Pit Bull Informational Pages
by Diane Jessup 

DOG FIGHTING - THE TRUTH
Page VI

More actual reports from dog fight busts. The ugly truth.

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* Pit Bulls, Drugs Confiscated From Home 19 Dogs Removed From Fayette County Residence August 3, 2001 BROWNSVILLE, Pa. -- A Brownsville man faces drug and animal cruelty charges after authorities confiscated 19 pit bulls from his dirty home. Joseph Brown was arrested at his home in Fayette County Thursday. Tara Konjolka also was arrested on warrants stemming from traffic and other minor violations.

Two children were placed into protective custody as police confiscated drugs $500 in cash and a semiautomatic pistol. Nine dogs and 10 puppies were taken by the Fayette County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Authorities said the dogs were kept in dirty living conditions. Police said there were indications that the adult pit bulls had been used in dog fighting. Brown was placed in Fayette County Prison on $100,000 bail.

* Authorities Discover Dog-Fighting Ring 12 Dogs Are Still Alive. April 2002
American pit bull terrier, American pit bull, pit bull terrier, pit bull, pitbull, pittbull, pitt bull, gamebred, American gamedog, game pit bull, K9, detection dogs, police dog, police dogs, detection dog, bomb dog, narcotics detection dog, explosives detection dog, Boldog Kennel, Diane Jessup, BSL, dog training, schutzhund, French ring sport, tracking, tracking dog, agility dog, weight pull, weight pulling pit bull, dog crate, pit bull books, pit bull book, dog training, dog fighting, Washington State Patrol, breed specific legislation, dog agility, gamedogs, game dogs, American gamedog, dog fighting, treadmills, jenni, catmill, springpole, weight pulling, dog aggression

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Randolph County deputies responded to a call Sunday about an organized dog fight involving pit bulls. Investigators found about 18 dogs at a home off Wildwood Road near Trinity. Officials said three of the dogs injuries were so bad that authorities had to put them to sleep. Investigators said two others died a few days ago. Investigators said 12 dogs are still alive. Their fate will be decided by authorities this week. Authorities charged Barry White of High Point with cruelty to animals.

* Modesto police find a dog-fighting and drug-making operation The Modesto Police Department has raided what is believed to be a large scale dog-fighting and drug-making operation. Monday night officers went to a Modesto home and found 29 Pit Bull dogs chained to trees. Inside a barn there were blood stains which were the apparent result of dog fights. And while searching the property, officers also turned up evidence of a methamphetamine lab. One man was taken into custody. Jorge Ayala is a 23-year-old resident of Modesto.

* Dog-fighting ring smashed 5 Detroiters are arrested and 5 animals taken in
January 2003
The makeshift dog-fighting arena had blood-spewed walls and carpet. There were snapshots and videotapes of dogs locking jaws, and a pry stick used to separate the animals at the end of a fight. Detroit police made the discovery Wednesday in a basement on the city's east side, along with members of the Michigan Humane Society and the city's Animal Control Unit during a roundup of suspects in the dog fighting.

"It was terrible," said Sherry Silk, operations manager for the Humane Society's Detroit shelter. "This is an awful way for an animal to live." As part of the cooperative roundup -- the first of its kind -- police issued 30 felony and misdemeanor warrants for people wanted in connection with dog fighting and animal cruelty. Five people, all Detroiters, were arrested Wednesday; three on misdemeanors and two on felonies. Five dogs were taken in by the Humane Society.

At the house on the 9400 block of Nottingham, police officers found three pit pulls with cuts and scars, apparently from fighting. They found a healthy pit bull chained to a window grate in a vacant home on the same block. Cmdr. Gerard Simon said police believe that dog was used for breeding. A 38-year-old man at the Nottingham home was taken into custody. "Drugs, gangs, dope, dogs and Detroit. They all go together," said Simon, of the department's Organized Crime and Gangs Division. Simon said the investigation began about six months ago when officers started turning up more and more pit bulls during drug raids. They began planning Wednesday's roundup just before Christmas. "We kept coming across the dogs and dog-fighting dens and we decided we had to do something about it," Simon said.

