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He's My Denny

It was January 25, 1996. Sandy Snyman, the adoption coordinator at Daytona Beach Kennel Club, heard a dog whimpering in a locked kennel adjoining the adoption kennel. After forcing the locked door open, she found He's My Denny, a greyhound that had been in a fight, had terrible wounds to its body, and was apparently left to die. Sandy immediately took the dog in for veterinary care with Dr. Willam R. Rippey Jr. where he was treated until trainer David Gibby prematurely took him away. On January 28, He's My Denny died at another clinic.

NGAP took up the cause of He's My Denny. We sent faxes to every adoption program in the United States and posted many press releases which generated a lot of interest and concern. Florida prosecutors could not believe the amount of press this animal abuse case was getting. I, myself, flew down to Daytona Beach on June 20, 1996 for the trial. I arranged for demonstrators to be on hand and had many signs printed showing our outrage at David Gibby's behavior. When the trial began, the judge called me to the stand and explained that if the demonstrators did not stop protesting he would have to call a mistrial. We had obviously accomplished what we needed to accomplish.

There was newspaper and TV media from all over the state of Florida that first night of the trial. Sandy Snyman had previously sent us explicit photographs which showed the extent of Denny's horrific wounds and they were shown on TV. They were so graphic that it surprised even me that they were shown.

We were not pleased with the prosecutions case and were able to obtain the phone number of the prosecutor. I called him that evening and he was obviously not thrilled by my call. That same evening, myself and other advocates wrote a closing statement for the prosecution and gave it to them the next day. As it turned out, the prosecutor read it almost word for word. The jury deliberated approximately twenty minutes before they convicted David Gibby of First Degree Felony Animal Abuse. Gibby spent time in prison for his crime.

The purpose of this full explanation including correspondence, media releases, newspaper articles and photographs is so that other greyhound advocates will learn from some of the our procedures and realize the importance of digging in your heels to try and right a wrong. There will be many ‘Denny's' before greyhound racing ends. We must treat them all the same and vigorously seek prosecution of those that will hurt this wonderful breed.

Hopefully this will inspire other adoption groups to get involved in the plight of greyhound abuse.

January 25, 1996
Letter to from Dr. William R. Rippey, Jr, Colonial Animal Clinic to Mr. Oleson, Daytona Beach Kennel Club:

Dear Mr. Oleson, Daytona Beach Kennel Club:

This morning, Sandy of GPA, presented to my clinic a greyhound which had sustained injuries in my opinion from a dog fight. The animal was unable to walk, very painful, dehydrated and toxic from severe infection. The wounds consisted of decaying draining areas of the right upper foreleg, and a large deep wound of the ventral chest. There were multiple puncture wounds and abrasions to the neck, with swelling, and gas under the skin. The knuckles of the feet, and lower limbs, was abraded from being down.

I feel this animal was grossly mismanaged and veterinary care should have been sought days ago; or either the dog should have been humanely destroyed. I am aware that conditions are different in the track environment, but this case is very disturbing to me and my staff. It shows not only bad judgment and ignorance on the part of the trainers, but borders on neglect and abuse.

I have documented this case with medical records, as well as with pictures. I hope situations like this can be avoided in the future.


Dr. William R. Rippey, Jr.

January 29, 1996
Statement from Jennifer Freiberg in reference to He's My Denny:

The dog was brought to Colonial Animal Clinic around 9:00am on Thursday, January 25, 1996. He had to be carried in, he couldn't walk on his own. There were numerous puncture wounds all over the dog (possibly from a dog fight). There was a wound on the ventral chest area, ranging in size from at least 6 inches wide to 3 inches deep. It came around to the underarm to just behind the right shoulder. That wound consisted of necrotic (dead) tissue. The muscle was blackened from lack of blood supply. There was also a dirty bandage on the wound which was falling off, and was doing more harm than good.

There was another open wound on the underside of the dog's neck, just missing the jugular vein, which was approximately 2 inches wide and about a ˝ inch deep. Again dead tissue and severe dehydration and swelling of the neck. Probably gas under the skin, or infection. We cleaned all of the wounds and gave the dog IV antibiotics and started him on IV fluids. We also gave him a tranquilizer and a shot for pain. About two hours later the trainer came in and picked up the dog. When we asked him if he was going to take the dog to another veterinarian for further treatment, he responded, "No, I am not going to do anything for this dog." I then spit in this man's face. He then backhanded me across my face. That was all that happened at the clinic. We filed an animal negligence complaint with the Humane Society and also with the Police Department's animal negligences department.

January 29, 1996
Media Release from National Greyhound Adoption Program:

On Thursday, January 25, 1996, I attended a hearing held by the parimutuel division regarding rules the wish to enact concerning the regulations of greyhound racing, horse racing, and jai-alai. We considered the one paragraph referring to the humane treatment of racing greyhounds as grossly inadequate, and expressed those views, making specific suggestions as to what would be needed to assess the humane treatment of greyhound racing in the state of Florida.

