Monday, March 1, 2010

LIonhearted Mastiffs--English Mastiff Breeder Missing

Gloria with JC--Lionhearted Man in Black --winning Winner's dog and Best of Winners at the Mastiff supported entry in Trenton. NJ in 2008.

Ch. Lionhearted Maximum Power CGC

For those of us who love and cherish our dogs, nothing can stir the emotions to a boil any quicker than an animal Abuser. Animal cruelty is simply not acceptable--whether you are Micheal Vicks, a puppy mill, or a well known breeder.

I and many other English Mastiff breeders/owners/fanciers network extensively through Internet sites and our on going personal relationships. Many of us have had life long friendships sealed by our love of dogs. Kindred spirits seek the companionship of like minds. Yet, sometimes what we think we know about an individual is far from the truth. Sometimes what we are told can lead us to believe a lie.

I have know of Gloria Davis of Lionhearted Mastiffs for over 25 years. Gloria will proudly point out how she has over the years bred some outstanding dogs--many of which are in prominent pedigrees. Until recently, We have never been close friends but have always shared a common love for certain Mastiff lines. We both can recall seeing many of the great dogs from the 1980's and 1990's that help establish the pedigrees of so many of our outstanding dogs today.

Although I have not always agreed with how she raised and kept her dogs--they were always happy, healthy, and appeared well fed. Over the years, frequent accusations have surfaced relating to how Gloria breeds and maintains her dogs--the term "puppy mill" has arose more than once. With no visible steady source of income (i. e. a job)--it appears the sale of puppies is at times her sole source of income. At times over the years, In years past, She also gradually collected several different breeds of dogs, and has even bred a few "designer" dogs for the pet market lending conformation to the "puppymill" label. This fact alone set her up for criticism by many in the Mastiff community.

Three years ago, I bred one of my lovely girls to Gloria's Max-- Ch. Lionhearted Maximum Power CGC --a beautiful wonderful dog who epitomizes what this breed is all about. My Gracie and Hope are his AKC Champion daughters. Max gave me a beautiful litter which simply made me love him even more.

After this time, I knew Gloria had some financial difficulties; I knew that she was looking for a partner to assist her in raising her dogs; and I also knew that she struggled to find a location where she could raise her dogs in the manner she wanted. We had many a discussion on our personal struggles--how the love of this breed and the breeding of these dogs was all consuming. It was a life work for both of us. She knew she had an open door and a ready ear in my home anytime she needed to discuss or talk to someone.

She discussed with me of her future plans to relocate with some friends to the New Mexico area and set up a boarding kennel. There she would finally have a home and a place that was proper and correct to breed and raise her Mastiffs in the manner of which she had dreamed.

It was during this breeding and my stay with Gloria that I got to see the woman I came to respect and call friend. We shared stories of our childhood ( we were both raised in the Florida panhandle) and we shared our beliefs on family, friends, love, and Mastiffs. I grew to know her as a kindred spirit--a woman who had been through hard times, a survivor, and a woman who truly loved her dogs with all her heart and soul. When she spoke about her dogs--she spoke from her heart.

She confided to me that her dogs were her anchor in life and her purpose here on earth. Her Mastiffs was what kept her going when things were bad--her dogs were her inspiration and her reason for living. She told me about her past struggles and difficulties; both personal and within the mastiff community--after hearing so many rumors for so many years, I finally got to hear her side of the story.

I went home with a very different viewpoint of Gloria and her dogs. I saw a kindred spirit in her. We were both had come from very similar back grounds--we were both strong independent women who could be short and blunt to a fault--which sometime made it hard for people to appreciate us. Neither of us were "flowery" with our words--we were both short and to the fact. We understood each other. Over the past few years, I developed a deep respect and friendship with her.

Gloria was so proud of Max when he won the Veterans Class at Bucks. She also showed his son, JC from the BBE class and won Winner's dog at the Trenton show. Two really big wins that gave her a sense of pride for her dogs and her breeding program. For her, It was a long over due affirmation that she was on the right road.

Thus over time, we began to talk frequently and corresponded about our dogs, our families and our lives. No matter where she moved--or how bad her life was--she always called me , wrote me, or e-mailed me and kept in touch. We had many a long phone call at nights talking about life and our dogs.

She called me in November of 2009--all excited about moving to SC--we laughed and joked about her being closer to me. We discussed and planned a breeding. It was a discussion full of hope and joy shared by two friends who loved their Mastiffs.

Gloria promised to get in touch with me as soon as she settled in her new location in SC--our breeding was planned for early March and she told me she would touch base with me by February. It was the last discussion I ever had with her.