The division teamed up with Silk and her office, which provided information based on tips as to where pit bulls were being neglected or fought. Police left letters at homes where they thought suspects lived but couldn't be found Wednesday. The letters stated that they are wanted and urged them to turn themselves in. "This is the first time we've specifically grouped all of our animal-related warrants together and sought to serve them at once," Simon said. "But, I want people to know that this is going to continue." Silk said the effort is long overdue. "Dog fighting is a major, major problem in the city of Detroit," she said. "I'm so thankful that the Detroit Police Department is working with us on this. We all need to work together." Silk urged anyone with information on dog fighting in the city to call the Humane Society's animal cruelty hot line at 313-872-3401.

[NOTE: Please remember that the Michigan "Humane" Society will kill all pit bulls they get their hands on, regardless of temperament.]

* Vicious-dog report leads to pit bulls in training. Cops discover seven pit bulls and marijuana in backyard.Last week, a neighbor's concerns about a dog on the loose revealed seven pit bulls allegedly being trained for fighting, along with cockfighting implements and marijuana plants growing in the backyard of a sunnyvale home.

Chuck Eaneff, public information officer for the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, said a neighbor spotted a pit bull roaming through the streets and called the department's animal control unit. Eaneff says Michelle Morgan, responded to the call and spotted the animal loose on Duane Avenue. The dog returned home of its own accord. Eaneff says Morgan spotted marijuana plants in the backyard as she shut the gate behind the animal. Morgan informed Sunnyvale's narcotics unit, who returned to the house last Tuesday with a search warrant. They recovered 19 marijuana plants, four adult pit bulls, three puppies, cockfighting implements and a treadmill allegedly used for training the dogs.

Police records show that Louis Silva was arrested for dogfighting, cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and child endangerment; Marie Silva was arrested for cultivation of marijuana and child endangerment. Eaneff said the animals were taken into custody by Public Safety officers and the children were taken to a shelter because of the conditions of the house.

"[The dogs] were being used for pit-bull fighting," Eaneff said. "Pit bulls are often associated with gang activity, and cockfighting has been going on a long time with [the fights] done in secret." Eaneff said uncovering dogfighting rings or trainers is usually difficult because of the secrecy that surrounds the sport (dogfighting is a felony), so arrests are usually made in conjunction with other crimes. "We're always looking for these kinds of crimes," Eaneff said. "But the [arrests] most often happen in the course of narcotics investigation or related to some kind of gang investigations." Last Thursday, another vicious-dog call resulted in a drug arrest when 52 marijuana plants were found growing in the dog owner's backyard. And earlier this month, a report of noisy animals resulted in arrests made for drugs and guns in a resident's house that also contained evidence that dogs were being trained to fight. Eaneff would not specify what any of the training "implements" were in the cases, because they are being used as evidence.

Marcia Mayeda, director of animal services for the Humane Society of Santa Clara County, agreed that other criminal activity usually goes hand in hand with dogfighting. "You're not going to be involved in the PTA and participate in dog-fighting on the side," she said.

Dogfighting and cockfighting have long been problems in the area, Mayeda said, pointing to a steady stream of fighting cocks and dogs in the Humane Society's care. "Any day of the year you can come in here and find a dog with scars on it or with its ears chomped off," she said. "By themselves, we can't use [the injuries] as evidence of fighting, but it's pretty obvious what has happened." In cockfighting, a rooster's wattles and combs are usually removed and owners attach metal spurs or special knives to the birds' feet. The animals usually fight to the death in orchestrated fights. The sport is popular in certain Asian and Hispanic countries. Mayeda said a rise in the number of immigrants from those countries has translated into a rise in the sport in the United States. "This would be just like [Americans] going to play tennis in another country, except that [cockfighting] is illegal here," she said. Dogfighting is usually more secretive and tricky to uncover, Mayeda said.

She said the dogs are often trained on treadmills or with something called a "cat mill," which is similar to a merry-go-round, in which a cat or another small animal is dangled in front of the pit bull as bait as the animal continually runs in circles. She said that to increase the dog's confidence, owners usually match a pit bull against smaller dogs that are often stolen and then killed as part of the training. Since Sunnyvale has its own animal control unit, Mayeda said, any calls the Humane Society receives about dog-fighting or other concerns are forwarded to Sunnyvale's own animal control unit. The unit is comprised of two officers and a supervisor. Once an animal is rescued, Eaneff said, it is taken to a hearing to establish its disposition. "Sometimes they are released back to their owners, and sometimes they are given back with conditions, or sometimes they are put down," Eaneff said. "We certainly don't want dogs out there that are trained to injure or kill."

