Case Snapshot
Case ID: 13181
Classification: Fighting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Lewis Brandes
Defense(s): Thomas Higgins
Judge(s): John S. Leonardo, Michael J. Cruikshank


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Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008

County: Pima

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 2 files available

Defendants/Suspects:
» Mahlon Patrick - Acquitted
» Emily E. Dennis - Acquitted
» Robert Clayton Smith
» Terry Lee Williams - Dismissed
» Zenaida Yvonne Verdin
» Juan Rudolfo Verdin

Case Updates: 13 update(s) available

At least 150 dogs have been seized, three people arrested and five others detained in what investigators are calling one of the largest fight-dog breeding operations in the nation.

Pima County Sheriff's SWAT deputies raided four locations Tuesday morning as part of a yearlong investigation into illegal dogfighting in the metro area, spokeswoman Deputy Dawn Hanke said.

The majority of the dogs - 110 - were seized at a residence in the 12000 block of W. Orange Grove Road.

Deputies arrested Mahlon Patrick who is considered one of the top three breeders of fight dogs in the country, said John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for the Humane Society of the United States.

"We have dismantled a group of people at the upper echelon of dogfighting," he said. "This man has been involved for decades."

The investigation began in March into a suspected dogfighting ring in the Tucson area, based on information provided by the Humane Society of the United States.

The searches were conducted after warrants were obtained by investigators.

In addition to the dogs seized, detectives took training materials and a "rape stand" device used in breeding female pitbulls.
Marsh Myers, director of community outreach for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, said 99 percent of the seized dogs are pitbulls.

Each animal has to be analyzed for scars, tattoos and missing teeth, and investigators estimate it will take three days to process all the dogs taken from the Orange Grove address.


Case Updates

A 57-year-old Pima County resident accused of running a dog-fighting ring pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.
Robert Clayton Smith admitted he didn’t take one of his pit bulls to the dentist even though the dog’s teeth were rotting. As a result, he will either be placed on probation or given up to six months in jail by Pima County Superior Court Judge Christopher Browning.
Smith was indicted in March 2008 on two counts of dog fighting, which is a felony, and 15 counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor. All of those charges were dismissed Monday in exchange for Smith’s guilty plea.
According to the indictment, Smith and his co-defendant, Terry Williams, knowingly “owned, possessed, kept or trained” dogs with the intention of fighting them. The indictment also accused the two men of inflicting “unnecessary physical injury” to 15 dogs.
Pima County Animal Care Center seized 22 dogs from Smith at the time of his arrest and all of the dogs were euthanized last year.
The entire case was “about killing the dogs,” Smith’s attorney, Joe Heinzl, said following Monday’s hearing.
“There’s a huge misconception in this society about the American pit bull in general,” Heinzl said. “People who have multiple pit bulls are being painted with a broad brush, like they’re Michael Vick.”
Vick, an NFL quarterback, was convicted in August 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation and sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. He is now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Smith’s charges were based entirely on the “single vague statement of an informant,” Heinzl said.
“He’s basically been bankrupted and his dogs were destroyed by the government, the government that was trying to save the dogs from abuse,” Heinzl said, using his fingers to draw imaginary quote marks around the word “save.”
Smith is disabled and simply couldn’t afford the $35 a day per dog fee it would have cost to board them during the duration of his case, Heinzl said.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Lewis Brandes said the dogs were kept alive for several months, but ultimately were deemed unadoptable, either because of their viciousness or health issues. Some clearly showed claw and bite marks, Brandes said.
Smith was offered the plea agreement because of Smith’s declining health; he has been in and out of the hospital since his arrest, Brandes said.
Because of Smith’s health he was allowed to enter his guilty plea telephonically. If he is well enough to come to court, his sentencing will be Nov. 9. He told Browning his doctors want him to move to a nursing home.
The charges against Williams were dismissed because authorities didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove he either owned the property or the dogs, Brandes said.
Source: AZstarnet.com - Sep 14, 2009
Update posted on Sep 24, 2009 - 3:23PM 
It was a major investigation -- a team of agencies working together for over a year to bust an alleged dog fighting ring in February of 2008. But when it seemed the Southern Arizona Case was long over, a development in the case shocked even some detectives.

It is a rare look inside the underground world of dogfighting.

