Canine “CSI” Crucial in Charging Chihuahua Hoarder

Posted on September 3, 2009

Animal Legal Defense Fund Grant Allows for Necropsies of Chihuahuas Found in Michigan Man’s Freezer  

ChihuahuaUpdate
January 12, 2010:
Kenneth Lang Jr. pleaded guilty today to animal cruelty charges after more than 100 live and approximately 150 dead Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes were removed from his filthy home this past July. In addition to serving five years’ probation under the supervision of a Wayne County mental health court, Lang is not permitted to own any animals and must make $3,000 restitution to ALDF for the necropsies conducted on 10 of the Chihuahuas whose bodies were removed from Lang’s freezers, and yet undetermined restitution to the city of Dearborn.

“The prosecutors in this matter, Amy Slameka and Rajesh Prasad, put in a top-shelf effort on this horrific hoarding case, as did the lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Ron Beggs. I am happy that ALDF had the chance to help Wayne County get a good result in court,” said ALDF Criminal Justice Program Director Scott Heiser.

September 3, 2009

Dearborn, Mich.- Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced today that Dearborn dog hoarder Kenneth Lang Jr is being charged with two counts of cruelty to 10 or more animals, after more than 100 live and approximately 150 dead Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes were removed from the filthy home this past July. The national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund provided a grant of $3500 to allow the Dearborn Police Department to conduct necropsies on 10 of the Chihuahuas whose bodies were removed from freezers on 56-year-old Lang’s property. ALDF offers grants for necropsies, DNA testing, and other forensic support nationwide to ensure that local law enforcement is able to collect the necessary evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in cases of criminal animal abuse.

Once relegated only to primetime dramas, sophisticated forensic techniques are increasingly being used to help prosecutors put together airtight cases against animal abusers. However, because such tests can be prohibitively expensive, abusers often walk free–even when the appearance of guilt seems obvious. Meanwhile, former prosecutors who now staff ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program train law enforcement around the country in animal abuse crime scene investigation, the use of cell phone data and fingerprint analysis in abuse cases, and in handling costly hoarding cases like the Lang case. In addition to the horrific animal cruelty involved, hoarding creates such highly unsanitary conditions that the properties of hoarders, contaminated with fecal matter and urine, are often condemned. In this case, Dearborn paid more than $37,000 to clean up Lang’s home, which has been deemed unfit for human habitation and might be demolished.

“Establishing cause of death is key in any fatal animal cruelty case,” says Scott Heiser, director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program. “We are more than happy to help the Dearborn Police Department with this critical part of their casework, as they seek justice for the hundreds of Chihuahuas who suffered so much–and the suffering of dogs who die of starvation and untreated disease in hoarding cases is truly horrific. By providing direct funding for forensic investigation of crimes against animals, we hope to ensure that attorneys have the evidence they need to put abusers in jail–while the surviving victims are allowed to heal from their trauma.”

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org.


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