* Six charged in dog-fighting ring.
November 2002

A Jeannette man and five others were arrested Friday in connection with a western Pennsylvania dog-fighting ring in which dogs were electrocuted if they lost or were injured in matches on which wagers ran as high as $50,000.

"This organization actively promoted dogfights between pit bull dogs for sport and for profit," said state police Lt. George L. Bivens. The multicounty ring required promoters, trainers, breeders and referees, according to the state police Organized Crime Unit. Some involved in the ring manufactured and sold dog training and conditioning equipment, and others supplied steroids and other performance-enhancement drugs that would increase the animals' muscle mass.

The ring arranged fights between pit bulls, which were matched against each other by weight and sex, in basements and warehouses for at least five years, investigators said. Wagers on a match ranged from $100 to $50,000. Bivens said all types of people bet on and watched the matches. "As far as the types of people, it's a cross section," Bivens said. "It really crosses socioeconomic lines." The dogs are listed as evidence and are not yet available for adoption.

The arrests were made yesterday in Westmoreland, Allegheny and Bedford counties. Charged were Dale Shaw, 46, of 217 Chestnut St., Jeannette; Thomas L. Ackerman, 26, and Harry Maurice Ackerman Jr., 30, both of 2005 Lamont Ave., McKeesport; Christopher Lee Bryce, 2009 Baldwin Ave., McKeesport; Richard L. Henderson, 632 S. Julian St., Bedford; and Robert Carl Cooper,163 Springwood Drive, Verona. All were arraigned by District Justice Thomas S. Brletic of McKeesport and face preliminary hearings at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Shaw was charged with one count of animal cruelty, a third-degree felony, after police searched his home Oct. 2. Police seized nine pit bulls and two "treadmills" used in the training of dogs. Shaw is free on $5,000 unsecured bond. Police also searched the home of the Ackermans, who are brothers, on Oct. 2. Both were charged after an undercover investigation revealed their extensive involvement in the ring, investigators said.

On Jan. 14, Trooper Timothy Knapp and a confidential informant went to the brothers' home, where Thomas Ackerman showed them around. The trooper and informant saw several pit bulls, and Thomas Ackerman said he had staged a fight between two of them. Ackerman used a "drill-shocking device" he had gotten from Henderson to euthanize the dog that lost, according to an affidavit. Bivens said the device had two alligator clips, spring-loaded fastening devices used to make temporary electrical connections. One was attached to the dog's lip and the other to its genitals before the electric shock was given, killing the animal in seconds. Senior Deputy Attorney General Donna McClelland said Henderson invented the device. Knapp and the informant also bought three ounces of marijuana from Thomas Ackerman that day.

In an Oct. 2 raid of the Ackermans' home, police found nine pit bulls, a dogfighting pit, several treadmills, the shocking device, and documents relating to dogfighting. Harry Ackerman Jr. was charged with one count of cruelty to animals and one count of criminal conspiracy. He is in Allegheny County Prison after failing to post $5,000 straight bond. Thomas Ackerman was charged with six counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of delivery of a controlled substance. He also is in Allegheny County Prison in lieu of bond set at $25,000 straight cash.

Knapp met Henderson through the confidential informant at Henderson's business, Bedford Radiator, where Knapp noticed two pit bulls. Henderson took Knapp to a property in the woods where dogs were trained and sold Knapp a small vial of steroids for $400. In a second meeting, Henderson again sold steroids to Knapp. Henderson also agreed to make a shocking device for Knapp, according to an affidavit. In all, Knapp purchased more than $2,000 in dog-fighting training equipment from Henderson, who was charged with six counts of cruelty to animals, one count of violation of the Pharmacy Act, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of criminal conspiracy. He is in jail on $40,000 straight bond.

In a search of Bryce's home, police found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Police received information about Bryce from another confidential informant, who said they had watched a dog fight at Bryce's home. After the fight, Bryce and Thomas Ackerman killed the losing dog and buried it in Bryce's yard. On Oct. 4, police exhumed the carcass of a female pit bull. Bryce was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, one count of delivery of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of criminal conspiracy. He is in jail on $10,000 straight bond.

