Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5549
Classification: Fighting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Saturday, Sep 10, 2005

County: Livingston

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Robert Dewey Chapman, II - Alleged
» Dante Lamont Effinger

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Ten men were arrested as a result of a dog-fight alleged to have occurred in Livingston County late by Livingston County Sheriff's Police from late Sept 10 to early Sept 11. All but one of the men were from Detroit, Mich., and Chicago.

The one local man arrested is Robert Dewey Chapman II, 32, of 5905 East 1100 North, Gridley. Livingston County court records indicate that this address is in Livingston County.

Eight of those arrested were charged by sheriff's police with attending a dog fight and posted bond and were released from the Livingston County Jail.

Livingston County Assistant State's Attorney Carey Luckman said in court that police from a special operations unit of Cook County police followed vehicles from the Chicago area to Livingston County and to the site of Chapman's residence.

Chapman is charged is charged with a Class Four felony of providing a facility, a building on the premises of his property for the purpose of conducting an activity involving a fight between two or more dogs and knowing that the building would be used for this purpose in violation of Illinois Statutes.

Luckman said that Chapman is also charged with obstructing justice, a Class Four felony in that he with the intent to obstruct the criminal prosecution of himself, for offenses involving dog fighting or other mistreatment of dogs, knowingly concealed physical evidence by burning said physical evidence.

"In other words, Mr. Chapman burned the body of a dog and the floor covering on which it had been killed to prevent such physical evidence from being recovered by police who were on the scene," said Luckman.

Luckman also told Circuit Judge Harold Frobish that Chapman has a previous conviction from 1997 in McLean County for aggravated cruelty to animals.

"Mr. Chapman you will be facing up to three years in prison for each of these felonies if you are convicted. I am setting your bond at $50,000 and will appoint as Jim Casson as your public defender," said Frobish.

The other person charged with felony counts from the weekend is Dante Lamont Effinger, 33, of Detroit.

He is charged with two counts of transporting a dog for dog fighting.

When police stopped Effinger's 2000 GMC Yukon sports utility vehicle near Chapman's residence he is alleged to have had a tan or light brown bull terrier in the vehicle and a dark colored or black bull terrier in the vehicle.

Luckman said Effinger was the driver of the SUV when it left the building and after police sopped it they found the two dogs in cages in it and the cages were separated by a blanket.

"The dark animal was laying still, as if exhausted," Luckman said, and it had fresh facial wounds typical of those sustained by fighting dogs.

When an officer removed the blanket so the dogs could be treated, Luckman said, "the dogs immediately went into the fight mode trying to bite through the wire of the cages separating them."

Effinger's bail was set at $25,000. Personnel from the jail said that Effinger was released Monday after posting $2,500 bond.

Both men are scheduled for court appearances on Sept. 19.

Livingston County Sheriff Robert McCarty said after Monday's hearing that a total of 14 bull terrier dogs were confiscated from this incident and that all of them are being cared for by the Livingston County Humane Society.

McCarty and Luckman both also said that the investigation into this incident is continuing.


Case Updates

A Michigan man was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in a dogfight near Gridley.

Dante L. Effinger, 33 of Detroit, Mich., pleaded guilty to two counts of transporting two dogs believed to be used in fighting in December. Livingston County Circuit Judge Harold Frobish sentenced Effinger to a year with the Department of Correction for the two Class 4 felonies.

"It is reasonable to conclude you understood the dogs would be tortured and perhaps killed," Frobish said to Effinger. "An appropriate sentence is needed to deter others from committing the same crime."

The year sentence was requested by Assistant State's Attorney Carey Luckman.

Effinger was pulled over by authorities in September after he was seen leaving a site believed to be used for dog fighting in rural Gridley.

Cook County authorities investigating dog fighting followed suspects from Chicago to a home at 5905 East 1100 North Road, rural Gridley. Officials broke up the dog fighting and made 10 arrests, police said.

Police searched Effinger's sport utility vehicle and found two dogs caged in the back.

When police removed a blanket that covered the cages, the dogs tried to fight each other through the cages, which is common among dogs trained to fight, authorities said.

Effinger, who also pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of attending a dogfight, also will have to pay more than $2,500 in fines.

He could be released sooner if he receives credit for good behavior.

Effinger's wife also was allowed to regain possession on the 2000 GMC Yukon which was used to transport the dogs. Luckman wanted the vehicle to be seized by the county, but it was titled in the wife's name.

Luckman did not know the status of the two dogs that were taken from Effinger's vehicle. He said they were both "problematic."

