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ASPCA Placing 33 Dogs Rescued from Bronx Dog Fighting Operation with Rescue Partners

Multiple rescue groups throughout Northeast open their doors to help give dogs second chance at life
September 4, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that 26 dogs rescued from a dog fighting operation have been placed with several animal welfare groups throughout the Northeast. Placement options for an additional seven dogs are also in the process of being finalized. The dogs, ranging from puppies to adults, were rescued in late June by the ASPCA, at the request of the NYPD Vice Enforcement Division and Bronx District Attorney’s office, from a dog fighting operation in the Bronx.

For more than two months, ASPCA responders cared for and provided the dogs with extensive socialization, a healthy diet, medical care and exercise at a temporary shelter. Each dog was carefully evaluated by a team of animal behavior professionals prior to being transferred to the rescue groups. The following groups will continue to work with each dog to address its specific needs, with the hope of eventually adopting each of them to loving homes: St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center (Madison, N.J.); Charles Henderson Animal Rescue (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Columbia Greene Humane Society (Hudson, N.Y.); and Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire (Bedford, N.H.). Some dogs have also been transferred to the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in Manhattan. 

The unfortunate reality in many dog fighting operations is the propensity for a certain number of the dogs involved to exhibit extreme aggression, and therefore to be very dangerous. Sadly, this proved true in this case. While we have been able to place the majority of dogs, some of the dogs were euthanized. These particular dogs were tragic victims of the brutalities of dog fighting—bred over generations to exhibit aggression, trained to fight with lethal intent, subjected to a life of inhumane treatment, and as a result, showcased highly aggressive behavior. After extensive evaluations, the decisions to euthanize were based on recommendations of multiple behavior professionals who weighed in objectively and independently, with the best interest of each individual animal in mind. 

On June 21, ASPCA responders assisted in the removal, forensic evidence collection, and on-scene documentation of 50 dogs seized from a dog fighting operation in a six-story apartment building in the Bronx. The dogs were living in crude cages in the corner room of a basement, rarely, if ever, seeing the light of day, unless they were brought outside the room to be trained or fought. The basement included a makeshift fighting arena with capacity for dozens of spectators. Also recovered from the scene were a loaded .25-caliber handgun, multiple pet carriers, U.S. currency, and paraphernalia associated with a sophisticated dog fighting operation, including dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes, and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts. The dogs were transferred to a temporary shelter, where they were triaged by the ASPCA’s veterinary medical team and later evaluated individually by the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. 

The superintendent of the building, Raul Sanchez of the Bronx, was arrested that day and arraigned on July 24 on the following charges: 63 counts of animal fighting (13 felony charges; 50 misdemeanor charges); six counts of aggravated animal cruelty (felony); six counts of animal cruelty (misdemeanor); and one count of criminal possession of a weapon (misdemeanor). If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail. The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy team is also providing support to the Bronx District Attorney’s office to help prosecute this case. The next court date is scheduled for September 25.