Cooper, who owns Cooper's Pet Supplies on 2810 Robinson Blvd., Penn Hills, was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of violation of the Pharmacy Act. He is free on $10,000 unsecured bond. A confidential informant told Knapp that Cooper held money for dog fights and sold a tapeworm medication for dogs that is legally available only through veterinarians. Cooper would hold money for people betting on the fights. Afterward, the winner would pick up the money from Cooper.

Knapp and the confidential informant went to the store in November 2001 and gave Cooper money to hold for a fight. A month later, the two picked up the money. In October 2001 and May, Knapp bought the tapeworm medication from Cooper. This isn't Shaw's first run-in with the law. He was arrested April 11 by Jeannette police for an incident that occurred outside his home. Police went there at about 4:30 a.m. that day after they heard reports of a man screaming. After police found Shaw outside his home causing the disturbance, they ordered him to stop. Shaw went inside but returned shortly to his porch with a pit bull. After police told Shaw to go back inside with the dog, he made several threats and once tried to lift the dog over the porch bannister to "sic" the dog on police. Shaw also ripped off his shirt and started kissing his biceps before making more lewd threats of physical violence against them. Police eventually used pepper spray to take him into custody. Shaw also was charged by Jeannette police with fighting on Oct. 21.

* New Bedford police uncover dog fighting rings - Investigators say problem linked to drug trade

The bloody practice of dog fighting in New Bedford -- rumored for years but never confirmed -- is slowly being uncovered by police stumbling on the battle arenas as part of drug-dealing probes. "There's a link between drugs and dog fighting," said Linda Souza, the city's animal-control officer. "The two seem to go hand in hand."

Two basement dog-fighting arenas have been discovered in the past three months by narcotics detectives and an increasing number of dog-fight training tools are being found by both police and animal-control officers investigating canine complaints."We were looking for drugs and we found dog-fighting rings," Sgt. Albert Pacheco, a narcotics detective, said. "That really wasn't what we expected to find." But narcotics detectives and animal-abuse authorities say that's just what they are discovering with increasing frequency. "We're finding these dogs in just about every raid," Sgt. Pacheco said.

The first dog-fighting arena was discovered in the basement of a Washburn Street house in December during a drug raid and last month authorities found the second and more elaborate ring in the basement of a Foster Street house. In the Foster Street house, police found workout equipment modified to train fighting dogs and evidence that the animals had been fighting. "There was just blood all around," said Detective John Pereira. "You could tell they were fighting down there." "There was a treadmill there with a thick chain on the top so they could attach the dog to it to train," Detective Tom Hodziewich said. "There was wood attached to the sides so the dog couldn't jump off." "It was a pretty elaborate setup," Sgt. Pacheco agreed. And just last week, detectives searching for cocaine in a Kempton Street apartment found four pit bulls trained for fighting -- including one caged in a room -- as well as what is known as a "fighting sleeve" and other items used to train dogs.

* Police in Curry County were kept busy over the weekend investigating a pair of homicide incidents that left three people dead. The most recent homicide happened Friday evening when an apparent argument over a dog fight ended in gunfire and the death of 41-year-old Moises Ortiz.

Clovis Police Department Capt. Leon Morris said Ortiz was involved in a reported dog fight at a home in the 1600 block of Hammett Street about 6 p.m. when he was shot in the chest. "There was supposedly a dog fight," Morris said. "But I don't know the extent of how that was involved in the shooting."

Police quickly made an arrest in the case, taking Fernando Garcia into custody early Saturday on a charge of murder and dog fighting. Richard Garcia was also arrested on a charge of dog fighting. According to an affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant, a witness told police that Moises Ortiz was fighting his pit bull with a dog belonging to several other men. An argument erupted when one of the dogs tried to quit the fight. The witness told police Fernando Garcia displayed a handgun and several fights broke out. During the fight, several shots rang out, and Moises Ortiz was hit three times in the chest. Morris said Monday afternoon that Fernando Garcia was being held without bond and that Richard Garcia was released on $5,000 bond.

* Drugs Found at Bust of Animal-Fighting Ring in Wales
Animal fighting and illegal drugs: it’s a deadly combination that is all too common. But the good guys got the upper hand in a collaborative operation staged in Wales , Mass., by MSPCA law enforcement officers, area and state police departments, and the Eastern Hampden County Narcotics Task Force.