"Unless you know someone in the business, you would not have access to this magazine," says Dawn Barkman of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Just some of the many pieces of evidence, found during a major raid at a home in Avra Valley in 2008 and used to help charge the owners Juan and Zeida Verdin with animal cruelty. The Verdins were accused of breeding and selling dogs to fight, and they later pled guilty to animal cruelty and received probation.

The pit bulls' fate was much different. 90 of the 150 dogs were euthanized, deemed too aggressive to rehabilitated. Now more than a year later, the tools that trained them to be agressive are going right back to those charged with doing it.

"The detective told me she has never seen an order like this from a judge, to give dog fighting evidence back to a person who has pled guilty."

The judge in the case ordered the prosecution and the detectives to hand over tie-out chains and exercise jennies -- dog fighting training devices. Animal cruelty investigators say tie-out chains are used to discourage socialization and keep dogs separated. Exercise jennies are like horse walkers. A dog is tied to one part of the wheel while a live kitten or other bait is put on the other end. The dog runs non stop trying to get the bait it will never catch. When exercise is over they are given the bait.

Both are designed to create the desire for blood, and both are going back to those who pled guilty to animal abuse. Also going back -- the method to sell the dogs that are trained to fight.

"When people want to buy a dog they go through this magazine and they choose the dog. "

Although they are getting some of their items back, the Verdins remain on their 3-year probation in which they are not allowed to own animals.

Dogfighting is a felony. If you suspect dog fighting in your neighborhood, call the dogfighting tip line: 1-877-TIP-HSUS (4787).

You can remain anonymous. There's a five thousand dollar reward if your tip leads an to an arrest of a dogfighter.
Source: kold.com - Aug 13, 2009
Update posted on Aug 14, 2009 - 4:16PM 
Pima County is trying to seize land belonging to an Avra Valley woman found not guilty in November of breeding pit bulls for dog fighting.

The Pima County Attorney's Office is pursuing civil forfeiture proceedings against two properties, one in Picture Rocks and the other in Cochise County, owned by Emily Dennis, a woman who was accused last year of breeding dogs for dog fighting rings.

County officials say just because Dennis was acquitted of the charges doesn't mean she wasn't breaking the law.

Dennis was arrested in February 2008 as part of a major investigation by the Pima County Sheriff's Office and the Humane Society of the United States into a multi-state dog fighting ring. Officers raided four separate properties, seized hundreds of dogs and arrested six people, including Dennis.

But Dennis and her partner Mahlon Patrick were acquitted by Judge John Leonardo in November. Leonardo said the Web site maintained by their kennel would have reached people interested in fighting dogs but there was not enough evidence the two knew their dogs would be used for fighting.

At trial, lawyers for the two said they raised pit bulls because they loved the breed.

The two properties the county attorney's office is trying to seize are Dennis' home and kennel in Picture Rocks, which is in Dennis' mother's name, and a property on South Kansas Settlement Road in Cochise County.

Reached by phone, Dennis said the forfeiture procedure was an abuse of power and the county should leave her alone now that she's been acquitted. But she did not want to be interviewed further because she feels much of the coverage of her arrest and trial was biased.

Dennis and Patrick also have filed a claim against Pima County seeking more than $1 million in compensation for their dogs. The county seized 110 pit bulls from Dennis and Patrick. The claim puts the value of each dog at $10,000.

The county did not respond to a similar claim filed by Patrick before he was acquitted.
Source: Arizona Daily Star - March 22, 2009
Update posted on Mar 22, 2009 - 9:31PM 
A couple arrested in connection with an alleged dogfighting ring were sentenced to probation Wednesday morning in Pima County Superior Court.

Juan Verdin pleaded guilty to one count of attempted dogfighting while his wife, Zenaida Verdin, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

The charge against Juan Verdin was designated a misdemeanor and he was sentenced to 18 months of probation. He is not allowed to own or possess any animals of any sort during that time.

Zenaida Verdin was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation.

Juan Verdin was also sentenced on a child-abuse charge, which stems from images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts that had been downloaded onto his computer.

The images were found as authorities were searching his residence in connection with the dogfighting case. Juan Verdin said that his underage son downloaded the photos and admitted that he failed to supervise him.

That sentence was also for 18 months' probation and will run concurrent with the sentence for attempted dogfighting.