Curiously enough, while testifying before the parimutuel division, a case of gross abuse was unfolding in Daytona Beach with regard to one of its racing greyhounds. A greyhound was taken to Colonial Animal Clinic, 1961 South Ridgewood Avenue, South Daytona Beach, Florida and seen by Dr. William H. Rippey Jr. This greyhound, a two year male brindle, was found whimpering in an empty kennel. He had festering wounds on his body and the wounds had a foul odor coming from them. Dr. Rippey indicated the extensive wounds had been untreated for several days to get to this condition. This dog was partially dehydrated and could not walk on its own, and was carried into the clinic for treatment. The information that we have is that this greyhound had been injured several days prior and its wounds had not been attended to for an extended period of time. We are enclosing a copy of a letter sent by Dr. Rippey to Daytona Beach Kennel Club.

The state of Florida cannot properly deal with gross negligence and abuse and it is imperative that the parimutuel division as well as the state of Florida take proper responsibility in dealing with the humane treatment of its racing greyhounds. Enclosed also with this is the document we presented before the parimutuel division on January 25, 1996. It will be interesting to see how the parimutuel division responds to this case of negligence and abuse.

For additional information, please contact this office.

David G. Wolf, Director
National Greyhound Adoption Program

January 30, 1996
Update on Release from January 29, 1996:

On Sunday, January 28, 1996, while most of us were preparing for the festivities of Superbowl Sunday, "He's My Denny" was dying at Driftwood Animal Clinic in Daytona Beach, Florida. Denny was one of Florida's Greyhound athletes. He was dying of a pseudomonas infection, common lay term for this infection is gangrene. The condition was a result of abuse, negligence and a system that supports such activities. Dr. Hancock, the veterinarian that diagnosed Denny said, "The putrid smell is unmistakable." This poor canine had to suffer for days before his whimpering sighs were heard late Wednesday evening, 1/24/96. He was alone in a large vacant kennel, possibly left to die if not found. He survived the night to be carried (he could not walk)Thursday morning at 8:00am to the Colonial Veterinary Clinic, where emergency care was begun. This lasted only a short time. His intravenous lifeline was terminated. His purported caretaker/trainer arrived at 11:00am and demanded the dog released to him. As he left he told shocked veterinarian attendants that he would not take this greyhound to another vet. It was not until the following day (it was 11:00am-24 hours later) that Denny reached Driftwood Animal Clinic only six miles from the Colonial animal clinic. He arrived too late. "He's My Denny" died Sunday alone and in pain. Each day almost one hundred (100) greyhounds will die in the United States. Approximately thirty will die daily in the state of Florida, many just like Denny. Most are 2 ˝ to 3 ˝ years old.

What has failed, that allows presumably feeling people to permit such horrible things to happen? The answer is simple. Money again has blinded the state so that it turns its back on its racing athletes. The state has a regulatory structure to guard and protect its canine athletes. The Parimutuel Division chooses to neither guard nor protect, saying "We have no clear mandate from the legislature." But that regulatory body fails to even ask for the mandate necessary. The state legislature cannot seem to find agreement between racing industry factions, and since the greyhounds have no voice, their cries are never heard. Denny's cries were heard by one caring person. Unfortunately, Florida's system doesn't have the ability to protect the loving, gentle animal it races. Help came for Denny too late. He died a horrible death. Denny would have been two years old this coming April. His life expectancy, if given the opportunity, would have been ten more years. A trainer helped kill Denny, the Parimutel Division helped kill Denny, and the State of Florida helped kill Denny.

Change the laws for Denny and the thousands of other greyhounds still racing in Florida, still being exploited in Florida, and still in need of a caring person.


"He's My Denny"/Brindle Male
Born: April 1994 Tattoos: Left Ear-38225 Right Ear-44D
Died from Pseudomonas Infection: 1/28/96

February 8, 1996
Newspaper Article from N-J Editorial

Handler's Charged in Greyhound's Death

Daytona Beach-Two greyhound handlers were arrested last week after a racing dog in their care died of dogfight wounds left untreated for several days, according to police reports.

An advocate for greyhound adoptions deplored the incident as typical of a largely unregulated business. But a greyhound racing spokesman said most trainers treat their animals' health as "priority number one."

Volusia County sheriff's deputies arrested dog trainer David Gibby, 825 Catherine St., Holly Hill, Feb. 8 on a charge of felony animal cruelty. Kennel assistant Mary Ann DeGregorio was also arrested on animal abandonment, a misdemeanor.

Both posted bond the same day, the county jail reported. Both were employed by Cahill O'Connor Kennels at the greyhound kennel compound on the Bellevue Avenue extension. Daytona Beach Kennel Club manager Harry Oleson said Wednesday he had voided Gibby's license to work there.

The two arrests stemmed from a confrontation between Gibby and a veterinarian's assistant Jan. 25, the day he retrieved "He's My Denny," a two-year-old male with gangrenous wounds from Colonial Animal Hospital, 1951 S. Ridgewood Avenue, South Daytona. The animal died Jan. 28 at another clinic in Daytona Beach, according to Halifax Humane Society cruelty investigator Barbara Bellows.

Veterinarian assistant Jennifer Freiberg, who reported the incident to Ms. Bellows, said she confronted Gibby as he turned to leave with the dog already loaded into his truck.

Ms. Freiberg said the dog was bandaged, removed from intravenous antibiotics and fluids and carried from the clinic at Gibby's insistence.

Gibby said nothing until Ms. Freiberg asked what he planned to do for the dog, she said "When he said he wasn't going to do anything I just turned around and spit in his face," she said Wednesday. Gibby then backhanded Ms. Freiberg across the face, she said.

Afterward, she filed two complaints, one for [illegible] with South Daytona police and another of animal cruelty with Daytona Beach police.

