Damian Labon, 32, is the first person to be arrested in Miami-Dade, Fla., for ‘trunking’ dogs, a barbaric form of dog fighting in which two or more dogs--usually Pit Bulls--are locked in the dark trunk of a car, where they fight to death while the vehicle is driven with loud music playing to drown out the dogs’ cries of pain. The dog that survives only lives to fight again.
On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Labon appeared before the bond court facing 10 counts of animal cruelty for ‘trunking dogs,’ according to NBC News. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas set Damian Labon’s bond at $15,000. It is not known whether Labon had an attorney.
Labon, who has a series of past arrests on drug-related charges, has reportedly been evading law-enforcement since last May 1, when Miami-Dade Animal Services seized ten dogs believed to have been used for ‘trunking’ from his Goulds residence. (Goulds is a community in Miami-Dade County.)
Animal Services said they received a tip and found the dogs--six adult Pit Bulls and four puppies--in poor condition in urine and feces-covered cages with no water or food, behind a residence at 117th Avenue and 220th Street.
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Alex Munoz, the director of Miami-Dade Animal Services said his office has been getting a lot of leads that trunking is taking place throughout South Florida.
“We had our first trunking-related arrest. I can't comment on details because it is an investigation,” said Munoz.
Animal activist Dahlia Canes told NBC News that dog fighting in Miami-Dade is now “an epidemic.”
"This is dog fighting of another form, all types of dog fighting is quite honestly disgusting and reprehensible," Animal Services Director Munoz said. "It's something that we need to put an end to and that we need to stay on top of to make sure it doesn't turn into anything else."
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"This is a horrendous practice that takes dog fighting to new depths of cruelty," said Miami-Dade Commission President Rebeca Sosa, who introduced a resolution to double the County fine for dog fighting to $2,000. “We need to do whatever we can to put a stop to it by punishing perpetrators to the fullest extent possible," Sosa said.
Up to a $5,000 reward is offered by The Humane Society of the United States (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.