RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There was a major takedown Monday of an interstate dogfighting ring that operated on Long Island, in New York City, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ten people are under arrest and 89 dogs have been rescued.READ MORE: Join Us For Our Candidate Conversation With Gov. Phil Murphy Tonight At 7 p.m. On CBSN New York
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, evidence that was seized in the operation paints a shocking picture of alleged animal abuse.
It was a dreadful display of tools of torture used, say Suffolk prosecutors, to train dogs to fight to the death. Weighted collars, treadmills with chains, do-it-yourself surgical supplies, and torture contraptions, says Suffolk DA Tim Sini who worked with the NYPD, Suffolk and State Police to infiltrate one of the largest dogfighting rings in the region’s history.
“A criminal network breeded and kept dogs, and tortured them, and put them in serious harm’s way to make a buck,” Sini said.
Sini described what he called a horrifying cycle of brutality, beginning with the forced breeding of the most aggressive bloodlines, then a lifetime of abuse to create vicious fighters.
“These are defenseless animals that are bred for one purpose, to kill or be killed for the mere entertainment of these depraved individuals,” Sini said.
“Their life was one of brutality and wretched cruelty,” said Suffolk County Police Acting Commissioner Stuart Cameron.
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Officials called it a sick underground network where dogs were killed with inhumane methods if they were not champion fighters.
The fights were allegedly hosted at homes like one in Mastic and Uniondale. Gusoff asked one occupant for comment and was cursed at.
Neighbors say they heard nothing out of the ordinary.
“I never hear nothing… I see only two dogs,” one neighbor said.
An attorney for two of the ten men arrested say police seized a beloved family pet.
“One hundred percent maintain their innocence in this matter.” said defense attorney Bob Macaconio.
Officials say they rescued 89 dogs, mostly pit bulls, who will now receive special care.
“We truly hope that the majority will be able to find happy and safe homes,” said Elizabeth Brandler of the ASPCA.
Defendants face up to four years on the dogfighting charges. The DA is empaneling a grand jury to strengthen the laws.MORE NEWS: Gabby Petito's Death Prompts Nassau County To Expand 'Safe Dates Initiative' To Help Young People's Relationships
Officials say the disturbing case will deal a significant blow to the heartbreaking practice.