Ms. Freiberg described the dog's condition as terrible. It was just awful. It's terrible to see a dog in that condition.

Dr. William Rippey Jr., who treated Denny, wrote the Daytona Beach Kennel Club on Jan. 26.

"I am aware that conditions are different in the track environment, but this case is very disturbing to me and my staff," the veterinarian wrote. "It shows not only bad judgment and ignorance on the part of the trainers, but borders on neglect and abuse."

According to Ms. Bellows' report, Denny was attacked in a dogfight Jan. 23 at the Cahill kennel. The dog's handlers, Ms. DeGregorio and Gibby, bandaged the dog and gave it an antibiotic.

Late on Jan. 24, Sandy Snyman, director of the Greyhound Pets of America, noticed the dog alone and whimpering in a kennel next to those kept by her group.

Ms. Snyman decided to take the dog to a veterinarian herself if it survived the night, Ms. Bellows said. Jan 25, Ms. Snyman took Denny to Colonial Animal Clinic with the assistant kennel manager's approval.

The dog had deep gashes and puncture wounds, Ms. Freiberg said. She said the tissue within one wound, a 3-inch-deep gash on the dog's chest had died and the muscle underneath had blackened from lack of blood.

The veterinarian believed that the dog's wounds had festered, untreated for several days.

"David Gibby stated to me he was mad that Sandy had taken Denny to the veterinarian," Ms Bellow's report states. "When he found out….he went right down there and got Denny."

Gibby told the humane society investigator that another veterinarian examined the dog that night. On Jan. 28, Gibby took the dog to Driftwood Animal Hospital, Daytona Beach, he told Ms. Bellows. The dog died there Jan. 28.

The dog's neglect and eventual death underscores the lack of oversight in Florida's dog racing business, an advocate for animal protection said Wednesday.

"The problem we see is not just an individual dog injured and not being cared for," said David Wolf, director of National Greyhound Adoption Program of Philadelphia. "It's happening in a state with regulatory authority that chooses not to regulate."

But Gary Guccione, executive director of the National Greyhound Association, said the "isolated incident" was not typical behavior for most greyhound trainers.

The Kansas City-based association is a professional sanctioning organization for greyhound racers.

June 10, 1996
Media Release from National Greyhound Adoption Program:

We would hope that the greyhound community across the United States will support our actions of pressuring the state of Florida to get the maximum penalty for this abuse case. This can be done by putting pressure on all of the individuals who are involved in this case, from Governor Lawton Chiles, to the prosecutor that is prosecuting this case.

We are listing the people who we think will be appropriate to contact. If you have national press contacts we would suggest that you send this information to them as well and hopefully as quickly as possible, through fax (if available) or overnight mail. Doing this will apply the pressure more quickly.

We ask for your cooperation to help make an example of this terrible abuse case.

Greyhounds are greyt as pets,

David G. Wolf

June 13, 1996
Faxed Letter from Jamie Cotel Altman, ASPCA to David Wolf:

Dear Mr. Wolf:

Jacque Schultz, Director of Companion Animal Services for the ASPCA, recently alerted me to the unfortunate case involving "He's My Denny". We have attempted to reach you by telephone for the past few days in order to speak to you about the case and obtain whatever information you may be able to provide. In an effort to support your organization to pressure the state of Florida to impose maximum penalty on the defendant for the abuse involving "He's My Denny", we would appreciate it if you could provide us with the following information pertaining to the case:

  • (a) The names of the District Attorney and Judge;
  • (b) Trail Date;
  • (c) Particulars of all charges against the defendants;
  • (d) Status of the case;
  • (e) The particular statutes cited; and
  • (f) Confirmation as to whether or not the defendants are going to plead for a lesser offense.

Of course, any other information you may be able to provide would be helpful. Please be assured that the ASPCA and the Legal Department in particular is committed to doing whatever possible to ensure that the perpetrators in this case are punished to the fullest extent permitted under Florida law.

We look forward to hearing from you by return facsimile or telephone call.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Cotel Altman

June 13, 1996
Media Release from National Greyhound Adoption Program:

On Monday June, 17, 1996, in a Daytona courtroom, the most significant greyhound abuse case in several years will be scheduled fro trial. It should take place June 19, 20, or 21, 1996. The case involves neglect of a greyhound, who after a dogfight was neglected to the extent that his wounds became gangrenous and ultimately he died of gangrene poisoning. The greyhound advocacy community across the United States is closely monitoring the case to see if Florida will once and for all take a firm stand to eradicate greyhound abuse.

This case is also significant because this is the first time a new statute, which was just signed in by Governor Lawton Chiles will come into play. The Parimutel Division now has linked to its regulations to Florida State Law, Section 828-12, part of Senate Bill 337, 1996, which now puts greater responsibility on the Parimutuel Division to clean up Florida's act.

We hope you would be interested in this cause. The picture's of "He's My Denny" when he was finally taken to the vet for care are appalling. They are available if needed. Also with this release are several transcripts of initial events regarding this case. A demonstration by greyhound advocates will take place in front of the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

At the time this release is being written, large numbers of Florida's racing greyhounds are at risk of death. We are flying greyhounds from Florida to out Philadelphia headquarters on an almost daily basis. Still too many will die across the state.

If you have any questions, you can contact this office during regular business hours.

Greyhounds are greyt as pets!

