Police discovered 10 pit bulls at the home of Javier Ruperto, 35, after an anonymous caller claimed that dog fights were being held there, Dorchester District Court records show. The caller also said several injured dogs were living in the basement of the Massachusetts house.
Rupert, known as “Dr. Dog” in dog-fighting circles, was banned by the city from keeping dogs in the 1990’s. He is now facing a new charge of keeping animals for fighting, according to the Boston Globe.
Officers found two pit bulls chained to the Toledo Terrace house in Dorchester at about 10:00 p.m. The temperature was 16 degrees, the report said. (Dorchester is a historic neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts.)
Ruperto first told them he had two dogs and then changed his story several times, according to the Globe. At one point, he said he had eight dogs. He refused to let officers into his home, the report says.
Ruperto was arrested after he allegedly approached Officer Luis Lopez, pushed him away from the front door, and tried to lock it, saying, “You can’t come into my house.”
When police and an animal control officer went to the basement, they found seven pit bulls in cages, one chained to the stairs, and two treadmills—the kind used to train dogs for fighting, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Brian Brodigan told reporters. The dogs in Ruperto’s basement did not appear to be injured, he said.
The pit bulls were not seized from Ruperto’s home as of Tuesday night; while animal control officers waited for a court order to remove them, said police Sergeant Mike McCarthy. That decision was made because there were no signs the dogs were abused. and officials were able to check on them on Tuesday.
“They are well aware of who this guy is and his history with animals. They’re trying to do everything they can,” Sgt. McCarthy told the Boston Globe.
JAVIER “DR. DOG” RUPERTO’s HISTORY
Ruperto was banned by the city in 1997 from keeping dogs after he was charged with keeping an illegal kennel of sickly, scarred dogs, including some so sick that they had to be euthanized, according to a Boston Globe report.
In 1998, Ruperto was sentenced to eight months in prison on charges of animal cruelty and obstructing an animal inspection, Assistant District Attorney Brodigan said.
In the recent case, Ruperto is charged with keeping animals for fighting, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on a police officer, court records show. Not-guilty pleas were entered on Ruperto’s behalf. He was released on $300 bail.
Ruperto, because of his previous dog-fighting record, was also ordered to stay away from animals and surrender his dogs, FOX25 reports.
Ruperto’s defense attorney Paul Carrigan described his client as “a kennel worker who loves animals," according to the Globe. “He didn’t do anything wrong,” Carrigan said.
Carrigan insists that Ruperto merely trains pit bulls to participate in weight-pulling competitions. He told reporters that the dogs found outside in the 16-degree weather had not been in the cold for long, and were being rotated in and out.