Deputies had begun investigating a possible dogfighting ring in March 2007 after officers in Chicago reported stopping a van carrying several fighting dogs and developed information leading to Tucson.

Pima County sheriff's deputies seized at least 150 dogs during raids, along with $10,000 in cash and more than 60 firearms.
Source: Arizona Daily Star - Nov 27, 2008
Update posted on Dec 1, 2008 - 11:57AM 
The trial for Robert Smith and Terry Williams has been set for February 10, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. in Division 22 in front of Judge Michael Cruikshank. The trial will be held in Pima Superior Court, located at 110 West Congress St. in Tucson.
Source: Pima Superior Court Case # CR2008-0908
Update posted on Nov 25, 2008 - 5:21PM 
A judge acquitted an Avra Valley couple accused of breeding pit bulls for illegal dogfighting, saying the prosecutor hadn't proved his case.

Judge John S. Leonardo delivered his verdict after a six-day trial in Pima County Superior Court, dismissing charges against Mahlon Thatcher Patrick and Emily Elizabeth Dennis, both 64. They had been charged with two counts of dogfighting and 21 counts of animal cruelty.

After the verdicts, Patrick consoled a sobbing Dennis. Both left court without comment.

Deputy County Attorney Lewis Brandes also left court without comment.

Defense attorney Thomas Higgins, Dennis' attorney, accused the Humane Society of the United States of storming into town and accusing the couple of illegal activity in the wake of the highly publicized dogfighting case of the NFL's Michael Vick.

"They've been there 30 years" without incident, Higgins said of Dennis and Patrick. "There's nothing there."

Leonardo said evidence showed that Patrick had been involved in dogfighting but stopped when it became illegal. He continued to breed dogs because he loved the breed.

Evidence, Leonardo said, indicated Patrick and Dennis wouldn't sell animals for dogfighting.

In addition to arresting Patrick and Dennis, deputies apprehended Robert Clayton Smith, 56; Terry Lee Williams, 53; Juan Rudolfo Verdin, 40; and Zenaida Yvonne Verdin, 40.

Juan Verdin recently pleaded guilty to attempted dogfighting; his wife, Zenaida, pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals. Leonardo is set to sentence them Wednesday.

Smith and Williams are scheduled for a jury trial in February before Judge Michael J. Cruikshank.
Source: Tucson Valley - Nov 20, 2008
Update posted on Nov 20, 2008 - 10:53PM 
A Tucson man indicted by separate grand juries on child pornography and animal cruelty charges pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to the child pornography case.

Juan Verdin, 40, was indicted on 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in May after detectives investigating him for dogfighting found several images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts on his computer.

On Thursday, Verdin told Pima County Superior Court Judge John Leonardo the images were downloaded by an underage son. He pleaded guilty to child abuse, acknowledging that he failed to supervise that son.

As a result of his guilty plea, Deputy Pima County Attorney Lewis Brandes said Verdin could be placed on probation or receive up to two years' probation.

Verdin and his wife, Zenaida Verdin, will be back in court next week for their trial on dogfighting and animal cruelty charges.

According to Star archives, the Verdins were arrested at a property on West Indian Kitchen Road, west of Sahuarita, in February.

According to authorities, deputies began investigating a possible dogfighting ring in March 2007.

Officers in Chicago contacted the Pima County Sheriff's Department after they stopped a van carrying several fighting dogs and developed information leading to Tucson.

Pima County sheriff's deputies seized at least 150 dogs during raids on Feb. 19, along with $10,000 in cash and more than 60 firearms varying from revolvers to assault-type guns, officials said.

The Verdins were indicted along with Mahlon Thatcher Patrick, 63, and Emily Elizabeth Dennis, 63.

The Verdins are each facing two counts of dogfighting, 10 counts of animal cruelty and 16 counts of failure to obtain license.

Patrick and Dennis, who are scheduled to go to trial next month, are each charged with two counts of dogfighting and 21 counts of animal cruelty.

Leonardo is presiding over both trials and will determine the parties guilt or innocence since they waived their right to a jury trial.

The Verdins and Patrick filed claims of nearly $4 million against Pima County in August.

According to the claim, Patrick wants $10,000 apiece for the 110 pit bull terriers that were seized and euthanized by county officials. He also wants lost wages from the "highly inflammatory slander" associated with the raids and arrests in February.