David G. Wolf, Director

June 17, 1996
Fax from Sandi Babcock to David Wolf:

Re: Greyhound Racing Abuse - Daytona Beach Kennel Club

Dear Mr. Wolf:

I am in receipt and review of your 6/10/96 correspondence with attachments. I must commend you for your determination to eliminate the abusive trainers within the compounds of the greyhound racing industry. If you ever attain a limited success in this endeavor, you should be proud.

It has been my observation, as well as first hand experience, that if you are unable to equate abusive tactics as being detrimental to revenues, your concerns fall on deaf ears. Robin McKee and I were directly involved with the abuse allegations surrounding the Coeur D'Alene Greyhound Park, Post Falls, ID. Needless to say, the evidence secured on Gary Burman (who was accused of electrocuting greyhounds in his kennel despite euthanasia provided free to all trainers) and forwarded to those in authority produced nothing by way of fines, penalties or expulsion from the racing industry of this individual. Evidence included documentation of a mutilated greyhound obtained from the dump by the private investigator I hired, brought there by Mr. Burman and traced to his kennel via ear numbers. In addition, an Idaho investigator procured a signed statement by an eye witness of Mr. Burman's electrocution practices and passed a lie detector test, to no avail. Indeed, the course of events in this battle with the NGA and Idaho Racing Commission was nothing short of a bitter experience. It appears those in authority, although they claim any proven abuse is cause for swift retribution, are, in reality, concerned more for the revenues than that which produces the revenues. It is a hard, cold fact that took me over a year to discover.

It is my sincere hope you are able to accomplish that which we failed to do here. To that end, I have penned a letter in hopes it may add credence to your objective. Good luck and God Bless.


Sandi Babcock

June 17, 1996
Letter from Sandi Babcock to The Honorable Bud Asher, State Attorney Steve Alexander, The Honorable Lawton Chiles, The Honorable Locke Burt & The Honorable Evelyn Lynn:

Dear Florida State Representatives:

It has recently been brought to my attention that the State of Florida is investigating abuse allegations within the greyhound racing industry, particularly one involving Daytona Beach Kennel Club in January, 1996.

As an individual who was involved with the exposure of greyhound abuse at the Coeur D'Alene Greyhound Park, Post Falls, Idaho, I can assure you ignoring abusive allegations by use of a variety of "no blame" cover-ups will ultimately cause the demise of greyhound racing.

Most people are aware that greyhounds love to run. It is one of their most beautiful and admirable qualities. Humans, being what we are, introduced money into this sport, yet we failed to add responsibility. One without the other cannot survive. It is practical business sense and when public opinion is of the utmost importance to the survival of a business, the concept of insisting on humane and proper treatment with enforcement of the same must be mandatory.

State laws, as well as industry protocol, must be established, strictly enforced and made known to all if greyhound racing is to survive. The ultimate death and destruction of these creatures is a black mark on this industry, but add callous abuse and unwavering cavalier attitude toward injured greyhounds and you have an atrocity.

There is a saying where bears to be repeated, "On Judgment Day, God will allow only one animal to speak, that animal will be the greyhound." Please speak for those who have no voice; enforce the abuse statutes in the State of Florida and set precedence for all states to follow.

Thank you for your attention and concern in this matter.


Sandi Babcock

June 17, 1996
Media Release from National Greyhound Adoption Program:

On Wednesday, June 19, case #96-30-581, State of Florida vs. David Gibbey, violation of Florida State Law 828.12. This case will be heard before Judge Foxman, Courtroom 3 at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Prior to the beginning of the case, information can be taken from David Wolf, director of National Greyhound Adoption Program, who will fly in from NGAP headquarters to attend. To the greyhound community and hopefully the public at large, this is an important abuse case.

Information will be available regarding alternative measures Mr. Gibbey could have taken, but chose not to. Graphic photographs of "Denny" before he dies will be available if needed. For additional information, contact this office during normal business hours, or contact Mr. Wolf at (xxx) xxx-xxxx after 6:00 p.m. on June 18, 1996.

June 19, 1996
Partial article from the Orlando Sentinel, Author Pat LaMee:

Charges say the dog was left in a cage to die from fight wounds and gangrene.

Daytona Beach - To dog racing enthusiasts and his owners, the greyhound became known as "He's My Denny."

Now that he's dead - the victim of what prosecutors call animal cruelty - the 2-year-old dog has become a rallying point for a national organization concerned with the welfare of the graceful racing hounds.

Today in a Daytona Beach courtroom, dog trainer David Johnathan Gibby, 26, of Holly Hill goes on trial charged with neglecting the dog's wounds and letting it doe in January.

David G. Wolf, director of National Greyhound Adoption Program in Philadelphia, arrived in Volusia County on Tuesday to attend the two-day trial before Circuit Judge S. James Foxman.

The last known greyhound abuse case occurred in Fort Lauderdale, where a man buried a litter of newborn puppies and the mother dug them up, Wolf said.

"What happened to Denny was far worse," Wolf said. "He was left to die alone, and his body started to rot away from gangrene.

Gibby was charged Feb. 2 by Volusia County deputy sheriffs, who accused him of letting the dog suffer a cruel death by neglect.

The charge stemmed from Gibby's removing Denny from Colonial Animal Clinic on Jan. 25, where he was receiving intravenous medical care after a dog fight.

