“Anyway,” Henry said, “I’ve been checking out all the stuff you asked about. All I can say is I thank God I don’t have to deal with all that here in Marienstadt. There’s some horrible people in this world." He opened a file folder on his desk. “I made some calls and did some research and this is what I can tell you. There are a number of—I guess you’d call them farms—in Pennsylvania that are owned by known kill-buyers. They collect horses they get either from auctions or through ads in papers and on the Internet. When they have enough, they haul them to Canada and sell them to slaughterhouses. The problem is, that's perfectly legal. As long as the horses aren’t killed here they’re operating within the law.”
Kit nodded. “Boone and I were talking about the woman who just got arrested for fraud in connection with her kill-buy business.”
“She got off easy with community service.” Henry glanced through the notes he had made. “A lot of horse activists are outraged that the judge didn't give her any jail time. Grant Caruso with the State Police told me most law enforcement officials know about local farms with a reputation for kill-buying, but the only way they can do anything is if there are reports of animal abuse. Grant said activist groups keep an eye on them but, frankly, the police are reluctant to go on wild goose chases.”
“I’m not surprised. What about the motorcycle club I told you about?”
“Yeah.” Henry shuffled through papers until he found a computer print out. “Grant gave me the name of a detective in McKean County who knows those guys and he said good things about them. He said that, other than being scary looking, they weren’t a threat to the community. They've helped the police arrest a lot of dogfight organizers. He said these bikers will go anywhere that they hear about dogfights being held. When they show up and find a fight in progress, the first thing they do is call the police. The police appreciate it.” He handed aphotograph he had printed out to Kit. It showed a dozen large, burly men in leather and with tattoos, straddling Harley-Davidsons. “Is your buddy Toad in that picture?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never met him. Their faces are sort of blurry.”
Henry nodded. “I suspect that’s deliberate. He said that in cities dog fights are all over the place in rough neighborhoods, but there’s a growing problem in counties like McKean, Potter, and Tioga, where there are thousands of acres of woodland. Organizers arrange dogfights in remote locations and they’re attracting more and more people who come to bet on them.” He passed Kit some photos of dogs, mostly pit bulls and Rottweilers, in horrible condition with bloody snouts, torn ears, huge open wounds, and worse.
“This is some sick shit.” Kit leafed through them, a look of revulsion on his face.
“Yeah, it is. The people who follow dogfights are the scum of the earth, too. Your friend Toad’s motorcycle club are an asset to the communities they work in. They seem to know the law and stay at least marginally inside it.”
“Thanks for doing this, Henry. I owe you.”