal hemorrhaging in September 2004.
After being rescued, one little beagle, named “Maggie” by the vets- stood on her back feet, with her front feet up on the pen, just wanting people to pet her.
One of the veterinarians who helped save her also adopted her. The anonymous vet, who lives in Texas, describes Maggie’s unfamiliarity with house living and grass. “It took her several weeks to learn she could go outside to urinate. So at first, she would just hold it.” Maggie has made a remarkable recovery from her isolated conditions at Martin Creek Kennels where she almost died of heat stroke on the day of the raid. She now relishes all the loving human contact she is given. Despite being raised to live in a research lab, “she’s totally a house dog,” her guardian explains. “She sleeps on my husband’s couch. When I come in at night from chores in the barn, they are sitting together cuddled up in an afghan in his chair.”
A cat that was rescued from Martin Creek Kennels had a badly infected eye and was used for breeding at the kennel. Phyillis of Little Rock, Arkansas, adopted her and had to have the infected eye removed. She shares this wonderful story of her remarkable relationship with Cuddles: “A year ago I almost died and was in the hospital for several days. When I came home Cuddles did not leave my side. She basically stayed on my chest. She’s very nurturing.”
Unfortunately not all the stories are happy ones:
As told by “Pete,” LCA’s undercover investigator
“There was one dog at the kennel that stood out to me. He was a small, brown beagle who barked anytime someone walked by his pen. The other animals ignored me, but he would run up and bite my rubber boots and gloves. Many of the dogs, including this beagle, were often dragged around the facilities by their necks. This dog, however, would set his feet in the ground and slide the whole way, resisting everything the workers tried to do to him. Because of this, I secretly named him “Rebel.”
One day, Rebel was moved to the inside kennel, a space designed to hold 50 dogs at a time, to collect a feces sample for worms testing. It was evident that Rebel had developed a tapeworm, but the feces samples became disorganized, and as a result, all of the dogs in the inside kennel remained in their three by six-foot concrete pens with chain link walls for 10 days longer to re-collect their feces.
In his new surroundings, Rebel became bored and frightened. He was only able to lie on the cold, wet concrete all day. These elements, combined with the symptoms of his tapeworm, eventually destroyed him. He stopped barking at me or biting at my boots and, instead, cowered in the corner of his pen shivering. Rebel was later moved to the outside pen, where I found him dead on Saturday morning, February 3, 2002.
I watched a lot of dogs die in that kennel, but Rebel’s death hit me hard. Was it better or worse than death in a vivisection lab? I could only guess, but do nothing about it. I noted his USDA tag number (#35330) and dumped him in a pile of other dead dogs in the kennel yard. I never named another dog at the kennel again.”