In her claim, Zenaida Verdin cites a $10,000 value for each of 14 pit bull terriers and two miniature dachshunds seized from their property. She also cites more than $700,000 in lost wages and retirement money because she lost her job at a rehabilitation center. She asked the county to settle the issue with $948,384.

Juan Verdin's claim also cites the 16 dogs at $10,000 each plus nearly $2 million in lost wages.

Claims are precursors to lawsuits. No lawsuit has yet been filed by the Verdins or Patrick.
Source: AZStar - Oct 17, 2008
Update posted on Oct 17, 2008 - 2:13AM 
Over 100 of the dogs confiscated from the raids on 4 homes in Pima County, AZ were euthanized on May 1, 2008 at Pima Animal Care. Of the 147 confiscated, only 17 were taken by animal rescue groups. The rest were considered too dangerous for adoption.
Source: KVOA News 4, May 1, 2008
Update posted on May 5, 2008 - 11:39AM 
Juan Verdin was indicted May 2, 2008 on 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under age 15, according to Deputy County Attorney, Susan Eazer. Charges stem from evidence gathered in connection with Verdin's involvement in the alleged dog fighting ring that was raided in Pima County, AZ, on February 19, 2008. The sexual exploitation charges come after police found 11 images that were either filmed, photographed, developed, duplicated, or recorded by Verdin; the images were graphic depictions of minors engaged in sexual acts, some with other minors and some with adults. All of the subjects in the images were described as minors under age 15, and one was described as an infant. Each count is listed as a crime against children. Source: Arizona Daily Star, May 2, 2008.
Source: Arizona Daily Star, May 2, 2008
Update posted on May 4, 2008 - 7:27PM 
Six people arrested last month after a county-wide raid by the Pima County Sheriff's Department have been indicted on multiple charges pertaining to an alleged dog-fighting ring.

A Pima County grand jury indicted the group on a total of 69 felony and misdemeanor counts alleging animal cruelty, dog fighting and failure to obtain licenses on Monday. The indictments were released late Thursday.

The indictments allege the dog-fighting ring operated in Pima County between Jan. 1, 2000, and Feb. 19, 2008.

Named in the indictment were: Mahlon Thatcher Patrick, 63, Emily Elizabeth Dennis, 63, Terry Williams, 52, Robert Clayton Smith, 55, Juan Rudolfo Verdin, 39, and Zenaida Yvonne Verdin, 35.

Patrick, Dennis and Smith are accused of allowing the training to take place on their property.

According to authorities, deputies began investigating a possible ring last March after they received tips from Chicago police and the Humane Society of the United States.

Officers in Chicago stopped a van carrying several fighting dogs and they developed information that led them to Tucson.

Pima County sheriff's deputies seized at least 150 dogs during raids on Feb. 19, along with $10,000 in cash and more than 60 firearms varying from revolvers to assault-type guns, officials said.

Smith's attorney, Roberta Jensen, has said her client is innocent until proven guilty and yet the media are treating all of the defendants as though they are guilty.

Patrick's attorney, Mark Resnick, said his client simply sells pit bull puppies because he loves the breed. In fact, Resnick says, buyers are required to sign a contract stating the dogs won't be used for fighting.

The Pima County Attorney's Office requested bail of $500,000 for each of the six arrested. But City Magistrate Michael Lex released four on their own recognizance. Two others were released without having to post bail, but were placed under the supervision of Pretrial Services.

All six defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Pima County Superior Court on Monday.
Source: AZStar - March 14, 2008
Update posted on Mar 14, 2008 - 2:10PM 
SWAT teams raided four homes late last month and arrested members of an allegedly powerful ring of breeders accused of raising pitt bulls for blood sport.

Now, three weeks later, the alleged breeders have officially been charged.

On Tuesday, February 19, officers raided one home in the city and three in the surrounding Pima County area. They found about 150 dogs - many baring the scars of dog fighting - more than 50 guns and thousands of dollars in cash.

Officers made six arrests, including a man authorities say is one of the top three fight dog breeders in the nation: Mahlon Patrick. The six were released hours later with orders not to return to the raided properties.

The prosecution has been building their case these past three weeks. And after an investigation that took nearly a year to lead to the arrests, the state has now offically indicted the suspects.

