As the result of a plea deal, Juble Nathan Hairston, 34, of Gary, Ind., will serve only 18 months of home detention and probation for staging dog fights in a garage near his home in 2011.
Hairston, who entered a guilty plea on Aug. 1 to promoting or staging an animal fighting contest, a class D felony, and misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia, will serve six months in Lake County Community Corrections day-reporting program and 12 months on probation. He will have a felony conviction on his criminal record, the Post Tribune reported on Sept. 10.
Hairston also agreed to perform 120 hours of community service and pay $2,000 in restitution to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)to cover the cost to care for the animals seized in the case. He also cannot possess a vertebrate animal, such as a dog or cat, while he is serving his sentence.
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez handed down the sentence Tuesday, stating he felt the plea agreement seemed reasonable and imposed the sentence outlined in the agreement.
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Hairston must pay $1,025 in fees to community corrections on an unrelated case before Oct. 1, when an electronic ankle monitor will become available.
Hairston admitted that between Jan. 1, 2011 and July 7, 2011, he promoted and staged an animal fighting contest in a garage down the street from a home he had control over at 968 Willard Street in Gary.
On July 7, 2011, Lake County police executed a search warrant at the Willard Street home and identified animal fighting paraphernalia at the address as Hairston’s, including a treadmill, known as a “slat mill,” which is used to condition dogs for fighting. Hairston admitted to possession of animal fighting gear during that time in 2011.
In September 2011, Hairston was originally charged with 41 total counts, including promoting or staging an animal fighting contest, using an animal in a fighting contest, eight counts of promoting an animal fighting contest, 11 counts of purchasing or possessing an animal for a fighting contest, 19 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of possession of animal fighting paraphernalia.
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TIP LEADS TO ARREST IN 2011
Juble Nathan Hairston was charged in Lake Superior Court in Crown Point with promoting or staging an animal fighting contest, using an animal in a fighting contest, eight counts of promoting an animal fighting contest, 11 counts of purchasing or possessing an animal for a fighting contest, 19 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one count of possession of animal fighting paraphernalia, according to the Post Tribune.
The Chicago Tribune reported at that time that law enforcement authorities were tipped off on June 6 to Hairston’s alleged dog fighting operation by an inmate in the work release program. The informant stated he had witnessed fights staged inside Hairston’s living room on Willard Street and in a makeshift fighting ring in garage at a nearby vacant home. The witness told police about 40 dogs were involved in the alleged operation.
In July, Lake County police raided the home and, with the assistance of HSUS, removed 19 American pit bulls. Police also seized medications that are used to treat injuries sustained in dog fighting, as well as the treadmill. Many of the rescued dogs bore scars similar to those seen on dogs in staged animal fights. None of the dogs had food or water available, the probable-cause affidavit stated.
Up to a $5,000 reward is offered by HSUS for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Callers’ identities are protected.