Ch. Lionhearted Maximum Power CGC winning Best veterans at Bucks ( shown by Kelly)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 at 1000am, I received an e-mail from a friend of Gloria's In Australia with pictures attached showing a large fawn Mastiff dog lying dead on the frozen ground in a so-called dog pen. It took me several seconds to register that this was Max--beautiful wonderful, sweet loving Max. My mind could not process this information--my gut instantly knew something was very wrong. My immediate thought--where is Gloria?

The pictures were dated 2/9/2010--they had been taken a week earlier by Kazia Burress Martz, Gloria's current room mate and business partner. I immediately began making calls and sending e-mails to both the Kazia (the property owner where both her and Gloria were living) and to Gloria asking what had happened and I did offer my help. I did not receive any response to my phone calls or e-mails which further alarmed me. In the past, Gloria has always answered my calls/emails with in a few hours.

By mid-day Tuesday, as a handful of friends and Mastiff owners began to contact each other-- a horrible story was slowly uncovered and revealed. None of us were able to believe what we were being told and shown. It simply did not match what we knew about Gloria, but more alarming was that none of us had been in contact with Gloria for some time.

Another individual who had received some of the same photos and knew the location of where Gloria and Kazia were living in SC and had contacted and reported the dead dogs to animal Control in Anderson, SC. Animal Control was on the premises by 1100am and attempted to inspect the kennels. The Entrance was locked and the property owner, Kazia Martz, refused AC access to the property. Ms. Martz was read her rights and arrested. A search and seizure warrant for the dogs was obtained and Animal Control entered the property. One additional adult Mastiff was also dead--making a total of 8 adults intially found dead on the property

As Animal control began to inspect the entire property, 2 puppies approximatly 2-3 weeks of age were also found inside a trash barrel partially burned.

At the time of the initial investigation by Animal control, Ms. Martz stated that all the dead adult dogs had starved and died. However, as noted in the AC report, at least 5 had been shot in the top of the head. While most of the dead dogs had been dead 3-4 weeks--one had been dead at least 4-6 weeks; none of the dead dogs were in extreme poor weight. The seven surviving adult dogs on the property were in extremely poor condition, but five 4-5 month old puppies were in relatively good shape.

Ms. Martz also had her own dogs on the property that were in slightly better condition, and she identified all of the dogs within the house as hers. The dogs seized on the property that Tuesday were all identified by Ms. Martz as belonging to Ms. Davis.

At first, I was angry; how could I be so wrong about someone? But as I began to ask questions, the answers just did not match up. When I asked about the dead dogs on the property--Kazia told me AC had picked them up--AC told us that the dogs were still on the property and Ms. Martz was responsible for removing them and had been instructed to do so

After two days of sitting home in shock and anger, confused by conflicting information; I drove to the property to see for myself. My purpose was to remove the dead dogs to be cremated, but I also went to see for myself what was true and what was fiction.

Within minutes of stepping into this death camp, I knew Gloria Davis was not responsible for what I saw. No breeder who had spent the greater portion of her life protecting , loving and cherishing her dogs would do what I was now seeing. Gloria would have never left Max dead on the ground; she would have never shot any of her dogs, and she would have never left JC--her future and the pride and joy for her Lionhearted line starving.

None of the dead dogs I picked up to be cremated that day had died from exposure or starvation--they had been shot. Most looked to be in good condition--One female weighed almost 230lbs. One female had been dead for a longer period of time and advance decomposition which did not allowed for a good evaluation of weight, but the remaining 6 were all in fair weight. One dead dog was taken by AC for a necropsy and as evidence.

When I asked Ms. Martz where was their owner, Gloria Davis--I received an elaborate rambling tale. Ms Matz stated Gloria has set up house with a new "love" --Susan-- who lived somewhere in the Clemson, SC area. She stated Gloria & Susan had returned to the property, removed and taken some pen panels, and then returned to the property sometime in the preceding 48 hours taking at least 2 adult dogs on two separate occasions. Previously in e-mails, Ms. Martz stated that both Gloria and "Susan" had taken 10 dogs from the property and were on their way to Florida.

The authorities to this day have not been able to establish the existence of any "Susan". It appears that no such person exists.

When one adds the number of surviving dogs, the deceased dogs, and the 4-5 dogs that Ms. Martz reports as having been removed--the total is greater than the number of dogs Ms. Davis Left from Tenn when she moved to SC in November 2009. If one also calculates in the alleged "10" other dogs--we have a total that is over twice what they both owned when they left Tennessee and moved to South Carolina.

Ms. Martz also stated that Gloria had returned on several occasions to pick up mail and personal belongings after these dogs died. However no one has seen Gloria on the property in at least a month. Gloria's SUV sits in the driveway and Ms. Martz admits to using this same SUV for the last few months. Gloria's personal property, dog papers, cell phone, and computer all remain there in the house on the Anderson property.