Mahlon Patrick is charged with two counts of dogfighting and 21 counts of animal cruelty. John Goodwin, with the Humane Society of the United States, says Patrick has been in the dog fighting business since the 70s. "[He] was known worldwide for two blood lines he originated. Two blood lines of fighting dogs. They go under the names Tombstone and Bolio," Goodwin said.

Goodwin adds, these dogs are highly sought after for their stamina and fighting skills, ranging in prices from the thousands to the tens of thousands of dollars.

"This world of dog fighting that so few people know very much about at all is really organized crime," Goodwin said.

Also charged is Terry "T.L." Williams. Goodwin says Williams ran the online registry for the operation. Now he's charged with one count of dogfighting and 24 counts of animal cruelty.

"All American Dog Registry was pit bull only," Goodwin tells us. "It wasn't the normal pit bull owners that were using them. It was dog fighters." Goodwin says dog fight breeders use the site to get the registration papers to prove the dog's bloodline.

There are four more players in this alleged ring. Robert Clayton Smith is charged with one count of dogfighting and 24 counts of animal cruelty.

Emily Dennis is charged with two counts of dogfighting and 21 counts of animal cruelty.

Juan Verdeen is charged with two counts of dogfighting, 11 counts of animal cruelty and 16 counts of failure to obtain licenses.

Zenaida Verdeen is charged with two counts of dogfighting, 11 counts of animal cruelty and 16 counts of failure to obtain licenses.

All told, that's 10 counts of dogfighting, 112 counts of animal cruelty and 32 licensing violations. The suspects are scheduled for arraignment on March 17.
Source: KVOA - March 11, 2008
Update posted on Mar 11, 2008 - 5:23PM 
Six people suspected of supplying dogs to organized dog-fighting rings across the U.S. have been released from the Pima County jail without having to post bail.

The Pima County Attorney's Office requested bail of $500,000 for each of the six arrested in a countywide raid Tuesday, but City Magistrate Michael Lex declined to impose any bail.

Lex agreed with a Pretrial Services recommendation that four of the defendants be released on their own recognizance and two should be monitored by Pretrial Services, officials said Thursday.

Pretrial Services, which reviews defendants' eligibility for release, found the six accused have lived in Tucson an average of 28 years and therefore aren't considered flight risks.

Authorities began investigating the ring last March after they received tips from Chicago police and the Humane Society.

Officers in Chicago stopped a van carrying several fighting dogs and they developed information that led them to Tucson.

During the raid, investigators seized approximately 150 dogs, $10,000 in cash and more than 60 firearms varying from revolvers to assault-type guns, authorities said.
Source: KTAR - Feb 22, 2008
Update posted on Feb 23, 2008 - 2:25AM 
Pima County sheriff's deputies seized at least 150 dogs and made six arrests Tuesday in raids across the metro area targeting dog breeders suspected of links to organized dogfighting operations across the country.

Those arrested include Mahlon T. Patrick, 63, a man believed to be among the top three breeders of fighting dogs in the country, investigators said at a morning press conference.

Members of the Sheriff's Department SWAT unit made the arrest at a site near West Orange Grove and North Sandario roads, in the Picture Rocks area, just one-half mile from a Sheriff's Department substation. Deputies also arrested Emily E. Dennis, 63, on suspicion of animal cruelty.

Deputies found 110 dogs there, at least 10 of which required immediate medical attention for infections of their feet from standing in their own waste, along with other health problems.

Deputies also seized more than 50 weapons and a "rape stand" used for breeding dogs.

The dogs are being held as evidence in the case, which began last March when Chicago police stopped a van carrying several fighting dogs. Their investigation developed information leading to Tucson.

Around the same time, the Sheriff's Department received information from the Humane Society of the United States, which monitors dogfighting operations.

Investigators tracked dogfighting Web sites, chat rooms and underground magazines to develop evidence that the dog breeders, two of whom had kennel licenses, were involved in selling dogs for fights.

Pima County officials said the dogs will be kept at secure, undisclosed locations as the case proceeds. The animals needing medical care are being treated. The Pima Animal Care Center, which sent 10 animal-control officers on the raids, will evaluate each dog individually. Some may be eligible for adoption, but many will be euthanized.

Deputies found another 40 dogs at two other properties, one in Avra Valley and the other west of Sahuarita, near South Mission and West Helmet Peak roads.

