A Bellmore man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after his pit bull mix was found on the streets with fresh wounds, filed-down teeth and other signs of being used in dog fighting, the Nassau district attorney’s office said Friday.
Harry Moore, 31, was also barred from owning any animals for five years and placed on three years of probation after pleading guilty Nov. 4 to prohibition of animal fighting, a misdemeanor, prosecutors said. The defendant, sentenced Thursday, also must register with the Nassau County animal abuse registry.
Prosecutors said the dog, named Bredge, was running loose in Hempstead in September 2014 and taken to the Hempstead Town animal shelter.
Moore tried to get him back, but the pit bull mix had fresh bloody cuts, old scars, broken and filed-down teeth and was wearing a collar weighing two pounds — all signs of being used repeatedly in dog fighting, prosecutors said.
Moore had to leave the shelter without the dog and was arrested the following day by Nassau police on dog fighting allegations.
Bredge, nursed back to health, now lives with a family in another state, District Attorney Madeline Singas says.
“Bredge was forced to endure terrible things at the hands of his owner and thankfully he is now beyond the reach of this cruel enterprise of dogfighting,” Singas said. “Thanks to our partners at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter and their volunteers, Bredge is now rehabilitated and with a loving family.”
The Nassau County district attorney’s office has been trying to shut down dog fighting operations and has boosted the number of dog fighting arrests in recent years, since its animal crimes unit was started in 2010. Last year, Singas pledged to use forfeiture money for the care of animals seized in criminal cruelty cases.
Jed Painter, chief of the unit and counsel to Singas, recently told a crowd of law-enforcement officials and attorneys that dog fighting was a billion-dollar “underground economy.” It’s an organized business in which dog fighters take their animals across state lines to compete in matches, he said, and there are common, established rules that participants surprisingly obey, from size of rings to how to judge which dog wins.
Many in the dog fighting industry also deal in drugs and weapons, Painter said, and reports and complaints of barking dogs can pave the way for search warrants to find drugs and weapons.
Painter said dog fighting may not sound like a suburban phenomenon but it exists on Long Island.
Over the decades, dog fighting has become a more sophisticated industry, animal advocates and prosecutors say. Dog fighting operators soundproof rooms, often in basements or in sheds, so the noise of barking dogs and spectators doesn’t get out. Dog owners often hide their animals in abandoned houses or in woods so the dogs aren’t traced back to them and used as evidence against them.