Chester Clinton (C.C.) Baird, Jr. grew up in Williford, Arkansas. Married to his wife, Patsy, for 40 years, the two have 5 daughters and 8 grandchildren. C.C. received a bachelor’s degree in math, but became a Class “B” dealer and completed his first sale in 1990. Prior to being charged with hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act and losing his Class “B” license, C.C. was also a minister of the Bettistown Church of Christ in Arkansas.
In 1997, Baird was convicted of violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and fined $5,000. The charges against him include: failing to maintain complete records showing the acquisition, disposition, and identification of animals from January 1992 through June 1994. Baird also is charged with acquiring “random source” dogs in violation of the AWA from January 1992 through May 1993.
In 2002, Last Chance for Animals began an investigation into C.C. Baird and his facility, Martin Creek Kennels, by sending an investigator, “Pete,” undercover.
Baird Faced Hundreds of Violations of the Animal Welfare Act
As a result of LCA’s undercover investigation, in March 2004, the USDA/APHIS filed a 108-page complaint against Baird, consisting of hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Some of the violations in the complaint include:
*“Severe mistreatment and neglect of a multitude of animals”
*“Falsification of health certificates of dogs and cats that the respondents sold to research facilities”
*“Multitudinous record keeping deficiencies and instances of non compliance with the barest standards of care, husbandry and housing for dogs and cats”
*“These respondents have continually treated hundreds of animals cruelly and inhumanely in myriad ways including failure to provide them with the most basic needs: sufficient and nutrient food, potable water, safe shelter, and adequate veterinary care.”
*CC Baird “has a history of previous violations of the Act and regulations…who was previously found to have violated same regulations. Mr. Baird has knowingly disobeyed the cease and desist letter issued by the Secretary in Mr. Baird’s previous case.”
In January, 2005, a settlement was reached in Baird’s civil case. The consent decision was finalized on January 28th and permanently revoked Baird’s USDA license and slapped him with a fine of $262,700, the largest fine ever imposed by the USDA/APHIS.
Baird Faced Criminal Charges
As part of his criminal case, on August 30, 2005, Baird pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to launder money in an operation involving the sale of dogs and cats to research laboratories.
Baird’s guilty plea stems from his role in mail fraud, in which he violated the Animal Welfare Act by transferring dogs and cats to research facilities with false acquisition records through his facility, Martin Creek Kennels. The charge against Baird is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of more than $5 million.
Baird’s wife, Patsy, a USDA-licensed Class “A” dealer (animal breeder) and owner of breeding facility Pat’s Pine Tree Farm, pleaded guilty to misprision of felony mail fraud. The Bairds consented to criminal forfeiture of $200,000 and approximately 700 acres of land — which includes their residence and former dog and cat kennels — in Sharp County, Arkansas, valued at $1.1 million. They also agreed to pay approximately $42,400 in partial reimbursement of investigative costs as directed by the USDA, which will reimburse animal rescue groups that took custody of animals seized from Baird’s property.
VICTORY FOR THE ANIMALS!
C.C. BAIRD CASE SETS IMPORTANT PRECEDENT!
C.C. Baird is the First “Class B” Dealer Convicted of Money
Laundering Due to his Class “B” Dealer Activities –
Future Animal Abusers Like Baird are Expected to Face
Prison Time for Their Offenses
In early 2002, an LCA undercover investigator infiltrated Baird’s Martin Creek Kennel in Williford, Arkansas and acquired over 70 hours of video surveillance detailing an overwhelming amount of animal cruelty, abuse, neglect and unsanitary conditions. The documentation gathered during the undercover investigation was handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which resulted in the largest multi-agency (federal, state and local) investigation of animal abuse in U.S. history. As a result, Martin Creek Kennel was raided at dawn break on August 27, 2003. During the raid, 125 dogs and 1 cat were removed from Baird’s premises.
