A scarred Pit Bull, named Ginja, belonging to a Buffalo Police employee accused of training her to fight has been recovered over the weekend by the Long Island-based Guardians of Rescue, after disappearing from the Buffalo Animal Shelter in January.
The animal-rescue group offered a substantial reward for her return. Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, believes Ginja was stolen by someone with ties to Shanon Richardson, who is accused of training pit bulls to fight.
“We have numerous positive IDs. We were able to match up other things, too, such as facial scaring, signature marks of hers. We are very confident we have Ginja,” said animal advocate attorney Matt Albert, who personally donated $2,000 of the $7,000 offered for her return.
A police investigation into Ginja’s disappearance continues.
“Ginja” was seized in December 2013 along with three other dogs after police found them at the home of Shanon Richardson. All four of the dogs were malnourished and court documents show Richardson had treadmills, weights for the dogs’ necks, hormone growth pills and needles filled with fluids – all indications of dog fighting.
Richardson, a cell block attendant employed by the City of Buffalo, was charged with six counts of animal cruelty. Then, months later, Ginja disappeared from the shelter, where she was housed in an area accessible to the public.
News 4 reports that in July 2006 Lackawanna Police records show that an officer was nearly bitten by one of Richardson’s Pit Bulls that was running loose and the dog was so aggressive that it had to be put down.
The officer also noted there were two pit bull puppies tied to a cage that was surrounded by junk metal and debris. And two other pit bulls were staked to the ground with chains heavy enough to be cruel, News 4 states. The officer said the dogs had no food, water or shelter from the hot sun.
On July 7, 2006, Richardson was charged with failure to change ownership on four separate pit bulls for not licensing the dogs. And six days after that, Richardson reported that he no longer owned the four dogs.
On June 11, 2012, police say they found five pit bulls on a vacant lot owned by Richardson. All five were seized three days after the complaint was made.
This past December, police seized four malnourished pit bulls from Richardson’s home, including Ginja, along with fighting and training equipment. He has denied he was training the dogs to fight.
DOG MAY TESTIFY AGAINST HER ABUSER
Now that she has been found, Ginja may have a chance to testify against the brutal man who abused her and who finds pleasure in the pain and suffering of helpless animals. News 4 reports that Ginja’s new caretakers say, if necessary, they will bring her to court to provide evidence to convict Richardson on felony animal abuse charges.