The behavioral analysis of nearly 400 pit bulls seized by federal authorities is complete. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals led the program.
Dr. Randall Lockwood is the head veterinarian for the Society in Washington, D.C. He and his team are the ones who are called in when large cases involving dog fighting, puppy mills or animal hoarding unfold. Lockwood was in charge during the Michael Vick case.
The animals were seized several weeks ago in a multi-state dog fighting ring bust and are being held at the Humane Society in St. Louis until the courts decide their fate. Five Missouri men are charged in the case.
He says his team is well equipped to deal with large cases of dog fighting, puppy mills or animal hoarding, and has the only animal crime scene investigation van in the world. His team can do on the spot treatment, X-rays, surgery and care, as well as collect evidence to process on the scene. Whether it’s using metal detectors to look for bullets or insect analysis to see how long an animal’s been dead, his staff is trained and ready.
Lockwood’s team has finished analyzing the behavior of the seized animals. He says it’s usually a small percentage that have to be put down, and that where the rest will go depends on how the dogs react to other dogs and humans. He says there are dozens of puppies in this case and determining their behavior levels will take more time.
Dog fighting has traditionally been a big problem along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly the Southeast, and in the Southwest, he says, but this case shows the Midwest is a growing concern, and the practice is widespread.
For more background on this story, visit our previous Missourinet story .
About Dr. Randall Lockwood:
Lockwood joined the ASPCA in 2005 and is the Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Field Services. He has a doctorate in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, and was Assistant Professor in the psychology departments of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Washington University in St. Louis.
For more than 25 years, Dr. Lockwood has worked with humane societies and law-enforcement agencies, serving as an expert on the interactions between people and animals. He has testified in numerous trials involving cruelty to animals or the treatment of animals in the context of other crimes, including dog fighting, child abuse, domestic violence and homicide. His efforts to increase public and professional awareness of the connection between animal abuse and other forms of violence were profiled in an award-winning 1999 British Broadcast Corporation/Arts & Entertainment Network documentary entitled “The Cruelty Connection.”
He lives in Falls Church, Va., with his wife, daughter and one cat.