Justice has been served…again! Last Friday, five more defendants were convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to time behind bars in connection with a massive dog fighting raid that the ASPCA helped carry out in July 2009. The operation spanned eight states—Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi—and resulted in the rescue of more than 500 Pit Bulls.
“Even two years after the bust, the convictions keep coming,” says ASPCA Animal Fighting Specialist Terry Mills, who took part in the operation. In total, 103 arrests have made in conjunction with the raid—40 on federal charges and 63 on state charges.
The convicted offenders aren’t getting off easy.
“In the federal system, the recommended time for dog fighting is only probation to six months,” explains Mills. “Most of the federal judges in these cases are viewing that range as inadequate—sentencing has gone as high as 33 months in federal prison.”
Serious thumbs up to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Hudson of the Southern District of Illinois. Hudson has charged 15 defendants, and they’ve received an average sentence of 17 months.
Known as the “Missouri 500,” the rescued pups have since been placed in loving homes or with sanctuaries equipped to meet their special needs.
To learn more about this historic case, visit the ASPCA Raids and Investigations section.