Fifth Defendant Sentenced in Dog-Fighting Ring

Photo of Fifth Defendant Sentenced in Dog-Fighting Ring
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A fifth defendant pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his part in a brutal multistate dog-fighting ring.Mario Atkinson of New Jersey will spend two years in prison and was fined $1,000.He admitted fighting his dog in Virginia and dumping the dead animal in the garbage after the fight.Federal agents seized 18 pit bull-type dogs from Atkinson in 2016, saying the dogs had scars and injuries consistent with organized fighting.“Animal cruelty like the conduct in this case has no place in a civilized society,” U.S. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Wood said.Four other defendants were given prison terms of one to five years last month as part of Operation Grand Champion, the Justice Department’s nationwide crackdown on dog fighting.So far, U.S. agents have rescued 98 dogs and The Humane Society of the United States is helping take care of the dogs.Along with causing pain and suffering to the animals, U.S. attorneys say dog fighting rings also include other crimes such as illegal gambling, and drug and weapons trafficking.

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