The sensational trial of a gang of sheepdogs, convicted of interstate sheep smuggling, ended in New York today. Blackie, Shep, Lassie-Fair and ringleader Chip (alias Arturo “The Wag” Cannelloni) were each sentenced to 15 years in jail which, for a sheepdog, constitutes life.
In his summing up, Judge Richard Head noted, “You used your access to the sheep owned by your masters to smuggle them to unscrupulous butchers and ruthless knitwear shopkeepers throughout the East Coast. With the ill-gotten proceeds of your crimes, you led what can by no stretch of the imagination be called a dog’s life. I have no hesitation in passing the most severe sentence that the law allows.” At this, howls of disbelief rose from the dock, as well as angry barking and piteous whimpering from a courtroom packed with the defendants’ supporters.
Snarling with rage, Chip broke free from his police handler and made an audacious dash for freedom from the courtroom and into the street. At the present time his whereabout are unknown, but Detective Kevin Smith, who infiltrated the gang in order to bring them to justice, vowed: “We’ll catch the guy. I’m determined to see them all in the pen.”