Leads on drug activity and animal fighting prompted the narcotics task force to contact the MSPCA Law Enforcement Department for assistance in searching the house. Twenty-two pit bulls, eight roosters, eight hens, and two chicks were seized. “This was a suspect and house we’ve had our eyes on,” said MSPCA officer Richard LeBlond, who was in communication with area police. One tip came from a Wales animal-control officer who reported a large group of out-of-state cars, containing dog crates, congregating at this home on a number of weekends. A neighbor also filed a complaint describing how the pit bulls would be dragged out of the crates—a couple at a time—and brought into the barn with the doors closed. Just a half hour later, the dogs would be transported back into the crates while a few more were taken into the barn.

When officials arrived at the house with a search warrant, they found the pit bulls, some with sore spots and dried blood on various parts of their bodies, chained to wooden doghouses and plastic barrels used as shelters. One rooster had his natural spurs sharpened and was wearing protective coverings over them. In the barn, two roosters appeared to have been in a fight and had dried blood around the head and neck area. Inside the house, authorities found a sophisticated greenhouse growing $160,000 worth of marijuana.

The owner of the animals agreed to surrender the dogs and birds to the MSPCA, which transferred them to its Springfield , Boston , and Methuen shelters for evaluation. Because the dogs and roosters were trained to be aggressive fighters, they were unfit to be household pets and had to be euthanized. The eight hens and two chicks, however, were successfully adopted into new, safe homes.“When you put two or three animals in a ring, the intent is that an animal will get injured and suffer pain,” explains LeBlond. “This is the worst kind of cruelty.”

* Defendant Takes The Stand In Dog Fighting Case
A Lee County man who is accused of running a dog fighting ring testified on his own behalf Wednesday. During cross-examination, Gaston Williamson admitted that dog fighting have taken place on his property. "I assume they had, because sometimes things happen when you are not there," he testified.

Williamson also appeared to contradict an earlier statement that he carefully screened people who bought his dogs to ensure they would not end up as fighters. He talked about how he traded two dogs to a stranger for two pounds of pot: "If I could trade two dogs for two pounds of marijuana, that's a good deal," Williamson said. Deputies arrested Williamson in March after they raided his property and found stolen guns, two pounds of marijuana, and what appeared to be the makings of a dog-fighting facility, complete with a dog-fighting ring. The first witness called explained how his brother sold Williamson the land where Williamson keeps his dogs. The witness added that his brother had used a shed on the property for dog fights. He did not say that Williamson staged dog fights there.

A friend of Williamson, who described himself as a pit bull enthusiast, testified that bite sticks similar to the blood-stained ones found on Williamson's property are commonly used by people who own pit bull but who do not let their dogs fight. "With a pit bull, it's probably the best way to take them loose. Once they hold on, it's pretty hard. You don't want to get your hands down there. You basically take them by the scruff of the neck, put the stick in their teeth and work it out so you can (make them let go)," said Ralph Mebly. The prosecution revealed that Williamson put out an ad in a magazine for dog fighting, advertising that he had dogs for sale. And they also revealed that the bite sticks were all found in a shed that authorities believe was used for dog fighting.

* Dog fighting couple found guilty Apr 17, 2003
A Northland couple accused of keeping pit bulls to use in dog fights could be facing jail after being convicted in Kaikohe District Court. The pair, who have name suppression, were found guilty of three charges under the Animal Welfare Act. They are the first people in New Zealand to be convicted of organising dog fighting.

In September 2001, SPCA inspector Jim Boyd was called to the couple's property by police. "I found the remains of an dog fighting pit under the house", he says. Pallettes end to end made up the pit walls and carpet covered the "arena" floor, apparently so the fighting dogs could gain traction. "I found blood on the carpet and splatters of blood on the walls of the fighting pit," Boyd says.

Inside the house were underground trophies, collected in dog fighting competitions. "The term 'Gamest in Show' (shown on one trophy) is recognised not necessarily as the best dog or the winner, but the gutsiest dog... the dog that will fight to the end and keep on fighting in the face of exhaustion and death," Boyd says. Judge Thomas Everitt said nine dogs on their rural property were emaciated and scarred, and one with a rotting jaw had to be put down.

He cited further evidence of a bloodstained fighting pit under the couple's house, dog fighting magazines and trophies. Everitt said their defence that, as Maori on Maori land, they were exempt from the Animal Welfare Act was incorrect and repugnant to commonsense and morality. He warned them the maximum penalties were $25,000 in fines or six months jail and advised them to seek legal advice before sentencing in June.

 

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