Top Fighting Dog Breeder Arrested
Tucson, AZ - Mahlon T. Patrick, 63, a top breeder of fighting pit bulls was arrested at his Avra Valley home and 110 of his dogs seized. Raids on four other properties racked up another 40 dogs. The raid was part of a yearlong investigation into illegal dog fighting. Others arrested include: Emily Dennis, 63, Robert Smith, 55, Terry Williams, 52, Juan Verdin, 39, and Zenaida Verdin, 35.
"We have dismantled a group of people at the upper echelon of dog fighting. This will be felt by people in the blood sport nationwide." John Goodwin, from the Humane Society of the United States says.
Smith owned two of the properties that were raided: The Helen Street parcel and a site in the 9000 block of West Placita Chivato. At the Placita Chivato address, investigators found 22 dogs, eight of which have been verified as fighting dogs, plus dog fighting research materials. At the Helen Road address, they found firearms and a treadmill used to train dogs for endurance.
Smith is in charge of the All American Dog Registry, one of the biggest pit bull registries in the nation with clubs in many states. For obvious reasons, his organization actively opposes legislation designed to restrict dangerous dogs. The link between "anti-bsl" and dog fighters grows thicker.
Marsh Myers, director of community outreach for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, said "99 percent" of the seized dogs are pit bulls. Each animal must be analyzed for scars, tattoos and missing teeth. Myers said he didn't know what will be done with the dogs once they have been processed. He said that even among the puppies there could be generations of fighting dogs. "There's no way you can train that out of a puppy."
02/20/08: Big Fighting Dog Breeder Busted