One of the more shocking incidents of alleged animal cruelty this year was the discovery of a mass grave of 2,000 to 3,000 greyhounds in Alabama. In October and November, several arrests were made in that case.
In May 2002, Robert L. Rhodes, 68, was arrested and charged with violating Alabama’s animal cruelty statutes. Rhodes worked as a security at a greyhound track in Florida and admitted to killing the greyhounds over a period of 40 years.
Rhodes killed with animals with a shot to the head from a .22 caliber, and sometimes took $10/dog from owners to kill the animals. Police believe that individuals at various greyhound race tracks throughout Florida shipped animals to Rhodes to be killed.
Rhodes defense is that shooting the animals once in the head is not cruel under Alabama laws.
In November three Florida residents were arrested in the case and a fourth is wanted but has not yet been located. Ursula O’Donnell was arrested at Melbourne Greyhound Park in Melbourne; Paul Discolo Jr. was arrested at Ebro Greyhound Park in Chipley; and John W. Smith was arrested in Marathon.
Alabama plans to ask for the four individuals to be extradited to that state for prosecution. The indictments against the Floridians charges them with committing torture against the dogs.
Greyhounds killing probe brings additional arrests. Associated Press, November 8, 2002.
More Arrests in Case of Thousands of Slain Greyhounds; HSUS Says Deaths Indicative of Inherent Cruelties in Greyhound Racing. Humane Society of the United States, Press Release, November 8, 2002.