13-year-old Charged in Felony Dog Fighting

March 15, 2007

Los Angeles: A 13-year-old boy from South Los Angeles was charged yesterday with dog fighting, a felony punishable with up to three years in prison. It is the first felony filing for the Los Angeles Animal Cruelty Task Force (LAACTF), which is a joint operation between city Animal Services, the LAPD and the City Attorney’s Office.

"This was a serious example of animal cruelty," said Detective Susan Brumagin, who is part of the LAACTF. "What makes it more tragic was that children were the organizers and spectators at this dog fight. The scariest part is that animal cruelty by children often morphs into human cruelty as adults."

Two days ago, March 12, patrol officers from the Southeast Police Station came upon a dog fight in an alley near 113th Street and Grape Street in Watts. "What made this a crime was that it was a staged blood sport."

A 13-year-old boy was arrested as he tried to run away with an injured Pitbull on a chain. Another boy was trying to lift a second injured Pitbull over a wall. Animal Control officers rescued both dogs, but the dozen-or-so spectators got way.

Both dogs were treated for severe bite injuries to their heads, necks, and legs. Both are expected to recover.

The young arrestee was detained at Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Facility, and he will remain there for now since the District Attorney’s Office filed the detention petition. He will be tried in juvenile court.

Blood sports, like dog fighting and cock fighting, are illegal in California. Persons with information about blood sports or mistreated animals are encouraged to call the LAACTF at 213-847-1417. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).