While I was on the property I was witness to questionable behaviors by Ms. Martz. At times she was threatening toward me and she expressed delusional idealization. I was witness to her picking up a dead cat, placing it inside her jacket, rocking and holding it like a baby. If asked any questions or for information, Her responses were jumbled and often unrelated to the question asked. I was not able to get any direct answers from her. She continued to parrot the same story over and over--like a well-rehearsed song.

Until the other volunteer arrived, I simply kept repeating I was there as a volunteer and all I want to do was get the dogs and take them to be cremated. It's a gross understatement to say I was uncomfortable with her actions and her behaviors.

The photos taken by Ms. Martz on 2/9/2010 show no permanent shelters-- all of these dogs only had a tarp or a few pieces of tin to shelter them from the wind, rain snow and cold. It appears the pens were never completed--no houses or permanent shelters have ever been erected. This type of kennels was also out of character for Ms. Davis.

These dogs have been living outside in below freezing weather for over a month in conditions that would have killed a healthy dog--much less one weakened by parasites, disease, and hunger. Inside of the pens one can see where the surviving dogs dug down into the dirt trying to stay warm. There were no feces in the pens--it appeared that the dogs ate their own waste in an effort to stay alive. Each of these pens were within 20-30 feet of the back door and each dog was easily visible as one entered and left the home.

All of These dogs lay on the cold, wet ground with no permanent shelter from the wind, rain and snow--these dogs were outside existing in these conditions during some of the coldest weather SC has experienced in several years.

Thankfully, Animal Control in Anderson, SC was contacted early Tuesday Morning.
Today, these dogs are warm, fed, and safe. They have received life saving medical care. No longer do they suffer alone. Their health is fragile at present and some may still not survive. The authorities stated that some of the living dogs were less that a day from death.

Animal Control did return to the property a few days later and confiscated all animals on the property, including all of Ms. Martz's dogs, 5 cats, and a parrot.

I would like to thank the authorities in Anderson for their prompt response after being notified. I also want to thank them for the love and care they have given each and every dog.

As some of us who knew Gloria were reeling from the bits and pieces of information of this story; we began to touch base and share information. Each of us noted that we had received no direct communication (no phone calls ) from Gloria for an extended period of time--most of us have not spoken directly to her since late November/ early December. Some of us had received responses to e-mails that simply were not written as Gloria would have responded. We all independently came to the same conclusion--we now doubt that those communications came from Gloria.

It has been proven that while Gloria was in Kentucky doing a breeding November 27-29th--Kazia was logging onto Gloria's e-mail account and send out e-mails while Gloria was in Kentucky and on the road. We now know Ms. Martz had access to Gloria's e-mail account.

Gloria always kept in touch with her parents in Florida. She had promised to visit them over the holidays, and she did not visit as she had planned. When her parents tried to reach her--Ms. Martz was the only person they ever reached. After some time of not being in contact with their daughter, they filed a missing persons report. They also received a Valentine Day's card from "Gloria" and they have identified the hand writing as not being Gloria's.

A bizarre story has slowly been revealed. A story shaped by half-truths, lies and mispreceptions. It seems that the only source of information on Gloria's disappearance is Ms. Martz.

It should, be noted that Ms. Martz states she had reported the Mastiffs as being abandoned and had contacted Mastiff Rescue and scheduled an appointment to have them evaluated on Thursday 2/18/2010. Why not call the local authorities?

Some of us question if involving Rescue was an effort by Ms. Martz to keep the authorities out--after all she had initially denied them access to the property and was less than cooperative. Why keep out the authorities if you have nothing to hide?

Why state the dogs had starved to death when they had been shot? Authorities did find a gun hidden on the properly when returned the second time to search. A gun identified by Ms. Martz as belonging to Ms. Davis.

Ms. Martz has claimed to have been out of the home and away while these dogs were being neglected. She has stated she was receiving Medical care during this time period. Ms. Martz can not provide any proof to substantiate her claim. All evidence points to her being present on the property while the dogs were being neglected.

Currently this case is still under investigation. Animal control has not filed any charges nor listed a responsible party for the abuse of these dogs. Gloria Davis is considered a missing person and has been entered into the National data bank for missing persons by the FBI.

The Location Of Gloria Davis is still unknown.

Warning Graphic images to follow:

Anyone who has any information related to this crime, please contact the authorties at Anderson County Animal control or Anderson Sheriffs Department.

If you have had any personal contact or have seen Gloria Davis since Januray 1st, 2010--please contact the authorities.

Post script--I would also like to state for the record--I, too, bought the original story as told by Ms. Martz and my intial post was much different. I have edited it and revised it to reflect current information that we now know to be correct.

Catie Arney Kiokee Mastiffs Hickory, NC