Thomas F. Weigner, Jr. & Julie Laban
Massive Pit Bull operation shut down
into a deadly home invasion uncovered what authorities consider a massive
pit bull breeding operation that supplied dogs for illegal dog fighting ventures
around the country.
On Monday, August
7th, Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies, Harris County Precinct 6 Deputy Constables
and the Houston Humane Society Investigators seized most of the more than
300 Pit Bull terriers from filthy conditions at a home in the 2200 block of
County Road 2252 East of Cleveland. Investigators will return on Tuesday to
take the remaining dogs. The dogs seized on Monday were turned over to the
Humane Society for treatment.
that last week, Thomas F. Weigner, Jr., was hot in the leg during a 3 a.m.
home invasion and bled to death. Weigner’s wife, parents and the couple’s
three children were bound with tape during the incident. None were harmed.
One of Weigner’
dogs that was considered to be his personal guard dog was shot and killed
after it managed to get loose and attack one of the three intruders. Authorities
believe that this was not a random home invasion, rather, that it was connected
to the dog ring. They stated that robbery might have been the motive.
Sgt. Kenny Dagle
of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department stated that the men repeatedly
demanded money and shot Weigner in an attempt to get him to tell them where
he may have hidden the money. Two suspects have been questioned, but authorities
would not elaborate on the case. No charges have been filed.
Sheriff Greg Arthur did disclose that Weigner ran the Pit Bull operation on
his 15-20 acre spread and had shipped dogs all over the country. Weigner also
ran a similar business in Pennsylvania where his family returned on Saturday
to bur Weigner.
The number of Pit Bulls valued at about $1 million posses problems for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department, which lacks the resources to handle such a large amount of animals. Sheriff Arthur stated he had to contact Precinct 6 and the Humane Society who are both experienced in such sizeable seizures. He further stated that this was the worst case of animal cruelty and the biggest operation his agency had ever seen or been involved in. More than 200 of the dogs were tied to stakes and kept at a distance from other dogs. Others were forced to stand in pools of mud and their own feces. Authorities stated that some of the more vicious dogs had to be tranquilized so they could be carried into small crates.
Some of the dogs
will be kept inside the Humane Society’s Wellness Center while others will
be kept in separate, 6-foot high kennels inside the agency’s barn. Because
none of the dogs can be housed together, space is an issue.
The Humane Society
has vowed to care for the dogs through the duration of a court case, which
could take several weeks. A County Justice of the Peace will determine who
should have custody of the animals. The Humane Society does not offer this
breed for adoptions as they do not have the resources to rehabilitate Pit
Bulls. The City of Houston recently changed its policy and allows the breed
to be adopted from its pound. Courtney Frank, a spokeswoman for the Humane
Society stated that it is too early to determine what will become of the dogs.
Some of the dogs may have untreatable health issues as a result of the conditions
in which they were kept.