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Pet Life Insurance Ring Sent to Doghouse

sad kidnapped puppies, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/backpackphotography/300409107/San Antonio, TX – Investigators pulled the kitty litter out from under a major pet life insurance scamming ring earlier this week, sending 12 men to prison and over 50 lucky animals to nice, respectable homes across the state.

Operating out of the back of a wholesale grocery, the Hell’s Shepherds made the most use possible out of the animals. The typical process went something like this: the owners would take out pet insurance and then allow the Shepherds to steal the pets at random. The animals would be brought to the warehouse where the men ran an illegal animal fighting ring. The Shepherds charged a cover to come and gamble on the animals until they killed each other. The bodies were deposited back in the neighborhoods they were taken from and, because the deaths were clearly from animal fights, it was assumed to be the result of an unfortunate incident and nothing more. The money was collected from the life insurance, a sizable cut going to the Shepherds. By utilizing a wide enough area to avoid suspicion as well as the extreme secrecy common to groups involved in illegal activities, the men were able to avoid police attention for a long time.

Police finally infiltrated the group early last year and had a man on the inside collect information for seven months. Sergeant Marcus Gomez, a humble defender of the innocent and a dog-owner himself, insists that he is a hero.

“I put myself in harm’s way for the good of the public and to uphold our laws,” Gomez said at a press conference this morning. “That makes me a real hero. Take a look at me. This is what a hero looks like. All the undercover cops walking the thin line to save the lives of all those adorable fur-balls out there are heroes.”

Ascending the ranks of the Hell’s Shepherds, Sgt. Gomez was eventually able to identify the real mastermind behind the the scam: Petsurance CEO Jerry Halbach. The liaison between the Shepherds and the amateur scammers was a mysterious man, with a past unknown to either side. No one would have guessed that he was in reality the head of the very company that was being ripped off. Mr. Halbach explained his motives in his confession.

“Look, the only reason anyone would ever take out a stupid policy like pet life insurance is because it’s really easy to scam,” said Halbach. “I stayed ahead of the game by playing both sides. I would get a cut of whatever the Shepherds took and then if I felt like it, I could either blackmail the sucker who tried to scam me or sue him for fraud. I’ve been in this business for a long time, ever since I was a fourteen year old kid stealing people’s pets and then collecting the reward money they posted for their precious walking flea traps. People used to think I was some kinda miracle worker.”

On the other side of this story, the amateur criminals who were caught insisted that their crimes were motivated out of desperation rather than simple greed. They shone a light on the great sacrifice people are forced to make in order to own a prize-winning pet. In his own statement, cat owner Grant Rimtill took a defensive stance.

“It’s not easy raising a competition animal,” said Mr. Rimtill. “I pumped about 20,000 dollars into Professor Catface Meowmers and he didn’t earn a penny of it back. Didn’t win any competitions, didn’t make America’s Greatest Dog even though he’s a cat…I was frustrated and broke. I was only going to make back a third of the money I’d wasted on that adorable fluff-muffin. ”

The public outcry at this scandal has been significant. Animals right groups are rallying to protest the evils they see as inherit not only to animal fighting rings but to animal competitions as well. In a show of political theater that has rarely been seen since the Sixties, protesters invaded competitions yesterday with hungry pit bulls and airhorns, demanding that the animals all fight together and throwing fake money everywhere. It seems now that the only facet of this controversial issue people can agree on is that it’s nice that the animals were donated to struggling families, complete with a monthly allowance (pulled from the dirty Petsurance money) to be spent on the animals.

“I love my new friend Hot Chocolate Head,” said Joel Martinez, 7. “He taught me that if bad people steal things from other bad people, I get a nice dog.”

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