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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Breeder neglect - 30 dogs beaten and starved Fort Pierce, FL Court case March 4

Fourteen pitbulls belonging to a man accused of animal cruelty will not be euthanized, but instead will be heading to a no-kill animal shelter in Georgia.

"Whether he gets them or not, we don’t want them killed," said defense attorney Juan Torres, who represents Nahume Belvilus, the dogs' owner. Belvilus is charged with 18 counts of unlawful confinement of animals and five counts of cruelty to animals and is expected to go to trial in March or April, Torres said.

Belvilus was arrested in July 2007 after a Fort Pierce officer witnessed him beating three dogs with a broken fishing pole. Belvilus told police he was raising the dogs for sale as part of a business he was running and they were not used for fighting; Torres confirmed Belvilus had a license to run a kennel.

There has been no evidence that the animals were used for fighting. Four of the dogs seized were adopted and 11 have been euthanized by the Humane Society of St. Lucie County, where the animals have been housed.

The 14 remaining pitbulls can't be adopted because they are too aggressive and have attacked employees, according to the Humane Society. Belvilus disputed this during the court hearing, making allegations that the Humane Society wasn't properly taking care of them.

The State Attorney's Office did not take a position on the euthanasia issue. Assistant State Attorney Jason Berger said his office has all the evidence it needs related to the dogs and does not require access to them anymore for the court case.

The dogs will be sent to a shelter run by the Atlanta-based Homeless Pet Foundation, a nonprofit group that operates no-kill animal shelters. The dogs are expected to leave for Georgia by Monday afternoon.

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