Today's trial is significant because it underlines the importance of a law recently signed by Gov. Lawton Chiles, Wolf said. The law links pari-mutuel regulations to state statutes governing cruelty to animals and makes violations a third-degree felony.

The law puts greater responsibility on the Parimutuel Division to clean up Florida's act, Wolf said.

Court records show jurors may be presented these facts:

Denny was taken to the clinic at 9 a.m. that day by Sandy Snyman of the Greyhound Pets of America. She had heard the suffering dog whimpering in a locked kennel next to those kept by her group.

Snyman saw Denny had massive injuries that were later determined by animal-control officers to have been caused by a dog fight. There are no details on the fight itself.

Veterinarian William R. Rippey Jr. examined Denny and found that the dog was in great pain, unable to walk and was dehydrated from severe infection.

"The wounds consisted of decaying…areas of the right upper foreleg and a large deep wound of the chest," he wrote in a letter to the Daytona Beach Kennel Club. "There were multiple puncture wounds and abrasions to the neck, swelling and gas under the skin…"

The dog should have had veterinary care days earlier or should have been humanely destroyed, Rippey said in his letter.

Court records show that Gibby went to Rippey's clinic about 11 a.m. that day, demanding the dog be released to him. He told clinic attendant Jennifer Freiberg that he wouldn't take the dog to another clinic.

An incensed Freiberg said in a statement that she spit in Gibby's face when he responded, "No, I am not going to do anything for this dog."

He backhanded her across the face, she told police as she filed an animal negligence complaint that led to the charges and today's trial.

On Jan. 28, Denny died at another clinic.

As the jury trial begins at 9 a.m. today in courtroom 3 at the Justice Center in Daytona Beach, Wolf's greyhound adoption group will continue its work outside the courtroom, too.

The organization is flying greyhounds from Florida to the Philadelphia headquarters for placement on an almost daily basis, he said.

Inside the courtroom, Denny's medical records and photographs of his wounds will be used at the trial, Assistant State Attorney Brian Feigenbaum said.

Neither the accused nor his attorney could be reached for comment on the defense's case.

June 19, 1996
Article from the Daytona News Journal:

Trial to Begin in Death of Greyhound

Daytona Beach-A holly Hill man goes on trial this morning on charges he contributed to a racing greyhound's death by not getting proper medical care for the dog.

Dog trainer David J. Gibby, 26, is charged with felony animal abuse after removing the dog from the Colonial Animal Hospital in South Daytona on Jan. 25.

Two days later, the dog, He's My Denny, died at another clinic of sever infections in the deep gashes on its body. The dog had gotten into a fight with other greyhounds and was left untreated for several days, according to court records.

After Gibby loaded the dog onto his truck, a hospital employee spit in his face. Gibby responded by slapping the woman, Jennifer Freiberg, according to arrest records.

Animal rights activists from around the country are pointing to this case as an example of racing greyhound abuse. Groups from Philadelphia and South Florida have been lobbying media, prosecutors and the judiciary.

"The greyhound advocacy community is closely monitoring this case to see if Florida will once and for all take a firm stand to eradicate greyhound abuse," said David G. Wolf, director of the National Greyhound Adoption Program in Philadelphia.

The case may have serious legal flaws, however. The law is ambiguous over whether Gibby had a legal obligation to keep the animal at the Colonial Animal Hospital, according to some lawyers. Also, since Gibby took the dog to a second clinic, he may have mitigated the cruelty allegation.

Still, photos and testimony of Denny's brutal condition are expected to be compelling. Gibby's defense attorney filed a motion asking Circuit Judge S. James Foxman to keep the photos from the jurors, claiming they could prejudice the jury against his client.

Foxman will hear that motion and others at 9 this morning, with opening arguments expected to begin later in the day.

June 20, 1996
Article from The Orlando Sentinel:

Defense Opens Today in Trial of Dog's Trainer

Daytona Beach-Outside the Justice Center in Daytona Beach, demonstrators carried placards that read: "Give Denny Justice" and "Stop Greyhound Abuse Starting Today."

Inside, prosecutors presented their case in hopes of convincing a jury that David Johnathan Gibby, 26, is guilty of animal cruelty in the Jan. 28 death of racing greyhound :He's My Denny."

Today, Gibby is to present his defense.

The Holly Hill man is accused in the death of the 2-year-old racing greyhound. Denny died three days after being removed Jan. 25 from the Colonial Animal Clinic, where he was treated for sever wounds from a dog fight.

Volusia Circuit Judge S. James Foxman, who is presiding in the case, asked protesters to put away their posters. Foxman feared the six jurors and an alternate would see the signs and be influenced as they came to the courthouse and left.

The animal advocates discontinued their march at Foxman's request.

Inside the courtroom, witnesses provided this account:

Gibby, who trained Denny, took the dog away from Colonial Medical Clinic in Daytona Beach on Jan. 25. At the time, the dog was undergoing medical procedures for being severely wounded by seven dogs at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club compound.

After the dog was taken from veterinarian William R. Rippey Jr. at Colonial, treatment wasn't resumed at Driftwood Animal Clinic until 24 hours later.

The dog died of gangrene poisoning, officials said.

Before jurors were seated, Foxman heard from Gibby's defense attorney, David Kerce, who opposed showing photos of Denny's wounds.

Some showed bloating and others showed graphic wounds.

Foxman limited the number of photographs to five.

