Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Two KCK men plead guilty to federal dog fighting charge

U.S. Department of Justice

Two Kansas men have pleaded guilty to a federal dog fighting charge, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Pete Davis, Jr., 38, Kansas City, Kan., and Melvin Robinson, 42, Kansas City, Kan., each pleaded guilty to one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.

The two men initially were charged in a criminal complaint alleging they owned dozens of dogs – most of them 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. On March 22 and 23, 2013, federal, state and local investigators served search warrants at several locations, seizing 77 dogs and six chickens.

According to court documents, an FBI investigation that began in November 2012 revealed that:
  • To train dogs for fighting, Robinson had a treadmill at his residence in Kansas City, Kan. He routinely placed a harness on a dog and chained the harness to the treadmill for several hours at a time. The treadmill was equipped with a plywood box to keep the dog on the treadmill. Robinson also put weights on the dog to strengthen it and provided caged live chickens in front of the treadmill as bait.
  • Robinson and Davis discussed betting $20,000 to $30,000 on a dog they were training for a fight scheduled to take place on March 23, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. They called such fights "dog shows."
  • On March 17, 2013, Davis and Robinson held three dog fights involving six dogs at the farm in Missouri in preparation for the dog fight in Dallas.
  • At various times during the investigation, dogs died at the farm in Missouri and their bodies were discarded.
  • On March 22, 2013, investigators followed Robinson and Davis as they traveled to a location near Tyler, Texas, for a dog fight.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 9. The defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Grissom thanked the following agencies for their work on the case: The FBI, the Kansas City (KS) Police Department, the Harrison County (MO) Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety - Narcotics and Highway Patrol, East Texas HIDTA, the FBI Dallas Division - East Texas Resident Agencies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Game Wardens, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - OIG, the Lindale Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

He also thanked the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals for assisting investigators by agreeing to house and care for dogs that were seized by investigators.