The ASPCA has released new photos from their rescue of nearly 100 dogs involved in a multi-state fighting ring.
The ASPCA tell KLTV these photos were taken during the seizure in Kansas City, Missouri on Sunday, March 24.
According to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, Pete Davis, Jr., 38 and Melvin Robinson, 41, both of Kansas City, were charged with one count of buying, selling, delivering or transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.
The Kansas City U.S. Attorney, Barry Grissom, said the dog fighting ring involved nearly 100 dogs, mostly pit bulls, and spanned over three states. The dogs were kept at their residences in Kansas City as well as a farm in Harrison County, Missouri. Davis and Robinson would transport the dogs to fights as far away as Dallas.
On Friday, March 22, investigators followed Robinson and Davis Jr. as they traveled to a location near Tyler for a dog fight.
Because it is an ongoing investigation, federal and East Texas authorities would not like KLTV to disclose the exact location, but KLTV can tell you it is off Hwy 110, northwest of Tyler.
Tim Rickey is the Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. He said the investigation included about five properties.
Rickey said authorities stopped the dog fight in Tyler before it started and rescued about 18 dogs.
Davis Jr. was arrested in Smith County. Robinson was arrested when he returned to Kansas City.
"All of the animals are going to have to be brought to the emergency shelter that the ASPCA set up. It is an undisclosed location and that's for the protection of the dogs and the responders that are on the ground providing care for them," Rickey explained.
"Dog fighting is not a sport, it is a crime," said Grissom. "Federal law prohibits cruelty to animals on the level of the events that are alleged in these charges."
Court documents reveal that an FBI investigation that began in November 2012 showed that the Robinson had a treadmill at his residence in Kansas City. He would place a harness on a dog and chain the harness to the treadmill for several hours at a time. The treadmill was equipped with a plywood box to keep the dog on the treadmill. Robinson also put weights on the dogs to strengthen them and would put live chickens in a cage in front of the treadmill as bait.
The duo discussed betting $20,000-$30,000 on a dog they were training for a fight on Saturday in Dallas, calling the fights "dog shows." Davis Jr. and Robinson held three fights involving six dogs in Missouri to prepare for the Dallas fight.
Rickey said the ASPCA will house all of the dogs over the next several months as this case makes its way through the criminal justice system.
The agency hopes that after several months of training and medical treatment , the dogs will be able to find new homes.
"In 2008, after the Michael Vick case, Congress increased the punishment for dog fighting," Grissom said. "What was a misdemeanor is now a felony with punishment up to five years."
If convicted, Davis Jr. and Robinson face a maximum penalty of five years in a federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
The following agencies participated in the investigation: The FBI, the Kansas City (KS) Police Department, the Harrison County (MO) Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety - Narcotics and Highway Patrol, East Texas HIDTA, the FBI Dallas Division - East Texas Resident Agencies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Game Wardens, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - OIG, the Lindale Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff's Office.
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