Prosecutor Jim Evans said Denny was injured by other dogs on Jan. 22 and left alone in a dirty kennel for the next two days.

A witness who heard the dog whimpering was responsible for him first getting to Colonial Animal Clinic for treatment, court records show.

An abuse complaint was investigated by Barbara Bellows, animal cruelty investigator for the Halifax Humane Society.

Bellows testified that Gibby told her, "I probably should have taken him to a vet right away."

In his opening statements. Kerce told jurors dog fights were common and said Gibby began treatment for the dog's wounds when he learned of the injuries.

Gibby bandaged the dog's wounds, gave him antibiotics and provided special foods with high protein content - everything that was reasonable, Kerce told jurors.

At the most, the dog trainer is guilty of bad judgment, Kerce said.

Two veterinarians - Rippey, who first treated Denny. and Scott Hancock of Driftwood Animal Clinic - said Denny had a better chance to live if Gibby hadn't removed the greyhound from Rippey's care.

The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. today in courtroom 4 at the Justice Center in Daytona Beach.

June 21, 1996
Article from the Orlando Sentinel by Pat LaMee:

A jury took 36 minutes to decide a Holly Hill man was guilt of cruelty in a greyhound's death.

Daytona Beach - A spontaneous round of applause from animal lovers followed the reading of a guilty verdict Thursday in the animal cruelty trial of a Volusia County dog trainer.

Jurors had listened intently to a day and a half of testimony in the trial of David Johnathan Gibby, 26, who was arrested in February after a greyhound in his care died Jan. 28 of gangrene poisoning.

It took jurors 36 minutes to decide the Holly Hill man was guilty of causing the pain, suffering and death of a 2-year-old racing greyhound known as He's My Denny.

Gibby took Denny from an animal clinic where the greyhound was being treated for wounds suffered when seven dogs attacked him at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club, prosecutors said.

Before the verdict, defense attorney David Krece argued for the courtroom when Krece made his request, which Circuit Judge S. James Foxman denied.

Krece questioned whether the dog had suffered, noting that the animal was given painkillers and antibiotics by Gibby.

The lawyer also argued that Denny, in legal terms, was a piece of property.

"This is a dog - a chattel. By law a dog is no different from a car," Krece said.

After the verdict, members of the jury said Gibby lacked concern and compassion.

David Wolf, director of the National Greyhound Adoption Program in Philadelphia, was pleased with the verdict.

"Florida had a horrible case of greyhound abuse, but fortunately the jurors were able to see how Denny suffered and did not believe the defense smoke screen," said Wolf, who attended the trial.

"The verdict is a first step for greyhounds and a good step for Florida," he said. "It will hopefully send a strong message to the racing industry that abuse will no longer be tolerated and that care of its racing athletes should be their prime concern if racing is to continue in Florida."

In his final statements, Krece told jurors that Gibby didn't intentionally let Denny die a cruel death.

"He gave the dog food, water and a painkiller and used a good antibiotic, but it was not effective against gangrene," Krece said.

Earlier Thursday on the witness stand, Gibby told how he learned of a dog fight involving Denny late on Jan. 22. He described cleaning the dog's wounds with an antiseptic, bandaging the injuries and giving Denny a painkiller.

He admitted telling Barbara Bellows, an animal cruelty investigator, that he "probably should have taken Denny to the vet right away."

When the dog's owner, Tim Cahill, arrived at the kennel, Gibby said Denny "was not that bad."

But Cahill testified that he vomited when he saw and smelled Denny's gangrenous wounds.

Prosecutor Jim Evans in closing arguments told jurors Gibby tried to care for Denny because he didn't want Cahill to learn about the dog fight.

Gibby's assistant, Mary Ann DeGregario, had let Cahill's racers loose on Jan. 21 and those dogs attacked Denny, Evans said.

Denny didn't get proper treatment until Jan. 25 when Sandy Snyman, director of Greyhound Pets of America, heard the gog whimpering in a kennel. She took Denny to Colonial Animal Clinic, but Gibby took him from there.

Colonial vet William Rippey and Scott Hancock of Driftwood Animal Clinic testified that Denny would have had "a better chance to live with continue treatment with Rippey."

The dog had multiple puncture wounds and abrasions to the neck, swelling and gas under his skin, and the knuckles of his feet and lower limbs were bruised, Rippey said.

Foxman will schedule a sentencing hearing after a check of Gibby's background.

If Gibby has no criminal record he may be put on probation, sentenced to serve time in the Volusia County Branch jail or sentenced to jail time followed by probation, Assistant State Attorney Ken Zolezzi said.

June 21, 1996
Article from the St. Petersburg Times:

Trainer Guilt in Slow Death of Greyhound

The case of a dog named Denny has drawn attention to the racing industry, which has more tracks in Florida than in any other state.

Daytona Beach - Late one night, a dogfight broke out in the racetrack kennel.

Seven greyhounds jumped on one. The dog named "He's My Denny" was left bloody.

As days passed, the race dog grew sicker. A gash in his chest turned gangrenous. His throat swelled. He wailed.

Six days later, he died.

Denny's gruesome story ended Thursday in a Daytona courtroom, the dog's trainer convicted of felony animal cruelty and facing up to five years in prison.

The case pitted David Gibby, the trainer, against a veterinarian who said he tried to treat Denny's wounds, but Gibby would not allow it.

