Earlier this year, Kenny Bell of Tampa, Fla., bought a Pit Bull mix, later named Cabela, to participate in dog fights at his house. But when Cabela proved to be a lover, not a fighter, Bell ordered Natwan Callaway and Bobby Hollinger, both 17, to get rid of her. Callaway shot Cabela three times and tied her to railroad tracks.
In court today, Bell pleaded guilty to possessing a dog for dog-fighting purposes. He barely got a slap on the wrist from the judge.
In a deal reached with the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, Bell was sentenced to 48 months probation (for which he’s eligible for release in just two years), 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay up to $1,000 in restitution to Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Services (TBVES), ABC Action News reports. He cannot own an animal — but only while he’s on probation..
“For the record, I just want to state that I’m sorry about what happened to the dog Cabela,” Bell told the judge. “I never planned for that to happen. I never thought nothing like that would happen to the dog.”
Bell’s attorney told ABC Action News that his client has been getting lots of hate mail in jail and has been “wrongly characterized.” In other words, shame on the media for its negative portrayal of someone who makes a living fighting dogs to the death!
Bell was the first of four defendants to go to trial in Cabela’s case. Callaway, who confessed to shooting her, will be tried as an adult in August. He’s facing felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and armed trespassing, and misdemeanor charges of abandonment of an animal and being a minor in possession of a firearm. The 17-year-old has a rap sheet going back three years that includes robbery, burglary and grand theft, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“Enjoy your time in a cage, where you will still be treated better than you ever treated her and the other dogs,” wrote TBVES on its Facebook page in March. “She is sure the other inmates will be impressed with your high level of sophistication and the cruelty of your actions! Have a great life, she certainly is on to better things!”
That’s for sure. Ever since Cabela was rescued by Tampa police officers Nick Wilson and Sgt. R. Mills as a train was approaching, the sweet Pit Bull mix has made a remarkable recovery.
TBVES announced on its Facebook page today that although adoption offers have poured in from as far away as Sweden, Cabela has been officially adopted by one of the volunteers who worked with her. She will serve as an ambassador for the clinic that helped save her life.
Photos via Facebook