As a result of the raid, C.C. Baird, the largest and most notorious USDA licensed Class “B” animal dealer, was officially charged with hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act on March 11, 2004. These charges included mistreatment of animals, inadequate veterinary care and improper housing. This civil case was settled out of court in January 2005 and consisted of the following:
*The USDA issued Class “B” licenses of C.C. Baird and daughter, Jeanette, were PERMANENTLY REVOKED
*The USDA issued Class “A” licenses of Baird’s wife, Patsy, and daughter Patricia, were PERMANENTLY REVOKED
*Baird and his wife were required to pay a civil penalty of $250,000
*C.C. Baird was personally assessed an additional civil penalty of $12,700
*The combined $262,700 penalties represent the largest civil penalty ever assessed and paid in an Animal Welfare Act case
*A five year probation including a penalty of $250,000 if any Baird is caught engaging in any activities under which their licenses were revoked
Separate from his civil case, Baird was also federally charged with conspiracy to launder money to which he pleaded guilty on August 30, 2005. Baird’s guilty plea stemmed from his monetary transactions in criminally derived property (dogs and cats) to research facilities. Patsy Baird pleaded guilty to misprision of felony mail fraud (misprision is neglect in preventing or reporting a crime).
The federal charges against Baird were NOT for animal abuse. An animal abuse charge in the State of Arkansas is only a misdemeanor; therefore the U.S. Attorney deliberately went after Baird on federal charges to attempt a felony conviction. Baird’s violations of the Animal Welfare Act were handled in his civil case.
The outcome of Baird’s federal charges are listed below:
Guilty plea on August 30, 2005:
*Criminal forfeiture of 700 acres of property, valued at approximately $1.1 million. The property includes the Baird residence, another house and their kennel facilities
*Criminal forfeiture of $200,000
*Partial reimbursement of $42,400 to animal rescue organizations involved in taking all the animals after they were relinquished from Baird’s Martin Creek Kennels
Federal sentencing on July 14th, 2006:
*3 years probation for C.C. Baird including 6 months home detention.
*2 years probation for Patsy Baird.
*$7,500 fine for C.C. and $2,500 for Patsy; $10,000 combined fines due in 30 days.
C.C. BAIRD’S CASE SETS IMPORTANT PRECEDENT!
C.C. Baird is the first Class “B” dealer to be convicted of money laundering due to his Class “B” dealer activities. Due to this, future animal abusers like Baird are expected to face prison time for their offenses.
During the sentencing for the federal charges, C.C. Baird asked Judge J. Leon Holmes of the U.S. District for Eastern Arkansas for leniency.
“He was basically kissing the floor of the court room. It was pitiful. I would have liked to see him do hard time, but it was much more important to set a precedent for future violators of the Animal Welfare Act,” said Chris DeRose, LCA President.
Judge Holmes admonished Baird for his crimes and then advised Baird that he was fully prepared to sentence him to prison, but reconsidered because of a motion filed by the government for a lesser sentence in response to Baird’s substantial assistance to the USDA and others in multiple ongoing investigations.
Baird consented to an on-camera interview initiated by LCA President Chris DeRose regarding the theft of companion animals for medical research. Baird’s interview provided incriminating evidence against the entire “B” dealer system and the USDA. Baird’s interview is part of the LCA documentary titled, “The Case Against ‘B’ Dealers.” The documentary includes Baird’s interview and interviews with other USDA licensed “B” dealers and documents the failure of the USDA/APHIS to enforce the Animal Welfare Act to protect America’s companion animals from ending up in research laboratories. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and English (R-PA), are sponsors of the Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 5229, S.451). Both “Dealing Dogs” and “The Case Against ‘B’ Dealers” are crucial pieces of documentation that will help get The Pet Safety and Protection Act (PSPA) passed. The PSPA will amend the Animal Welfare Act by making “B” dealers an illegal source of animals for research, effectively putting all the remaining Class “B” dealers out of business.
Lots of hard work spanning many years was put into Baird’s case by LCA. In addition to the sentences/penalties listed above, there are other positive outcomes in this case, such as:
*Baird operated as a Class “B” dealer for over 15 years, and now that he is out of business, thousands of animals will be spared from ending up in Baird’s horrendous facility
*The numerous dogs and cats confiscated from Baird’s property have all been adopted into loving homes
*The Baird’s are now convicted felons — several fundamental rights have been taken away from them, including voting and carrying firearms
*The Baird’s annual income has dropped dramatically from their “B” dealer activities of approx $500,000, to $60,000 working for a construction company in Texas
*HBO America Undercover aired “Dealing Dogs,” a documentary on LCA’s undercover investigation into C.C. Baird. As a result, millions of Americans became aware of the horrors of the pet theft trade and that companion animals are ending up in research facilities
*Most importantly, the Baird felony case has set precedent for future violators of the Animal Welfare Act
Click here to find out what you can do to get the Pet Safety and Protection Act passed and put an end to Class “B” dealers forever.