KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Two Kansas men have been charged as a result of a federal investigation into organized dog fighting, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Monday.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals managed the removal and transport of nearly 100 dogs involved in a multi-state dog fighting investigation over the weekend in Missouri, Kansas and Texas with the help of the FBI, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Charged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., were Pete Davis, Jr., 38, Kansas City, Kan., and Melvin Robinson, 41, Kansas City, Kan. Both men were charged with one count of buying, selling, delivering or transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.
The ASPCA said they are overseeing forensic evidence collection, as well as the dogs’ veterinary care and sheltering.
A search warrant was executed Saturday night in Kansas, after the FBI raided a location suspected of holding a contract dog fight in north Texas. The ASPCA and other agencies, including the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT), assisted in the seizure of the dogs.
The complaint alleges Davis and Robinson owned as many as 60 dogs -- mostly pit bulls -- that they trained and took to dog fights. They kept the dogs at a farm in Harrison County, Mo., and at their residences in Kansas City, Kan, and transported some of them to fights as far away as Dallas, Texas.
Two additional warrants were served Sunday morning for the removal of the dogs in Missouri.
“We are pleased to be able to assist federal, state and local agencies in such a massive investigation, and to safely bring the animals to our temporary shelter where they will receive much-needed care and treatment," said Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of the ASPCA's Anti-Cruelty Group.
The dogs were transferred to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location where they will receive veterinary care from the ASPCA’s medical team, ASPCA said.
Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"Dog fighting is not a sport -- it is a crime," said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. "Federal law prohibits cruelty to animals on the level of the events that are alleged in these charges."
If convicted, Davis and Robinson face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
On July 8, 2009, the ASPCA participated in a multi-state dog fighting raid, the largest federal crackdown on dog fighting in U.S. history, resulting in the rescue of over 400 dogs, most of whom are Pit Bulls. The eight-state raid, launched by federal and local agencies, spanned Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi and resulted in a total of 26 arrests.