The property owner, Robert D. Chapman II, 32, of Gridley, also faces several charges in the incident, including allowing people use buildings on his property to fight dogs and destroying evidence. He is set for trial in April.
Source: Pantagraph - Feb 23, 2006
Update posted on Mar 6, 2006 - 3:07PM 
A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to transporting dogs for fighting in Livingston County.
Dante L. Effinger, 33 of Detroit, Mich., entered a blind plea on two counts of transporting two dogs believed to be used in fighting, which is a Class 4 felony. He also pleaded guilty of attending a dog fight, which is a misdemeanor.

On Sept. 10 and 11, 2005, Cook County authorities followed people believed to be involved in dog fighting to a home at 5905 East 1100 North Road, rural gridley. Officials broke up the dog fighting and made 10 arrests, police said.

The property owner, Robert D. Chapman II, 32, of Gridley, also faces several charges in the incident, including allowing people use buildings on his property to fight dogs and destroying evidence. Chapman is set to have a bench trail in February, 2006.
Effinger was stopped while he was leaving the property. Police searched his sport utility vehicle and found two dogs caged in the back. When police removed a blanket that covered the cages, the dogs tried to fight each other through the cages, which is common among dogs trained to fight, authorities said. One of the dogs looked to be exhausted and had fresh wounds on its face.
Effinger is due back in court in February 2006 for sentencing. A blind plea means the person admits guilt without a prearranged sentencing arrangement. At the same hearing, the court will review a request to have his vehicle forfeited. Authorities can seize vehicles used in certain crimes.

Of the 10 men arrested, all were from Chicago or Detroit, Mich., except for Chapman. Most were charged with attending a dog fight, which is a misdemeanor. Authorities also seized 14 dogs in the incident. One was returned to Chapman, who said it was a family pet.
Source: Pantagraph News - December 24, 2005
Update posted on Dec 24, 2005 - 7:47AM 
A rural Gridley man who faces dog fighting-related charges agreed to forfeit 11 of his 12 pit bulls, with one dog to be returned to his wife after payment of $963 to Livingston County Animal Control, according to an agreement signed Monday in Livingston County Circuit Court.

What will become of the 11 dogs still under the care of animal control remains undecided, a prosecutor indicated.

According to the forfeiture agreement, Robert Dewey Chapman II, 32, of 5905 East 1100 North Road, Gridley, will forfeit the dogs, which police seized from his house or property, with the expenses for their continuing care a possible subject for a later court hearing.

The forfeiture order was signed Monday in a courtroom by Chapman and his wife, Maria, and was approved by Associate Judge Jennifer Bauknecht. Maria Chapman faces no criminal charges, but was listed as a respondent in the forfeiture agreement.

First Assistant State's Attorney Carey Luckman, summarizing the agreement, which he drew up, to area media, said that 11-year-old Zeke could be returned to Maria Chapman, as a household pet. The usual procedures will be followed as in any dog adoption from the Livingston County Humane Society, including registration, a rabies vaccination, neutering and implantation of a microchip ID, Luckman said.

The fate of the 11 dogs forfeited Monday will be determined by their physical condition and how they react to other dogs and to people, Luckman said. Animal Control has had them long enough to observe their behavior for future decisions on whether they can be adopted, turned over to rescue groups or are "too far gone as fighters" and may have to be euthanized, he suggested.

Chapman and nine others were arrested by Livingston County Sheriff's Police on Sept. 12. The others were from Detroit or Chicago. Police from a special operations unit of Cook County police followed vehicles from the Chicago area to Livingston County and to the site of Chapman's property, where a building was allegedly the site of dog fighting.

The forfeiture agreement describes three of the dogs as "young." Two others are listed as 1 to 2 years old, one dog is described as "older appearing," and one is listed as approximately 8 weeks old. No age description is given for the other forfeited dogs.

Both Chapmans forfeit ownership of the dogs, which are placed in "the custody and possession" of Animal Control for disposition according to the Humane Care for Animals Act, the agreement says.

The return of Zeke to Maria Chapman, according to the agreement, is upon payment of the $963, which includes 50 days of boarding at $15 per day and $120 for neutering. The return is also on the basis of the dog's being treated "as a family companion animal" and not as a fighting dog, the agreement specifies.

In answering a reporter's question, Luckman said it is "reasonable" to believe that Chapman's jury trial will take place, as scheduled, in January. He faces two Class 4 felony counts: providing a facility for dog fighting and obstructing justice. The obstructing charge alleges that Chapman burned the body of a dog to prevent it from being recovered by police as evidence of offenses involving dog fighting "or other mistreatment of dogs."
Source: Pontiac Daily Leader - Nov 1 2005
Update posted on Nov 2, 2005 - 8:01AM 

References


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