November 14th, 2008
07:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Friday Roundup

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dog-fighting is not a “sport”. It is sick, inhumane, and inexcusable. It is torture. I will never understand what compels someone to train animals to fight one another, not how anyone can gain pleasure and enjoyment from watching two living beings tear one another to pieces – literally. I don’t want to understand it, either.

I am happy to report 55 people have been arrested in what is believed to be one of the country’s largest dog fighting operations. One of the alleged participants is a special ed teacher. Nice. More than 100 dogs, “bred specifically to fight”, were also seized.


The Big Dig seems to have been under a dark cloud since Day One, but it is the heart wrenching death of Milena Del Valle more than two years ago that stands out in many minds when you mention the Boston transportation project. Now, one of the Big Dig’s largest contractors, Modern Continental Construction Inc., will pay $21 million in damages related to her death, and to the cost of fixing leaks in the massive highway project.

Del Valle, 39, was killed in July 2006 while on her way to the airport with her husband. She was a passenger in the car when 26 tons of tunnel ceiling collapsed on the vehicle.


World’s tallest Mohawk – 27 inches of rockin’ locks – gets groomed for charity.


An 11-year-old girl Oregon girl crawled out of her family's smashed SUV and made her way through a storm to get help, saving seven others in the process.


When Lt. Gen Ann E. Dunwoody enlisted in the Army more than three decades ago, she figured she’d stay for two years, then move on to college and ultimately become a phys ed teacher.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned. Lt Gen Dunwoody never left the Army, and today she becomes the first woman in U.S. military history to get four stars.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. John Pitcock


    I have a rescued Standard Poodle named Kramer. I hope the Obamas can find the kind of dog appropriate for their daughter with allergies through a shelter or rescue group. Rescued animals seem to show their appreciation by bonding strongly with their masters and every person who steps up and helps these animals deserves our thanks. Keep up your promotion of adoption!

    November 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  2. Larry Taylor

    To the animal cultists: your posts are making me retch. You care so much about dumb lower species beasts, while they can't care one iota about you. Pit bulls mauled a baby girl to death recently. Pit bulls are ugly awful dogs; the breed should fo extinct. Your priorites are misplaced. Hey Darin, I agree with you!

    November 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  3. Larry Taylor

    To the animal cultists: your posts are making me retch. You care so much about dumb lower species beasts, while they can't care one iota about you. Pit bulls mauled a baby girl to death recently. Pit bulls are ugly awful dogs; the breed should fo extinct. You're priorites are misplaced. Hey Darin, I agree with you!

    November 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Darin Reed

    Do you animal kooks think nature is a peacuful lovey dovey place? Animals tear each other to shreds every day; haven't you ever watched lions maul zebras, or killer whales chew up seals?? I couldn't care less if pitbulls maul each other. It's a dog eat dog world.

    November 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  5. Jeffrey Owen

    I have 3 dogs. Two older labs and a Jack Russell that we got when he was 3. I suspect the Jack Russell was severely mistreated and bread ultra aggressive. That a 10 pound dog has become the alpha male over a 120 pounder and a 90 pounder tells only a little of our long journey. It has taken me 2 full years to readjust his psychology and to teach him to trust again. I see little changes each day in his behavior and his trust. It is a full time endeavor and he has relapses. Thankfully more rare as time passes. They say dogs can't talk but I have become very close to this little tortured creature. I can see what he went through and he 'talks' volumes about his treatment prior to our rescue. That people can inflict this kind of torment on another living creature is more of a testament to how far we as a human species have to go to become civilized.

    November 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hey Erica!
    You darn tootin' that dog fighting is inhumane and tortuous. I too do not understand the love of blood shed at the cost of our domestic companion animals. It just goes to show you how sick and demented our society is.
    I am so happy that the dog fighting ring was busted. More of the same please. All of you at 360 do a great job of speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves.
    Keep up the good work Erica and keep working on a rescued pound pup for our President elect!
    (((hugs)))) and Tail wags!!!!!

