Yesterday, we closed an important chapter in a long-running anti-cruelty case when a federal judge in Alabama handed down tough sentences for a number of active participants in a dogfighting network that spanned four states. One defendant, dubbed by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins as "the godfather" of this ring, was sentenced to eight years in a federal penitentiary-the longest prison sentence ever handed down in a federal dogfighting case. Testimony indicated that Donnie Anderson hosted 80 fights in which nearly 500 pit bulls fought for hundreds of spectators who bet as much as $100,000 per fight.
The case came to light in August 2013 when I joined dozens of my colleagues from The HSUS and staff members from the ASPCA in southern Alabama as we teamed with federal and state law enforcement officials to carry out the second largest dogfighting raid ever in U.S. history. We freed 367 dogs from heavy chains and worn, barren patches of dirt, and from the clutches of a group of dogfighters intent on risking the animals' lives for profit and amusement. Law enforcement, working under the direction of U.S. Attorney George Beck, Jr., arrested 15 suspects that day and in the days that followed, and the number of dogs seized surpassed 400 in total.