A Pit Bull seized from a City of Buffalo police department employee arrested on animal cruelty charges has disappeared. The dog was one of four Pit Bulls police say Shanon Richardson was training for dog fighting. One of the dogs had extensive scarring on its face.
The missing dog was being held in the Buffalo Animal Shelter, and police spokesperson Michael DeGeorge says a police investigation is underway to find out what happened to the animal. Richardson was a cellblock attendant who was suspended after his arrest.
Richardson faces felony animal abuse charges and is due back in court Tuesday morning. His current charges would carry up to four years in prison.
This case has riled up animal lovers nationwide right from the start and their anger has ignited on Facebook. Emotions are now further fueled by a reliable source telling News 4 that a plea deal may be in the works to allow Richardson to plead guilty to less serious charges.
Richardson earlier told News 4 he is innocent, and he claims now that he does not have possession of the missing dog.
“I don’t fight dogs. I don’t have a bunch of killed dogs in my house. This is just ridiculous,” he told News4 in December.
A volunteer at the Buffalo Animal Shelter said the missing dog was being kept in a section of the shelter accessible to the public.
That news has local animal advocate Carol Tutzauer very upset. “I think it’s unfortunate that there wasn’t more security with a dog that’s supposed to be partial evidence,” she told reporters.
Richardson is not as confident as he was in December 2013, when he told News4 he was innocent, “And I can’t wait for my day in court.”
Now he declined a television interview because he says he has had death threats since he was arrested and people have driven by his house and thrown things.
Lots of people will be closely watching how his case is handled. Richardson is due back in court at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
And, someone knows the whereabouts of the missing dog.
Up to a $5,000 reward is offered by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Callers’ identities are protected.