Cops bust dog-fighting ring
Search yields 27 pit bulls, manual, drugs, dog graves
September 13, 2008
BY KENDRICK MARSHALL firstname.lastname@example.org
ROUND LAKE BEACH -- Police uncovered an illegal dog-fighting operation at a house at 1624 Poplar Ave.
Moises Colon, 34, and Estella Gonzalez, 26, of that address were arrested and charged with dog fighting, aggravated cruelty and cruel treatment to animals after police discovered 27 pit bulls there Thursday.
Deputy Police Chief Rich Chiarello said authorities investigated claims of illegal activity at the property and then executed a search warrant.
Once inside the house, officers found a manual on dog fighting and numerous drugs used on the animals.
Investigators also found the remains of several dead dogs buried in the back yard.
"Also in the back yard was a wooded board suspended from a tree with bite marks," Chiarello said. "Inside the house officers located an exercise treadmill for the animals."
Police also found sick and injured dogs housed in their own feces.
"This is the first (dog-fighting operation) that I have seen in Round Lake Beach," Chiarello said.
The Lake County Health Department animal control unit took custody of the animals and is expected to work with police in evaluating the health of the dogs.
Chiarello said police were called to the home a few times after neighbors complained of dog barking.
"We appreciate that we were able to work with the Lake County Health Department in help saving the 27 dogs," Chiarello said. "Hopefully, these animals will be someone's pets someday."
Colon is being held in Lake County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond and Gonzalez in lieu of $20,000 bond. They are scheduled for a status of forfeiture hearing Sept. 25 to determine whether the dogs will be seized.
Anthony Smithson, director of environmental services for the Lake County Health Department, said it is unfortunate that the animals were abused and used for fighting.
He said the dogs will be evaluated to determine if they can be adopted.
"Some of the dogs were as young as 6 to 8 weeks old, and they should be able to be rehabilitated," he said. "The older dogs who were involved in extensive training and fighting might not be."
Lake County News-Sun