Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Noted Dog and Cat Dealers Plead Guilty: Why You Should Never Leave Dogs or Cats Alone Outside: Pet Theft: Class B Dealers

Believe it or not, there is an industry that supplies animal testing facilities with dogs and cats. Some of these "dealers" or bunchers as they are known, simply steal family dogs and cats from backyards.

The people spoke about below - Chester "C.C." Baird and his wife Patsy Baird and their daughters Jeanette Baird Thornhill and Patricia Baird - were notorious Class B dealers. This allowed them (via a government ok) to essentially sell to labs (such as the University of Colorado Medical School and Health Sciences Center) dogs and cats that could not be identified as to their origin. Hence, they could have stolen dogs and cats from backyards. You can find more information on backyard pet theft, animal bunchers, stolen animals and class b dealers here.

For more information on the University of Colorado Medical School and Health Sciences Center and its use of stolen dogs in its medical school curriculum, visit

Here is a prior posting from our blog about other notorious dog and cat stealers and dealers.

But, this is a great breakthrough. As you will see in the story below, Chester "C.C." Baird and his wife Patsy Baird and their daughters Jeanette Baird Thornhill and Patricia Baird are scum and slime. They are the lowest of the lowest. It is about time that they pay something. I hope this ends the issue of pet theft, stolen animals and animal dealers, but we never can tell.

Animal dealer pleads guilty to single count


The man once known as "America's largest and most notorious Class B
animal dealer" pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Little Rock federal courtroom
to a criminal charge related to his 15-year operation of a Sharp County
Chester "C.C." Baird, 58, pleaded guilty to a single count of
money laundering conspiracy, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and
a fine of more than $5 million.
Baird's wife, Patsy, also 58, pleaded guilty to misprision of a
felony, or failure to report a crime, in connection with mail fraud the
Bairds admittedly committed while buying and selling animals. She faces
up to three years in prison.
Chief U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes said he would set a
sentencing date later.
As part of their negotiated pleas, the Bairds agreed to surrender
to the government about 700 acres of land valued at $1.1 million, on
which they lived and operated Martin Creek Kennels near Williford and
sold dogs and cats, some believed to be stolen pets, to medical research
They also agreed to pay $200,000 cash and reimburse
government-approved animal rescue groups about $42,400 for the expense
of caring for and finding homes for about 125 dogs and one cat that
federal agents seized from the kennel in fall 2003. The money also will
go toward the cost of caring for some of the 145 cats and 89 dogs the
Bairds surrendered to the government in January.
The surrender was part of a settlement that the Bairds and their
daughters, Jeanette Baird Thornhill and Patricia Baird, reached to
resolve a 108-page civil lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Agriculture
filed against the four on March 11, 2004. It alleged numerous violations
of the federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the transport, sale
and handling of animals intended for research.
The case was settled just before a trial was to begin on Jan. 24
in Little Rock.
In addition to turning the animals over to the USDA, which in
turn called on animal welfare groups that found homes for all of them
across the country, C.C. Baird paid a $250,000 fine, the largest civil
penalty in the history of the nearly 40-year-old law. He paid an
additional $12,700 penalty for failing to comply with past
cease-and-desist orders.
The agreement resulted in the permanent revocation of licenses
that allowed the Bairds to legally sell and breed animals, effectively
putting them out of business.
"Using animals for medical research is a very sensitive area, so
it's vital we enforce the laws that apply," U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins
said Tuesday. He said that although the investigation couldn't confirm
that any of the animals seized from Baird's property were stolen pets,
"Clearly, that's the main focus of the case. If they're violating the
law [in failing to properly account for the pets they sell], clearly
these animals can come from anywhere ­ including your backyard."
The Bairds' troubles with the U.S. attorney's office became
public two years ago when federal agricultural and postal agents served
a search warrant at the kennel, seizing the 125 dogs and one cat, and
leaving about 600 animals on the premises.
Cummins said Tuesday that the raid came during a federal
investigation that ensued nearly a year earlier after an undercover
operation at the kennels by a national nonprofit animal advocacy
organization based in Los Angeles called Last Chance for Animals.
Cummins said that after Last Chance turned over secretly recorded
videotape obtained by a Last Chance member who posed as a worker at the
heavily secured kennels, "federal investigators took over the case and
corroborated all the information independently."
Among other things, the videotape showed a beagle being slugged
and a terrier mix being shot in the head.
Chris DeRose, the organization's founder and president, attended
the plea hearing on Tuesday. Afterward, he said that he was "extremely
happy" with the work of the U.S. attorney's office and the U.S. office
of inspector general, and that he hopes Baird will get prison time and
another substantial fine.
DeRose noted that in the nearly 18 months since the time of the
raid and the time the Bairds agreed to cease operations, "We estimate
that about 1,000 dogs went through there," which would have easily
enabled Baird to pay his hefty fine.
"There's big money in selling animals for medical research,"
Cummins agreed.
Baird sold animals to nearly 50 research facilities across the
country, making a six-figure income for several years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Lipe, who spearheaded the criminal
investigation, told Judge Holmes that Baird made $584,000 in 2001 alone,
solely by selling animals.
DeRose has said that Class B dealers often buy animals, including
stolen pets, from people who know the dealers and approach them at
auctions. The animals are bought for about $15 apiece and sold to
research labs for between $250 and $800 apiece.
Lipe told the judge that undercover USDA agents saw C.C. and
Patsy Baird buying dogs at a monthly flea market in Ripley, Miss., which
the Bairds frequented. Lipe said witnesses were prepared to testify
about delivering cats and dogs to the Bairds at the flea markets.
She said people who sold animals to the Bairds, who operated the
largest animal-selling operation in the country, would have testified
that the Bairds prepared false acquisition records. Those documents made
it appear the animals were bought from licensed breeders or animal
shelters when they actually were not, she said.
Baird, who is also employed as a Church of Christ minister and an
insurance adjuster, and his wife were freed until their sentencing date.
They and defense attorney Kent Rubens of West Memphis declined to
comment after the hearing.


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