The 26-year-old trainer's trial drew attention beyond the neon signs of the Daytona Beach Kennel Club. It stirred an ongoing national debate over the greyhound racing business - an industry that has more tracks in Florida, by far, than in any other state.

Officials from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent letters denouncing Gibby. Animal rights advocates marched outside the Daytona Justice Center with signs that read "Stop Abuse Starting Today!" and "Don't Let Denny Die In Vain!" until a judge asked them to stop. And during the two-day trial, the head of the National Greyhound Adoption Program repeatedly passed notes to Gibby's prosecutors offering his suggestions.

"Gibby is the tip of the iceberg," said David G. Wolf, director of the non-profit, Philadelphia-based adoption program. "In this industry, so much of the abuse is out of sight and out of mind. It needs to be stopped."


Denny stank by the time Sandy Snyman discovered him.

The two-year-old male, speckled in brown and black, lay in a kennel. The dogfight had occurred two days earlier, on Jan. 22, and Denny's infection was growing.

"I could smell rotting flesh," said Snyman, who adopts out Daytona's former racing greyhounds from a kennel near the current racers. Blood flowed from Denny's nose and mouth, Snyman testified. The dog's head was so swollen that Snyman said she barely recognized Denny as a greyhound. The next morning, Snyman took the dog to a veterinarian, who cleaned the wounds and put Denny on intravenous antibiotics and a morphinelike sedative.

"Basically," Dr. William Rippey Jr. told the jury, "he was howling in pain."

Later that morning, when Gibby learned that Denny had been taken to a veterinarian without permission, he was furious. He went to the clinic and demanded his dog.

Gibby testified that he had been properly treating the sick dog on his own. Gibby said he bandaged Denny and gave him medication, special food and a Gatoradelike liquid.

He removed the dog from the vet, he said, because he was not familiar with Rippey or his work.

A day later, Gibby took the dog to a different veterinarian after Gibby's boss - the dog's owner - drove to Daytona an got a look at Denny. The smell of the dog's wounds made owner Tim Cahill, a 35-year veteran of the racing industry, throw up.

The second veterinarian was too late. Denny died in his clinic.

Gibby's defense attorney argued that his client was, at worst, guilty of bad judgment, but the six-member jury sided with prosecutors, who said Gibby broke the law when he removed Denny from the first veterinarian.

Animal advocates don't agree on the statistics, but they say thousands of greyhounds are intentionally killed every year - merely because they no longer run fast enough to win at the track. Most, says Wolf, are 2 or 3 years old.

About 100 groups , like Wolf's, have popped up around the country in the past ight years, spurred by reports of mistreatment and the deaths of race dogs that no longer bring in money.

Last year, Wolf's organization arranged 700 adoptions of former racing greyhounds to families who wanted them as pets, he said. Applicants for pets are required to supply personal and veterinary references and pay a $260 fee.

The hoopla surrounding Gibby's case stings Daytona Beach Kennel Club president and general manager Harry Olsen, who watches this night's activities on security cameras in his upstairs office.

The popularity of dog racing has fallen in recent years and bad publicity doesn't help. There are 53 tracks in the 18 states that allow racing. Florida has 17 of those including three in the Tampa Bay area.

Olsen, whose track has its own adoptionprogram for a $125 fee, says greyhounds are treated well. His contracts with up to 19 kennel operators include provisions that they not humanely destroy dogs that no longer win.

"I can't say that it doesn't happen," he said. "I do not approve of it. But I'm not naďve either."

Olsen says the animal activists' methods worry him. He compares their tactics to people involved in the abortion debate. He wonders if the argument will grow violent.

But Olsen does not defend Gibby.

"This is the very first case of a problem I've been aware of at the facility," Olsen said. "We had a trainer show very, very poor judgment. He'll never work here again."

Gibby is working at a Volusia County appliance store until his sentencing.

Date Unknown
Article from Unknown Source

Trainer Convicted of Cruelty to Greyhound

Daytona Beach - A jury took less than an hour Thursday to find a 26-year-old dog trainer guilty of cruelty to animals for failing to get adequate medical treatment for a greyhound named "He's My Denny."

The jury in Circuit Judge James Foxman's courtroom found David Johnathan Gibby of Daytona Beach guilty after a two-day trial which attracted protests of greyhound advocates outside the Justice Center.

Since Gibby doesn't have a past criminal background, he will face a possible sentence of up to a year in jail, five years of probation or a fine of up to $5,000, said Ken Zolezzi, felony division chief for the State Attorney's Office.

Gibby most likely will be sentenced in within four to six weeks. Since Gibby is not considered at risk of fleeing, Foxman ruled he could remain out on bond until sentencing, Zolezzi said.

Gibby was employed by Cahill O'Connor Kennels at the greyhound kennel compound on the Bellevue Avenue extension. Daytona Beach Kennel Club manager Harry Oleson voided Gibby's license to work there shortly after his Feb. 2 arrest on the animal cruelty charge, which the National Greyhound Adoption Program called "the most significant greyhound abuse case in several years."

The organization, which is based in Philadelphia, sent letters to State Attorney Steve Alexander saying the "neglect and abuse of one of Florida's greyhound athletes" by Gibby deserved "the maximum sentence for inflicting massive pain and suffering on an animal he should have cared for and cherished."

