10 People Arrested and 89 Dogs Rescued from Alleged Interstate Dogfighting Ring
The ASPCA recently assisted with the removal of 89 dogs rescued from an alleged dogfighting ring operating across Long Island, in New York City and in several other states. Alongside New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department, NYPD, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Nassau County Police Department, and the Nassau County SPCA, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini announces the arrest of 10 individuals following the rescue of these dogs.
“We will not tolerate these types of crimes—crimes that injure and, in many cases, result in the death of vulnerable animals,” District Attorney Sini said. “Many of us have dogs as pets in our homes and we love them as another family member. This case is about how a criminal network bred dogs, tortured them, and put them in serious harm’s way just to make a buck. These arrests represent a significant blow to dogfighting, certainly here on Long Island and we believe it will have impacts throughout the Northeast.”
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and Suffolk County Police Department, in collaboration with local, state, federal and non-governmental agencies, began an investigation into alleged dogfighting at residences across Long Island in early 2021.
The investigation revealed evidence that the defendants were allegedly involved in the breeding, training and illegal fighting of pit bulls including orchestrating matches and killing dogs that were either severely injured or had underperformed in fights.
Pursuant to the investigation, search warrants were executed by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, ASPCA and other agencies at nine locations in Suffolk County, three locations in Nassau County and one location in Brooklyn.
The search warrants resulted in the recovery of dogfighting paraphernalia, including veterinary surgical supplies, stands used to immobilize female dogs during breeding, cords used in the electrocution of dogs, steroids and other supplements used to enhance a dogs’ performance, break sticks and equipment like treadmills and spring poles.
“This brutal case involving dozens of victimized animals demonstrates that dogfighting persists in every corner of America, requiring that we remain diligent in our effort to eradicate animal fighting across the country,” said Elizabeth Brandler, Senior Counsel for ASPCA Legal Advocacy & Investigations. “We are grateful that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and Suffolk County Police Department chose to work with us on this complex case and for their commitment to stopping these despicable crimes, rescuing the animals involved, and bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
The dogs were found in various locations in the residences, including basements, garages and sheds, and some were without food and water. Many of the dogs displayed various medical conditions consistent with dogfighting, including scarring and broken teeth, and were exhibiting fearful behavior.
“As an animal lover, I have to say, this is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen in my 36 years with our department,” said Suffolk County Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron. “It also deeply disturbed our detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Squad as they worked on this case over an extended period of time and dealt with the abject cruelty of these defendants toward these helpless animals. This was the largest and most brutal dogfighting rings this county has ever seen, but it is over now thanks to the work of our department, the DA’s Office and several other agencies.”