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FIGHTING DOGS FIND SAFE HAVEN;
OWNERS SENTENCED

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Monday, June 28, 2010— Three men arrested on felony dog fighting charges have been sentenced after a 19-month court case, Sheriff Tom Dart announced today.

Donaver JonesMelvin TrentTimothy Norris

Donaver Jones, 39, of Riverdale was found guilty of providing a site for a dog fight.  Melvin Trent, 38, and Timothy Norris, 36, both of Joliet were found guilty of promoting a dog fight.  On June 22nd, all three men were sentenced in Bridgeview court to 24 months probation, anger management classes, and no contact with companion animals.  The men must pay restitution of $3,612 each to reimburse the cost of a sanctuary home for their dogs, Brutus and Rebus.  In addition, each will pay $3,000 to cover fees incurred by Chicago Animal Care and Control to house Brutus and Rebus.  This is one of only a few cases where dog fighting defendants have been court ordered to pay for the lifetime care of their canine victims.  

Jones, Trent and Norris were arrested on November 16, 2008, when police broke up a dogfight in progress.  After a month-long investigation, officers swept into the basement of a house at 526 W. 66th St. in Chicago and found dozens of people betting on a fight involving two pit bulls.  Among those in the crowd were boys aged 13 and 15, as well as a pregnant woman.  Fifty people present at the home faced misdemeanor charges of attending a dog fight.

Police confiscated a tackle box filled with steroids, amphetamines, syringes and an IV drip from the home, all of which were used to keep the dogs aggressive and alive. They also found a staple gun being used to close wounds on the injured dogs, as well as thick wooden stakes used to drive apart the dogs’ jaws after they’d locked down on another dog.

One of the dogs, Brutus, was so badly mauled, it could barely stand.  Officers thought Brutus might die, but thanks to care received at CACC, both dogs are alive and healthy.

Brutus and Remus now will be able to live the rest of their lives in a safe haven arranged by Best Friends Animal Society.  This is one of only a few cases where dog fighting defendants have been court ordered to pay for the lifetime care of their canine victims.  

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Animal Care and Control, and Best Friend’s Animal Society on the investigation and resolution of this case.  Since taking office in 2006, Sheriff Dart has made it a priority to target dog fighting and to ensure that charges are filed against those involved.

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