Sunday, May 2, 2010


NITRO - A Brave Rottie's Fight for Nitro's LAW - Off to the Senate
Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 10:11pm

♥ Nitro ♥
UPDATE 3/31: We have listed at the bottom Ohio Senators FB addresses we need to deluge FB style. That means comments being left requesting them to support Nitro's Law. A very polite "Please support Nitro's Law - Ohio's dogs are depending on us." We must keep up the pressure of this media campaign to ensure Nitro's Law is passed through the Ohio Senate. Contacts at the bottom.

♥ Nitro ♥
UPDATE 2/25: Nitro, his kennel mates, and every animal who has fallen victim to man's heinous hands thanks us on this day. However, this battle is only half won, and we cannot afford to quit now when we have come this far. Nitro and his kennel mates need us to follow through. They're depending on us.

The Ohio House passed an animal cruelty bill "Nitro's Law" today that makes it a felony crime to torture, torment, beat, poison or commit any act of cruelty against a cat or dog. House Bill 70 was approved by a vote of 59 to 36, of the 36 "nays" all of them were republican. It requires Senate approval before it becomes law. The legislation was prompted by abuses reported in kennels "High Caliber K9" but the new restrictions and penalties also apply to pet owners’ homes and property.

We still have the senate to get this through for it to be enacted into law, please note at the bottom are 33 Ohio Senators that we must appeal to in making sure they finish enacting this into law. We must send our warmest and sincerest regards to Representative Ron Gerberry (D) of District 59 of the Ohio House. All of our efforts would not have been possible without this man's support, and it's thanks to him that Nitro, Gillie, York, Havoc, Flynn, Quolla, Ben, Hannah, Jetta, Princess, Bo, Peanut, Sierra, ..and the nameless have been HEARD. Please take a moment to include a comment of thank you for Representative Gerberry's support to; or include it here and we will pass it on.

We are so amazed and grateful for the tremendous support these dogs have received thus far, please let's finish what we started for them.

Actual House Vote 59-36 Live:

*Warning - Graphic pictures*
Some of you that have not been following please note this is another case of horrendous proportions in criminal animal cruelty and neglect. These dogs were starved to death in their kennels in a boarding & training facility owned and operated by Steve Croley. Owners paid fortunes to High Caliber K9 for training & boarding their canine family members, only to end up having them starved to death.

This was High Caliber K9 training facility, which portrayed a clean, well-kept K9 facility where
a family was assured their much-prized Rottweiler named "Nitro" would receive only the best in specialized K9 training.

Nitro was a highly intelligent dog, and excelled in mental and agility training and his owners were always seeking ways in which to improve his unusual abilities. He loved to 'work' and his family, Tom and Elizabeth Raab were first introduced to a professional K9 training approach through their breeders, where both of their Rotties, also siblings, Nitro and Bella, came from.

Everyone understood Nitro's above-average intelligence and in perfecting his special abilities they thought they had found a valuable resource in Steve Croley, owner of High Caliber K9, whom they had met and worked with 2.5 years prior. A friendship and trusting bond soon developed between them with Croley's training and interaction with Nitro during these 2.5 years. It proved to be a very effective and rewarding relationship for Nitro and the family as well. They had many successful interactions, and many numerous social gatherings with Croley, including his wife in dinners, social engagements, outings, forming a deep friendship and trusting alliance.

When a critical medical emergency and crisis of an elder family member left them in a difficult predicament, requiring them to be commuting to NJ frequently for unknown periods of time, this was putting a strain on their companion pets in their home. Nitro being the powerful and highly protective breed of dog that he was, to leave him for prolonged periods of time in the care of unknown family members was highly stressful for him, as well as potentially irresponsible.

So, at a difficult and chaotic time and considering their friendship, it seemed second nature to trust Croley with Nitro. Nitro had attended several 2-week boarding and training trips at the facility. When Croley offered a summer training program as a convenient means for Nitro to do what he loved doing best, and to keep him safe, easing his family's concern, it seemed the best and safest solution.

Croley often made remarks that he felt as if Nitro were 'one of his own' and always seemed to direct extra attention to him, and Nitro relished the attention and seemed to openly adore and thrive under Croley's tutelage. This only reinforced any reservation the family might have possibly had, for Nitro was very reserved, and very protective and not inclined to trust easily.

It was an 8-hour drive for Nitro's family to High Caliber but Mr. Croley lived on his training facility property and the family had visited it on so many occasions that they were always assured of the dogs safety and comfort. The dogs always seemed to be his top priority and the center of his life.

Considering their past successful relationship and continued trust and friendship, they were convinced their intelligent Nitro was in the best of possible care, where he would excel to his fullest potential.

Their beautiful, once healthy Nitro and how he looked when they took him out of his body-bag and before he was cremated.

Their beloved Nitro before he entered High Caliber K9 to be starved, left and forgotten to die with his 6 other kennel friends. Nitro was one of 19 companion animals who suffered unspeakable torture at the hands of their abuser.