    November 15, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Cynthia Ruth Butler

    Hello Erica, My grand-daughter's m\name is Erica. We call her Rikki.Iam 75yrs. old and am still sort o new on the PC. Still learning the terms.A message to Obama. Republicians have DOGS, and democrats have CATS. I wish I knew how to send pictures of my felines. I have six. A Russian Blue name BLUE,A Chartreuex, name Tagooche,Two Bombays, named AmberRose and Sabrina,A mixed Bengal and an american short hair. Ages 5yrs. old to 18 yrs. old. Had to put my rough collie down 2006 from Cancer. Tell him if he should get a Dog,get a 'BASENJI" THEY don't bark. They yodel. Take care.Never miss your show or Anderson"s.

    November 15, 2008 at 9:39 am |
  8. romeo

    I thought

    November 15, 2008 at 1:48 am |
  9. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Hi Erica,

    Is CNN going to talk about Nebraska's law that children can be left at hospitals with the intention of newborns only however since it was not specified 33 kids ranging from 11-17 have been abandoned by their parent?

    November 15, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  10. nancy valentine

    Dear CNN,

    As Detroit and CLeveland struggle with the econonmic downturn now (NCB and auto by way of example) and a main artery to Cleveland closed to traffic b/c of failing infrastructure and the last several years with steel, etc. Atlanta's and Phoenix's plea for funds seems, well seems like whining – nobody bailed out NCB and we lost 6000 jobs today

    November 14, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  11. susan

    I agree Erica, dog fighting is ,not a sport and is inhumane-boxing should be outlawed,as well but one can make the case that animals don't have free will, as boxers-in addition, dog fighting actually have dogs fight to kill-presumably, a death of a boxer is not the goal but an accidental by product, at times.

    One is a victim of one's environment, in some rough neighberhoods people are treated no better than these fighting dogs. Actually,in nice neighberhoods, behind closed doors there is abuse taking place, not screaming loud arguements but torture,as well, in houses of horrors. I commend you journalists for being able to keep your equilibrium and ability to keep a good sense of humor even after reporting horrifying news-I guess as someone once said, something like,"don't let evil defeat one.
    But, I can't remember the Michael Douglas movie's name,he lost his job,was divorced,lived with his mother, faked going to a job that no longer existed,he got stuck in a traffic jam and abandoned his car going on to some strange events-at the end-I think I recollect him, or the character he was playing,say, something like,"you mean ,I'm the bad guy,"in unbeliieving surprise.

    November 14, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  12. Vanessa from California

    Erica, you hit it on the nail. I am so sick of humanity. We are the only species who can reason logically. Why is that we just cannot reason that we have to take care of the life that is on this planet. Dog fighting is absolutely disgusting. When I see homeless animals on the street I wonder why is this happening, and I also fear that these unscrupulous individuals wont get them to be killed in traing a fight dog.
    Humanity! We have to wake up. the planet is in our hands and we must take care of the innocent. Animals are innocent and deserve better. PLEASE!
    They give us undying love, can't we love and protect them?
    And when you see a lost and homeless animal, starving and scared, offer the animal food and water. Just sit it out if you are afraid of animals. Look into their eyes, they need us.

    November 14, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  13. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    It is good sign to finally see a large dogfighting ring get taken down. And to think it took them practically an entire year to do so. I always feel sorry for the dogs because the probability of them having to be put down is high. Not sure why they used a horse and snake for training but I can just imagine how they were tortured also. It just breaks my heart when animals are treated unfairly and those culprits involved never really get the stiff sentence either. They should be banned from society, IMO.

    The world's tallest mohawk? Now that's having a bad hair day so I'm not feeling so negative about my locks now. And it's all for charity so what more could you ask for?

    Lt. Gen Ann E. Dunwoody getting four stars. What an inspiring story for women when history is being made....

    November 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  14. Heather,ca

    Hello Erica!

    I watched the ceremony on the Pentagon channel and I have to say I was so impressed with. Lt Gen Dunwoody. The ceremony was for her but she had flowers and baseball caps for her family. It was nice. I think Def Sec Gates enjoyed it to.

    Anyone who enjoys watching animals kill each other is a monster. The next step is murder.

    November 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm |