Sled Dog Abuse Case Update

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Chain free is- the way to be!
Barked: Fri Dec 9, '11 4:05am PST 
A Willow man accused of 50 counts of animal cruelty stemming from a raid on his dog breeding business backed out of a plea agreement Wednesday.

Frank Rich appeared before District Court Judge David Zwink in a black collared shirt with a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard. To get there he had to navigate a gauntlet of protesters wearing placards bearing pictures of his dogs.

"I'm here for the dogs, all of them," was the most common slogan on the signs.

Before the details of the agreement reached could be put on the record, Rich's attorney, Chong Yim, told Zwink his client planned to back out of the deal. The prosecutor expressed disappointment.

"Obviously, the state is disappointed that this isn't ending today, but obviously we can't force Mr. Rich to change his plea," assistant district attorney Lindsey Burton said. "There is very little the state can say at this point."

Addressing the gallery, which at this point contained two or three dozen of the protestors, though now without their signs, Zwink explained that Rich was exercising his rights.

"That's the right that is given to very citizen. The state cannot force someone to accept that deal," the judge said.

He set a pre-trial conference hearing date of Jan. 12 - oddly, almost exactly a year after he was arrested - to see if the case was ready to go before a jury and asked attorneys to have their motions filed by the end of the month.

As they filed out of the courtroom, one protestor stopped to tell Rich that if he thought he'd be avoiding a crowd by delaying proceedings he was wrong. She predicted double the number of protestors present Wednesday would attend future court hearings.

"I don't care how many people come here. I really don't," Rich said.

Rich's case began in mid-January when the Mat-Su Borough seized 157 dogs found on his property, almost all of them malnourished and dehydrated, according to Alaska State Troopers reports. Rich was a breeder of husky/malamutes and told troopers he'd lost his job in October 2010, after which he had trouble feeding his dogs. In addition to the live dogs, troopers found 22 dead dogs, a couple of them still chained up.

Read more: Animal Abuse: 150 dogs seized from breeder's home, 22 dead - Willow, AK | Pet-Abuse.Com Animal Cruelty Database http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/17218/AK/US/#UPDATES#ixzz1g2QqXc3C

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Fri Dec 9, '11 6:51am PST 
Thanks for the update,we rarely get them in cases like this and I personally like to know how things turn out and if justice has been served for the animals involved.

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Thu Dec 15, '11 10:44am PST 
that's terrible. confused the man has no shame and the industry needs to have safeguards in place..

Ginger- M.I.A.

my first and- finest
Barked: Thu Dec 15, '11 1:19pm PST 
Dear lord, what a creep. In the linked article it said they found 30 puppies when the dogs were seized, so that means he was STILL BREEDING even after he lost his job and couldn't afford to take care of the animals he already had. What a loser. And there is no good reason to produce loads of Husky/Malamute mixes, the market is already flooded with sled dogs in Alaska, and I doubt these were high-caliber racing dogs that actually have a market.

I hope the judge throws the book at him for this. People like him tarnish the entire dog sledding world.
Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
Barked: Thu Dec 15, '11 6:43pm PST 
Thanks for the update. Please keep us posted. I wish the worst for him...naughty

Dunlop-named for- the rider not- the tyer
Barked: Sat Dec 17, '11 5:40am PST 
I agree with Turner naughty & the fact that he was still breeding and had that many puppies at once despite his financial woes naughtyshrugnaughty

Tilos- great white- hunter
Barked: Sat Dec 17, '11 3:06pm PST 
I want to make it very clear that these were NOT sled dogs. They were not owned by a musher, they never ran in harness. They were not sold as sled dogs, they were sold as pets.

In sum they were NOT sled dogs. They were husky/malamute mixes raised for profit.

What this guy did was inexusable, but I do not want people associating his actions with all the other responsible mushers, with sled dogs in the Willow area.

The title of the post is incorrect. People like to jump on the 'sled dog abuse' title, but most sled dogs I know have wonderful, fulfilling lives. Better than the housedog who only gets let out in the yard a few times a day. This guy will deserve everything he gets, but his actions should not be part of the sled dog issue conversation.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Tue Jan 3, '12 8:45am PST 
"People like to jump on the 'sled dog abuse' title, but most sled dogs I know have wonderful, fulfilling lives."

Perhaps you don't know that in some corners there is rampant abuse in this industry that has few safeguards in place to regulate how these dogs live/breed/die. I'm glad that 'most' of the sled dogs that you know don't suffer such a fate, but that doesn't change the fact that many do.

Regardless of whatever sled dog connection this jerk may have had or not, the book still needs to be thrown at him...and even then he might not see the inside of a jail cell.