Over 80 dogs have been rescued from an illegal dogfighting operation that apparently spanned across numerous states.
According to police, the operation spanned across several areas in New York, including the city, as we all Connecticut and Massachusetts. ABC 7 reports that detectives infiltrated “the ring to bring it down from the inside.”
“The defendants, in this case, talked about torturing these animals, talking about how they’ve mistreated their dogs for weeks,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said on Monday.
Sini added that the prosecution has evidence that the suspects used electrocution on the pups and “rape stands,” also known as breeding stands, which immobilized the female dogs so that they could be bred. Authorities also found steroids, staplers, treadmills for training, and cramped kennels.
According to investigators, an opponent would partake in a buy-in fee and then enter their own dogs into a fight. Onlookers would bet on the pup they thought would win, then another dog would join the battle and fight until at least one dog was killed or severely injured.
The defendants are accused of killing dogs who were injured and/or not a good match to win fights, MailOnline reports. The defendants also allegedly made money by breeding and selling puppies.
“Many of the dogs displayed various medical conditions consistent with dogfighting, including scarring and broken teeth, and were exhibiting fearful behavior,” the DA’s office said.
The suspects have been identified as:
- Charles Macwhinnie, 52, of Hampton Bays
- Darrel Madison, 44, of Mastic
- Edward Hodge, 74, of Uniondale
- Jeffrey Spencer, 65, of Wyandanch
- Jerome Chapman, 39, of Bay Shore
- Jontae Barker, 32, of Bay Shore
- Joseph Owens, 49, of Amityville
- Paul Whelan, 57, of Shirley
- Timothy Eury, 43, of Hempstead
- William Ashton–“Mr. Bill,” 80, of Mastic
Officials indicated that 81 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were found and seized in Long Island, New York. An additional eight dogs were seized in Connecticut. APSCA took the dogs to shelters, where they received medical treatment.
“The rescued dogs are now receiving specialized care with the hopes that many will be able to be adopted into safe and loving homes and become the happy and trusting animals they were always meant to be,” Elizabeth Brandler, with ASPCA, said.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has suspicions of dogfighting should call 631-382-7722 in Suffolk County and 516-843-7722 in Nassau County. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered if an arrest leads to a conviction.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Suffolk County District Attorney]