When authorities in Flint, Mich., seized dogs used in alleged dog-fighting activity and acts of torture earlier this month, the scene was described as horrific. The Genesee County Animal Control explained that the injuries found on the dogs were “terrible.”
Apparently the mastermind behind these heinous acts of cruelty could be a 14-year-old boy.
All indications show that the boy, whose name has not been released due to his age, has operated a dog-fighting ring out of his garage for some time. “What we’ve got here is a serious dog-fighting group,” said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Pickell described the garage as a gory site. “First of all, we found fresh blood on a cage, and when I say fresh we’re talking about within hours,” he said. Pickell added that mattresses lined the makeshift arena where the dogs were forced to fight each other.
The dogs were found in such poor condition that Pickell was almost in disbelief at the sight of them.
“[One dog’s] entire quarter of his leg was gone,” Pickell described. The other dogs were found with deep lacerations, fresh bite wounds, and broken bones, many injuries consistent with dog-fighting.
But not all of the injuries were the result of dogs fighting dogs. “It appears that torture is also an issue here,” says Pickell, describing the extent and kinds of wounds found on the dogs.
The Retriever sustained some of the more serious injuries, including deep bites on its front legs, a laceration on its shoulder, and bone fractures. According to authorities, the dog was also the victim of cruel blunt force trauma and abuse with a foreign object.
A total of 12 dogs were seized in connection with the dog-fighting ring – five the first day and seven more two days later. Four of the dogs were returned to their owners due to insufficient evidence, including several puppies.
The 14-year-old ringleader faces some serious punishment if convicted. For the count of animal torture, the boy could face a 4-year felony sentence and up to $20,000 in fines. If he is convicted of dog fighting, the penalty is also a 4-year felony sentence, 1,000 hours of community service, and fines totaling upwards of $50,000.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who charged the boy this week, emphasizes the seriousness of the crimes. “We do not take such cases lightly and we will be pursuing the best course of action under the law in the pursuit of justice,” Leyton said. “I wish Michigan law provided harsher penalties under the circumstances,” he added.