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Friday, Jun 1, 2007County: Philadelphia
Charges: Felony CTA
Defendant/Suspect: Sidney Prosser
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Police went to a Kensington home in June looking for a man wanted in an attempted-murder case. They didn't find him, but discovered 22 pit bulls in the basement.
They called the SPCA.
Yesterday, SPCA Police Officer Leonard Knox testified in court that when he investigated that June 7 morning, he found emaciated pit bulls, some with open wounds and some with old wounds, kept in filthy kennels that smelled of "strong ammonia" from the urine inside.
He also found a small scale used to weigh dogs and medications "used for healing wounds and sores." Further, he saw, hanging on a wall, leashes, collars and a break stick - typically used to release a dog's biting grip on another dog.
Knox, who has investigated 500 or more animal-fighting cases, said that he determined the pit bulls were being bred "for fighting."
After hearing the testimony, Municipal Court Judge Harvey Robbins held Sidney Prosser, 36, of Willard Street near G, for trial on the charge of animal fighting, a third-degree felony. Prosser owns the dogs and lives in the house where they were found.
Prosser was not the man wanted on an attempted-murder charge. Detectives had been looking for his girlfriend's son, Bryant "Bow Wow" Grinnage, Detective Phil Nordo of the East Detective Division said after Prosser's preliminary hearing.
Knox also testified yesterday under questioning by prosecutor Derek Riker that when he went to Prosser's house to investigate that June day, Prosser told him he was a breeder. Prosser showed him breeders certificates, which showed the dogs' pedigrees.
Defense attorney John Garagozzo argued that other than Knox's "belief," there was "nothing else that shows these dogs were raised or bred for fighting."
Prosser, who is out on bail, told a reporter after the hearing, held in the police building on Whitaker Avenue near Erie: "I don't breed them for fighting," but as "a hobby."
He said the dogs' wounds came from their getting out of the "crates" on their own and fighting among themselves. When that happens, he needs to break them apart, he said.
Coincidentally, half a block from Prosser's house, also on Willard Street, authorities in February discovered evidence of a bloody dogfighting ring in an abandoned house.
Barry White, 33, pleaded guilty Oct. 16 in Common Pleas Court to animal-cruelty charges in relation to that dogfighting ring and 12 pit bulls found in his Madison Street house, which is right behind the abandoned property on Willard Street. White's stepfather, Joseph Roberts, 45, still faces a trial in that case.
Nordo, of East Detectives, said yesterday "there is no link" to the pit bulls found in Prosser's home and the dogfighting ring in White's case.
|A Kensington man who had insisted he bred pit bulls as a hobby - despite evidence that investigators found last fall implicating him in dogfighting schemes - did an about-face this week and pleaded guilty to owning the animals for fighting.|
Sidney Prosser, 37, was sentenced Tuesday to six to 23 months of work release and three years' probation for keeping 22 dogs for fighting purposes.
Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter also ordered that Prosser surrender his dogs to the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and that he pay the PSPCA $5,000 in restitution for housing them since animal-cruelty investigators removed them from Prosser's home on June 7.
Carpenter also forbade Prosser from owning more than one dog during his probation.
Authorities discovered Prosser's dogfighting operation in June after police went to his home on Willard Street near G looking for his girlfriend's son, who was wanted in an attempted-murder case. They didn't find him but discovered 22 pit bulls in the basement and alerted the PSPCA.
PSPCA investigators said most of the animals were emaciated and kept in filthy kennels that reeked of urine. Many bore open wounds and old scars, typical on dogs used in illegal dogfights. They also found dogfighting gear, including scales, medications, leashes, weighted collars and a break stick (an implement used to break a dog's biting grip on another dog).
Prosser admitted to authorities that he had bred the dogs, but told a Daily News reporter in October that he had done so "as a hobby." Their wounds, he contended, occurred when they escaped from their crates and fought each other.
The dogs remain in PSPCA care, undergoing medical and behavioral evaluations.
Prosser had faced up to seven years in prison for dogfighting. Still, PSPCA chief executive Howard Nelson applauded the sentence.
"Dogfighting is a heinous crime, and we are extremely pleased that Mr. Prosser is being held accountable for the cruelty he inflicted upon those dogs." *
|Source: Philadelphia Daily News - April 18, 2008|
Update posted on Apr 18, 2008 - 10:41PM
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