Before starting my review, I feel it's absolutely necessary to warn all viewers of what they are about to witness here. The secret video footage taken of the dogs along with the illegal, cruel, and inhumane activities in this kennel is deeply disturbing on many levels and it is very difficult to watch. I wanted to cry more than once while watching this program and I'm not afraid to admit this. The journey through this documentary is a heartbreaking one but the ending is rewarding and it makes the effort worthwhile.
Thousands of dogs are bought by research labs and veterinary schools every year in America. These animals are supplied by `Class A' dealers (they breed the dogs themselves) and `Class B' dealers (they buy dogs from the pound, shelters, and small breeders) and this latter category are the ones who have been known to regularly violate animal welfare laws meant to protect animals. Class B dealers are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to buy, house, and sell dogs. The USDA, through the federal Animal Welfare Act, is supposed to ensure the humane treatment of these dogs. Obviously they are failing in their responsibilities as this program clearly demonstrates.
In 2002, a small animal rights organization, Last Chance For Animals, began a 6 month undercover investigation of Martin Creek Kennel in Williford, Arkansas which happened to be America's most notorious Class B dog dealer. An investigator, known only as 'Pete', successfully infiltrated this kennel as an employee working for the owner C.C. Baird. After 6 months undercover and with over 70 hours of covert footage amassing evidence of hundreds of violations, Pete left the kennel.
After 9 months, the evidence was turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office in Little Rock, Arkansas where they began their own investigation. On August 26, 2003, a joint federal task force raided the Martin Creek Kennel and rescued 125 out of 600 dogs. Justice was agonizingly slow in coming. Finally, in January 2005, the USDA settled the civil case. C.C. Baird, his wife, and 2 daughters were charged with over 500 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. His license was permanently revoked to buy and sell animals and he was fined $262,700, the largest fine ever imposed under the Animal Welfare Act. However, the U.S. Attorney's criminal case was still ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Northeast Arkansans For Animals organization took the opportunity to prepare the previously rescued dogs for adoption. This is the most rewarding and satisfying footage of the program as it showed the dogs being loved and cared for. Every animal rescued from Martin Creek Kennel found a new home.
Further charges were brought against C.C Baird eight months later. Baird surrendered 700 acres of his land including his home and kennel, all worth 1.1 million dollars. He then surrendered $200,000 and paid $42,400 to animal rescue groups who cared for the animals seized in the 2003 raid. In July of 2006, Baird was sentenced to 3 years supervised probation, 6 months home detention, and fined $7,500.
Looking back now, I'm glad the penalties in this case were so severe yet somehow I don't feel it was enough. I think C.C. Baird should have done some serious jail time too but that's just my opinion. My 5 star rating for this program is dedicated to publicizing the message of out of control dog dealing, the courage and perseverance of Last Chance For Animals, and final justice for the detestable Martin Creek Kennel.