Ex-Dealers Plead Guilty to Felonies
A charging document filed at a hearing by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30 states that former random source dealer C.C. Baird and his wife Patsy "knowingly and intentionally 1. received random source dogs and cats from prohibited sources… [and] 2. prepared false and fictitious paper and electronic acquisition records intended to deceive" by passing off random source animals as purpose-bred and using straw men to conceal the true source of animals. The Bairds backdated acquisition records to circumvent Animal Welfare Act (AWA) mandated holding periods and to ensure missing pets could not be tracked to their premises. They each pled guilty to a felony.
In an effort to encourage leniency, the Bairds entered their pleas prior to being charged with any crime. They consented to criminal forfeiture of $200,000 and their Arkansas home and former kennel facilities, which sit on about 700 acres valued at about $1.1 million. They will pay an additional $42,400 to compensate the animal rescue groups that took custody of the 126 animals initially seized from Baird's property in August of 2003.
The Bairds made millions of dollars selling dogs and cats for experimentation until their US Department of Agriculture (USDA) licenses to operate were surrendered earlier this year. The forfeiture was part of a settlement agreement reached with the USDA to resolve charges of hundreds of AWA violations. US District Judge J. Leon Holmes is expected to sentence them for the felony charges at the end of the year. The Bairds were clearly scofflaws with no compassion for the misfortunate animals they used for their own financial gain; we hope the judge will sentence them to well-earned prison time coupled with a hefty fine.