Nearly 50 dogs, ranging in age from 12 weeks to five years, were found yesterday living in the windowless basement of a six-story apartment building in the Bronx. The space, which served as a makeshift dog fighting arena, was littered with crude wooden cages and had the capacity for roughly 100 spectators. Raul Sanchez, the building’s superintendant, was taken into custody and charged with animal fighting, a felony.
Working closely with the NYPD Vice Enforcement Division and the Bronx District Attorney's Office, our team played a critical role in the rescue of the dogs, forensic evidence collection and on-scene documentation.
Also discovered on scene were a loaded .25-caliber handgun, U.S. currency, and other equipment associated with dog fighting—including dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
"Organized dog fighting is a brutal form of animal abuse where dogs are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture," says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement. "The dogs we saw today exhibited scarring and injuries consistent with fighting dogs. We’re determined to protect New York City's animals from this form of cruelty."
The dogs, many of whom showed scars from fighting, were transported to a temporary shelter for further evaluation by our emergency response medical team. The ASPCA will continue to provide legal support to the Bronx District Attorney's Office to help prosecute the case.
The investigation is ongoing.