In a coordinated move, the Tucson Police Department raided an East Side home where it arrested Robert C. Smith, 55, the owner of the Avra Valley property, and Terry Williams, 52. They also seized weapons, fight-training equipment and a large amount of cash.

Both Patrick and Smith have kennel licenses, officials said.

Deputies arrested Juan Verdin, 39, and his wife, Zenaida Verdin, 35, at a property on West Indian Kitchen Road, the one west of Sahuarita. The Verdins did not have a kennel license.

All were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and involvement in dogfighting. At least two other people are in custody.

At least 10 of the dogs showed signs of being fighting dogs. They had scars from old injuries on their faces, necks and front legs. One had signs of a broken jaw that healed poorly, and several were missing teeth.

Investigators said they had no information about dogfighting occurring in Pima County and believe these operations focused on breeding and training.

John Goodwin, manager of animal-fighting issues for the Humane Society of the United States, said almost all of the 40,000 people nationally involved in the "upper echelons" of dogfighting get their animals from sophisticated breeding operations, similar to what deputies believe they discovered Tuesday. These operations guarantee dogs descended from top fighters, dogs that can keep fighting for hours, even when severely injured.

At least one Pima County dog was featured in an underground dogfighting magazine, though investigators have yet to identify him among the 150 animals seized.

A fighting dog from a champion lineage can fetch up to $10,000, Goodwin said.

Goodwin said Tuesday's raids are likely to hamper dogfighting operations around the country as the supply of new fighting dogs shrinks.

Dogfighting experts from the Humane Society accompanied detectives as they walked through the property to help them identify evidence, including training equipment such as treadmills; antibiotics and other veterinary supplies; money-transfer receipts; and other financial records.

Sgt. Terry Parish, head of the Sheriff's Department's Community Problems Unit, which includes the Animal Abuse Task Force, said it will take several days for detectives to process all the evidence, and financial and computer records may lead them to other breeders or dogfighters.

"We had enough evidence to get the search warrants today," Parish said. "Now the hard part starts. Today's the day we take them to jail. Keeping them there is the hard part, and that's our detective work."

Parish said the breeding operations were not working together and may even have been competitors, but they may have moved in similar circles.

Parish said organized dogfighting has links to other criminal enterprises, including weapons, drugs and illegal gambling.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no drugs had been found on the four properties, but Parish said the quantity of weapons found on the West Orange Grove property indicates weapons may have been traded for dogs.

The Orange Grove property housed several trailers and a small barn for breeding, as well as rows and rows of kennels on concrete pads. There was a strong odor throughout the property, and many kennels were full of waste.

Many dogs jumped against the chain-link walls of their kennels and whimpered for human touch, while a few slinked away to the backs of their cages.

Many fighting dogs are friendly to people but cannot have contact with other dogs. Several very young puppies were in a cage together without their mother. Parish said the mother could not be left with her puppies because the dogs are trained to be so aggressive that the mothers might harm their own offspring. Dog milk was found in a refrigerator.

At the Avra Valley property, many of the dogs were chained outside, each in its own circle. Many of the dogs licked the hands of deputies and animal-control officers, and wagged their tails. The property, set amid a small neighborhood of mobile homes with tidy, landscaped yards, was clean.

Jay Sabatucci, a program manager with the Humane Society of the United States and an expert in dogfighting operations, accompanied investigators on the raid on the Avra Valley property. He said the operation was well-run, noting that most of the dogs were in good condition.

"This is their money, so they are well-cared-for here," he said. "The cruelty is in the fighting, not in how they are kept."

But one very timid neutered male with substantial scarring was kept in a cage covered by metal sheets that showed dents from the impact of BB pellets that investigators believe were fired at the cage to torment the animal.

Since Friday, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, in Tucson, has accepted 19 dogs from Pima Animal Care to make room for animals seized in Tuesday's raids, and is prepared to take more. Pima Animal Care also modified 21 kennels at its shelter to house the dogs individually. However, most of the dogs will be kept at a remote site. The shelter houses 200 to 300 animals on any given day, often two to three dogs in a kennel, making it impossible to house another 150 dogs there safely.
Source: Arizona Star - Feb 20, 2008
Update posted on Feb 25, 2008 - 8:42PM 

References

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