ELMONT, NY (CBSNewYork) – Two men have been indicted on felony animal cruelty charges for allegedly running a dog fighting operation.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said a grand jury indicted 25-year-old Marlon Bernier and 22-year-old Ricardo Louis.
Among other charges, the two were indicted on four counts of prohibition of animal fighting and conspiracy and two counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.
Rice said since at least May of 2010, Bernier and Louis have been running a dog fighting operation out of a home on Virginia Avenue in Elmont.
The prosecutor said the two were “training the dogs to fight, pitting them against one another, and breeding the strongest dogs” so their puppies could be sold online at BlueMagicPitz.webs.com for about $700 each.
“These two defendants turned animal cruelty into a lucrative business enterprise,” Rice said in the statement. “The injuries inflicted on these animals and the suffering they endured is shocking.”
Officials said nine dogs were taken from the home, many with fresh wounds, apparently from recent fights. Two of the dogs required immediate medical attention.
Rice said kennels were found in the backyard to house multiple dogs and said officials found “a freestanding basketball hoop which the defendants used as a ‘spring-pole’ apparatus to strengthen the pit bulls’ jaw muscles.”
Rice said the two would also post web videos of various dogs, their litters of puppies and dog training.
Watch a video prosecutors say is of the suspects using a “spring-pole” on one of the dogs below:
Rice said Bernier was prohibited from owning or keeping any animals after he was convicted last year of a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge for training pit bulls to fight and then using them to ”menace” police officers.
If convicted, both suspects face up to four years in prison. They’re due back in court August 10.
Nassau County District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Unit, Nassau police, Town of Hempstead Animal Control Department and the ASPCA all helped with the investigation.
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