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Owner of 94 dogs seized from home ordered to post bond for care

Hearing to determine if there was probable cause for seizure was continued

August 12, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Berkeley County Animal Control officers seized 94 dogs, most of them pit bulls, from this home, YipYipDog Kennels LLC at 1206 S. Raleigh St., just outside Martinsburg on Wednesday, following complaints from neighbors.
Photo by Matthew Umstead,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The owner of 94 dogs seized Aug. 4 from a home just outside of Martinsburg was ordered Thursday by Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg to post a $25,490 bond for the care of the animals through Sept. 3.

A hearing to determine if there was probable cause to seize the dogs from YipYipDog Kennels LLC at 1206 S. Raleigh St. was continued by Bragg until Aug. 24.

Dog owner Leonard Woods Jr. has not been charged. Saunders said the matter remains under investigation.

One of the 85 pit bulls seized has died from giardia, according to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders and Berkeley County Animal Control officers. In addition to the pit bulls, animal control officers also seized eight French bulldogs and one other dog, Saunders said.

Woods, who said the county should be held accountable for the dog that died, told Bragg in court that his attorney was unable to attend Thursday's hearing.

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Woods said the lawyer was supposed to fax a notice of appearance to the court, but Bragg, after checking her office, told him that her office had not received any formal notification as of the afternoon court hearing.

Woods, who has five business days to post the bond, said the money would be posted for the animals' care.

Police said the house that the dogs occupied on the southern end of Martinsburg was condemned and the canines were seized after neighbors complained of unbearable odor, garbage piled on the property and dogs not on leashes.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Capt. D. Scott Richmond has described the housing conditions as "deplorable."

In addition to giardia, a diarrhea illness caused by a tiny parasite that lives in the intestine, the seized dogs were diagnosed with coccidia and eye conditions, according to Berkeley County Animal Control officers familiar with the case.

The health of the dogs ranged from "not so bad" to "not so good," Richmond had said.

The dogs are receiving foster care at more than one location, but the number remaining at county facilities forced Animal Control to assign one officer each shift to take care of the animals, Saunders said.

Woods said he started the American pit bull terrier breeding business in Akron, Ohio, about five years ago. They relocated to a modular home on the southern end of Martinsburg almost two years ago, and Woods said Thursday that he had a kennel license. He organized the limited liability corporation in West Virginia in July 2009, according to the Secretary of State's office business organization information system.

Woods, his wife Pamela Woods, and Timothy Woods are listed as members of the LLC, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Woods has said he had a lot more dogs than he was planning to have, in part because he had to take back some dogs from an individual he sold to who wasn't treating the animals right. With so many dogs, including several litters of puppies, Woods said that he and a helper were continuously cleaning the home, which is where the couple also lived.

Woods has said that has been raising his dogs as a pack, which he said contributed to the dogs' good temperament and manner.

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