Gibby was never accused of actually harming the dog himself but of taking it out of a veterinarian's clinic before it had recovered from gangrenous infections suffered in a dog fight. Gibby brought the dog back to another veterinarian's clinic three days later, but it died from its injuries.

June 25, 1996
Media Release from the National Greyhound Adoption Program:


David Johnathan Gibby was found guilty of a felony charge on June 20, 1996 at the Daytona Florida Justice Center. He was charged with animal abuse under Florida statute 828.12. The jury deliberated for less than one hour to deliver the conviction. Mr. Gibby, feeling confident he would win, had a possible lesser charge eliminated thereby chancing an all or nothing scenario. The greyhound community across the country was a contributing factor in this victory. Pressure was brought to bear from across the nation to Florida authorities to take this case seriously. Letters of complete support of our position were sent from the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA in New York. In Daytona, local volunteers demonstrated in front of the court house just long enough to have the impact we needed. We were covered by TV channel 2, 6, and 9, all doing feature stories with interviews and air portions three times - 6 p.m., 11 p.m., and 6 a.m. Three newspapers did full courtroom coverage and stories for three days. In the courtroom, we actually sent notes to the State's attorney for most of the prosecution's case to remind them of the important elements they had missed. We phoned the lead attorney after the first day session in the evening and voiced our concerns about the way the trial was going. We made our presence known to the point that the Judge spoke with me at the end of the first day about demonstrating, and it's potential to prejudice jurors to choose a mistrial. We did not demonstrate again. We didn't have to. The Judge finally stopped our notes. My feeling was that the state could have done a better job examining the witnesses and the defense tried to confuse jurors. In the closing arguments the state was clearly the winner and ultimately convinced the jury. It was a big day for greyhounds and greyhound advocates.

June 28, 1996
Letter from the ASPCA to Judge S. James Foxman:

Dear Judge Foxman:

On behalf of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), we urge you to punish defendants Gibby and DeGregoria to the fullest extent permissible under the Florida State animal cruelty law.

The defendants have willfully, unlawfully and negligently deprived Denny of proper medical care and treatment, thereby causing unnecessary and unjustifiable severe pain and suffering on the part of Denny and ultimately led to his death. Denny's life expectancy would have been up to ten more years.

As the court stated in C.E. America, Inc. v. Antinori, 210 So. 2d 443 (Fla. 1968):

"Animals were possessed of no inherent right to protection from cruelty or abuse at the hand of man. However, in a more civilized society, it is now generally recognized that legislation which has for its purpose the protection of animals from harassment and ill-treatment is a valid exercise of the police power."

The above-referenced case correctly points out animals are defenseless living creatures who cannot defend themselves from violence and abuse. Thus, it is the responsibility of the judicial system to ensure that animal abusers are required to answer for their crimes.

It is the mission of the ASPCA to prevent pain and suffering of all animals. It is critical that a message needs to be sent to all potential animal cruelty offenders that any act of abuse, neglect and cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

July 8, 1996
Media package for "He's My Denny":

This presentation is the documentation of the National Greyhound Adoption Program's participation in the aftermath of the death of a racing greyhound "He's My Denny," and the prosecution of David Jonathan Gibby. We spoke with Jennifer Freiberg, a vet tech from the clinic that had treated Denny. She sent us pictures of Denny when he arrived at the clinic. In the meantime, we notified Florida's Parimutuel Division of the events as we knew them. We made several calls to the Parimutuel Division as the case developed. We have been involved in legislation at various times in Florida. The Denny situation, I believed, could be used as a catalyst to seek legislation to help Florida's greyhounds. A mailing was sent to every Florida legislator with a wanted poster with their picture. Although we cannot say the mailings were a success, we were able to find a lobbyist - Pam Burch Fort of the Commerce Group, to help our cause. I had worked with Pam in 1991 when she was the head of the Senate Commerce Committee office. We were able to get help from Representative Steven Geller, Senator W.D. Childers, and the Governor's legislative director, Debbie Bergstrom. With this small group, one addition was made to the 1996 Parimutuel Legislation. This was a small but significant step to help greyhounds. As it happens, it has direct bearing to the case against David Gibby. As the case came close to trial, we offered ourselves as an expert witness to the prosecution and spoke with them of our concerns with the case.

Ultimately, we did a mailing to approximately 100 adoption programs across the country to pressure the state of Florida to take this case seriously. I attended the trial and coordinated a demonstration and did both television and newspaper interviews. We passed notes on the first day of the trial expressing our concerns on how the trial was proceeding. We also called him that evening and went over areas we believed had to be emphasized in the closing arguments. His opening remarks came directly from a note passed to him before his summation. The jury was out 38 minutes. The verdict - guilty as charged. David Jonathan Gibby will be sentenced shortly. Letters are being sent to the Judge informing him of the importance of this case.

Copies of most of the documentations from our mailings and media releases are a part of this presentation.

A plaque will be placed at our headquarters for "He's My Denny." We did it to give him justice. He died a horrible death over six days. We will make sure his memory lives on. This case will hopefully send a word of warning to the greyhound racing industry abusers across the nation. It should also show every greyhound program across the country what we can achieve with hard work and determination.

I flew to Florida because Florida has no other true advocates. It's a shame. Permitting greyhound abuse to go unchecked and unreported won't help America's greyhounds. Abuse goes on every day. Document it and expose it if you truly want to clean it up. It was done in Couer d'Alene and now in Florida.


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