Mom and pop dogfighting ring broken up
Officials in Pennsylvania believe they have found the source of that pit bull corpse that turned up in Chester County — a dogfighting operation they say operated out of a home in West Brandywine.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrests of a husband and wife Wednesday.
He described their home as “a house of pain and horror for the dogs that lived there. The defendants’ dogs lived by one rule: Fight and win, or die.”
Hogan said five young children also lived in the home, one of whom was bitten by one of the dogs. In retaliation, that animal was hung with a coaxial cable, he said.
The Unionville Times reports that, according to the criminal complaint, the father, who referred to the animals as “livestock,” acknowledged killing at least 10 dogs by hanging or electrocution, and said the couple was “planning on making the training and fighting of pit bull dogs a family business.”
Six living dogs were recovered from the home and are in the custody of the SPCA, according to the York Daily Record
The investigation began after two abandoned pit bulls were found — one, who had been burned, dead in cage; another maimed and burned but still alive, alongside a road. That second dog, Radar, is recovering under the care of the Chester County SPCA.
The younger of the pit bulls was found on the same road the Santiago’s lived on, just miles away.
Santiago was first identified as a suspect when he was arrested on drug charges as part of Operation Silent Night, an operation aimed at curbing violent crime in Coatesville. Neighbors had complained about large numbers of people visiting the property, many from out of state and most bringing dogs with them.
“When we got into that home, what we found was a nightmare,” Hogan said. “This was a full-scale operation of not only dog fighting, but dog training, dog breeding and dog killing.”
They discovered a treadmill, tools used to encourage aggression, and an arena in the basement, with blood-spattered plywood barriers set up around the fighting area. Up to 16 pit bulls were kept in the home at one time, Hogan said.
Santiago and Acampora are charged with more than 30 counts of animal cruelty, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy to commit animal cruelty. Both were being held in Chester County Prison.
(Photos: Unionville Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
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