Man accused of abusing animals while trying to make a buck

Published: Nov. 4, 2003 at 1:24 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2003 at 12:03 AM CST
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By Janice Broach

Federal agents say he's one of the most notorious dog dealers in the Mid-South, and he could be eyeing your pet. We have the shocking story of man accused of abusing hundreds of animals while trying to make a buck.

The dilapidated ramshackle buildings are Martin Creek Kennels in northeast Arkansas. There are animal transport containers stacked on the ground and on the back of trucks. It is all owned by C. C. Baird, a man who doesn't want to talk about the federal investigation into violations of the Animal Welfare Act at his kennels. Baird said much of what the animal rights groups have been saying about him for the past decade is false.

This isn't the first time the Feds have investigated Baird. Several years ago the Feds filed a complaint charging violations of animal cruelty and poor record keeping. Baird was fined. This most recent probe is the most in-depth investigation. Bud Cummins, U.S. Attorney said, "Credible allegations have been made so there's an investigation ongoing." Cummins said there is a question about whether some of the dogs Baird has at his kennel are stolen pets. That suspicion is part of the reason the feds confiscated 125 dogs from Martin Creek Kennels in August, that and many of the seized dogs are in bad shape, thin or with injuries.

Lynn Griffin, former dog catcher said, "We've had a few dogs come up missing and the first thing you think about has C.C. done it." Lynn Griffin, who used to be a dog catcher in the area, says he took plenty of those calls. "Since the feds confiscated the 125 animals, there were reports that 500 animals were still left here at the kennel. We don't know how many are here now."

Many of Baird's animals come from people who drop them off, animal shelters and flea markets. He has a class B dog dealers license, issued by the USDA, that allows him to sell his dogs to research companies. Animal rights groups like Last Chance For Animals say he buys the dogs for 10 to 20 dollars and sells them for up to 800 dollars a piece to research companies. Some groups estimate he sells more than three-thousand dogs a year. The president the Humane Society of Eastern Arkansas says she knows of at least two instances where a person identifying himself as C.C. Baird called animal shelters saying he would buy all of their dogs that are going to be euthanized. One of those calls she answered more than a decade ago. Juleanne Ingram, Humane Society said, "He said we're going to get them all healthy and fix them up and we're going to find homes for them." But Last Chance For Animals says C.C. Baird abuses many of his dogs, and federal inspectors have also discovered serious problems in the past. Last Chance for Animals has been investigating Baird for 15 years. Last Chance for animals says Baird buys many of his dogs from a network of thieves called bunchers."

For now C.C. Baird still operates Martin Creek Kennels, and still has his class B license while the feds investigate.

If you recently had a dog stolen -- and think it may have been picked up by the dog dealer in this story -- send inquiries to 2150 Center Avenue, Building B, Mailstop 3-W-11, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80526.