Federal government destroys suspected dog-fighting site in Placerville – Times-Herald
PLACERVILLE – In a recent search of a property suspected of being used for dog fighting, authorities rescued dozens of “pit bull-type dogs”, nine puppies and a chihuahua which would be used as “bait” , according to court records.
The June 17 raid was the result of a month-long investigation by the US Department of Agriculture. The investigation allegedly began with a secret purchase of a dog that was allegedly used in fights and negotiations with the alleged ringleader, Carlos Villasenor. In a federal criminal complaint filed in Sacramento this week, Villasenor was charged with possession of an animal for participating in an animal fighting business.
The complaint alleges that after an undercover special agent from the Agriculture Ministry bought a dog in Villasenor last May, they began negotiating future purchases. Villasenor would have spoken of having “eligator” breeds, described by the authorities as a breed “considered highly desirable among canine fighters for the strength and agility observed in dogs from this line”.
Villasenor also alluded to the existence of rival dogfighting rings in the Bay Area, according to the complaint, when he allegedly warned the undercover agent: “Don’t let this stuff out in the bay, this are my rivals… They will try to breed at it; I don’t usually sell anything in the west.
During service of a federal search warrant on June 17, officers reportedly located 27 living “pit bull-type dogs”, about half of which were “housed on heavy chains attached to small cylindrical huts or trees, distributed throughout the property ”. Two others were chained between a chihuahua, which prosecutors said was used as a “bait” dog “to encourage or train fighting dogs to attack without risking injury to the fighting dog.”
“The dogs (pit bulls) were spaced so they could see each other, but not touch each other. Two additional dogs were individually housed in crates located in the garage, ”Special Agent Anitra Mackie wrote in the complaint. “A dog that had recently given birth to a litter of puppies was housed behind the residence in an outhouse, with nine puppies.”
Additionally, agents found testosterone-boosting supplements, skins resembling animal skin, “broken sticks” used to open a dog’s mouth when biting and holding, and a device designed to “immobilize” aggressive bitches for breeding, according to the complaint. They also reportedly found a log showing the number of “matches” various dogs had won previously.
During his first court appearance on Monday, Villasenor was told of his rights. He was due to return to court on Tuesday, when a magistrate was due to rule on a prosecution’s request to keep him in detention pending trial, court records show.