Superintendent Charged with Running Massive Dog Fighting Ring in Apartment Building
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 25- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced that a grand jury has indicted building superintendent Raul Sanchez on numerous charges of animal fighting and cruelty, including the staging of dog fights, as well as breeding, training and selling dogs for the purpose of having them engage in fights.
This indictment is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department.
Sanchez, 57, of 1254 Sherman Avenue, the Bronx, has been charged with 63 counts of prohibition of animal fighting, 13 of which are felony offenses; 6 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals; 6 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The most serious offense, Prohibition of Animal Fighting, is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 4 years in prison.
The charges in this indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Sanchez, who was arrested on June 21, 2012, was arraigned on the indictment before State Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. Justice Villegas adjourned the case to August 3, 2012 in Part 60. Sanchez is being held in lieu of bail set at $50,000 cash or $25,000 bond.
It is alleged that the dogfights, as well as the breeding, training and selling of the animals occurred between October, 2011 and June, 2012 in the basement of 1254 Sherman Avenue. When investigators executed search warrants at that location on June 21, 2012 they recovered 50 Pit Bull terriers, six treadmills, several rubber tires, scales, and various medicines. Also recovered were a fighting ring and carpeting both of which were stained with blood. The dogs, found housed in cages which were stacked in a room at the rear of the basement, ranged in age from several weeks to five years and were in varying stages of health. Many of the animals had scars which were consistent with dog fighting.
The dogs were removed and placed in the custody and control of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where they are receiving medical treatment and being evaluated for adoption, if possible.
District Attorney Johnson thanked the following for their hard work during the nearly year-long investigation: Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Brandler of the Rackets Bureau, Detective Investigators Rocco Galasso and John Reilly of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, NYPD Detective John Zerafa of the Vice Enforcement Division, Major Case Bureau, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the not-for-profit animal welfare group United Action for Animals.