This is Nitro and how the authorities found him - locked up with no water, no food, nothing, laying in his own feces. Mr. Croley closed the door off so he couldn't get inside, so he was forced to stay outside day and night. Nitro's mom said, "I know my boy and the reason he is towards the the back like this was because he was trying to get out of the sunlight, he was very smart and so healthy, he was 105 lbs when he went to Mr. Croley's facility. When authorities found him he weighed 50 lbs with no muscle left, the authorities thought he was a Doberman."

This is Gillie when she was a puppy. She was a very loved girl and only 1 years old when starved to death at Mr. Croley's facility.

This is Gillie after entering High Caliber K9 - only 1-year- old. This is how she was found with overturned bowls, searching for food, water, anything.

A little living puppy (a new boarder taken in for puppy training) placed by Steve Croley next to a dead Border collie.

This dog was dead the longest, a female Doberman, just left there, curled in a fetal position with empty food bowls, her eyes were gone, and her bones were showing through the skin.

A dead GSD locked inside with no way out, no food, no water, nothing, just trapped in this tiny space.

This was York - he was found barely alive but supposedly so aggressive that the Mahoning County Animal Control officers euthanized him via/heart stick through the fence. They shot at him with what looked like a dart gun through the fence until they hit his heart, similar to target practice on a dart board. This is also how they administer euthanasia via/heart stick to dogs in their cages and kennels at various county funded animal control facilities throughout the United States. This is one of Youngstown Animal Control's method of euthanasia, the other is the gas chamber.

Ohio continues to rank at the bottom on animal protection legislation. The degradation of our Nation as a whole by the state of Ohio continues into the 21st century and only through legislation that allows for prosecution of animal cruelty with stronger penalties imposed on those found guilty, will Ohio be a just and compassionate State.

Sentencing Hearing January 22, 2009. The plea agreement hearing, Steve Croley with his attorney's as pictured above. The defendant had no statement for the judge.

YOUNGSTOWN — The healthy barks of a police dog served as a backdrop for the sentencing of a kennel operator who allowed dogs to starve to death at High Caliber K-9.

Steve Croley, 38, after appearing 40 minutes late to municipal court Thursday, was sentenced to four months in jail on four counts of animal cruelty. Below Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr.’s third-floor courtroom, the barks of Detective Sgt. Frank Rutherford’s dog rose from the police parking lot as Croley and his lawyer stood in front of the judge. Rutherford was in municipal court on another matter, and the dog waited for him in their cruiser.

In addition to jail, Judge Douglas, who said he found it hard “to understand what happened, why it happened,” ordered that Croley pay restitution of $1,796 and serve three years’ probation, during which time he is not allowed to own or harbor any animal. He was also fined $1,000 and has six months to pay the fine and restitution.

Croley received credit for the 13 days he spent in jail until he posted bail. He will report to the Mahoning County jail at 6 p.m. Friday.

On Oct. 22, seven dead and 12 starving dogs were found at High Caliber K-9, 1516 Coitsville-Hubbard Road. Croley was arrested that day.

He reached a plea agreement in December and pleaded no contest to the animal-cruelty charges. Two housing violations related to the condition of the High Caliber K-9 property were dismissed.

Croley’s lawyer, Heidi Hanni, told the judge that her client is very sorry and remorseful, noting he lost his business. She said he made poor decisions, adding he had been in the process of a divorce.

For the “terrible atrocities with these animals” she said he is “very, very sorry.” Croley made no statement to the judge.

High Caliber K-9 Training Facility located in Youngstown, Ohio. The facility has since re-opened and is in operation by another company and supposedly not affiliated with Steve Croley.

We thank you so much for your support in our mission to change the laws so that these above dogs and Nitro did not die in vain. The Raabs appreciate all the continued support and efforts on affecting this much-needed change for animal welfare in the state of Ohio.
Ohio Senators - Please send correspondence encouraging them to carry through enacting this law. Please click on Senator photos to enlarge and obtain a clearer view of individual contact information. You can also find their address information by clicking the below link.
District 6: Jon Husted
District 14: Tom Niehaus website: (no fb)
District 18: Tim Grendell
District 24: Tom Patton - website: (no fb)
District 28: (no fb)


The Nitro family suffers every minute of every day and will undoubtedly for the rest of their lives for what happened to their beloved Nitro. In Nitro's name a legacy is born and a far greater purpose in his tragic death is achieved. The passing of this bill into law honors Nitro and his other kennel mates in that their suffering and deaths were not in vain. Ohio is on the road to becoming a just and compassionate state for animal welfare, as it should be.

To learn more about Nitro Foundation please visit:

Please note, I am just the messenger in this extraordinary effort, and though the Raab's are dear friends, Nitro was not my dog, that honor belongs only to the Raab's. I was born and raised in this town where this took place, and it touched me deeply. I will continue my efforts to assist the Raab's and the animals of Ohio in passing Nitro's Law so that Nitro, Gillie, York, Havoc, Flynn, Quolla, Ben, Hannah, Jetta, Princess, Bo, Peanut, Sierra...and all of the nameless did not die in vain....for as long as it takes.
Copyright 2010/Shelley Bright

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