A 42-year-old Kansas City man, John P. Dulley, Jr., has been charged under state law with 12 felony counts of keeping dogs with the intent to fight, according to a release issued Friday by Henry County Prosecutor Richard Shields. Each court is punishable by up to four years. Shields says Dulley’s arrest is part of an ongoing state and federal investigation that resulted in seizing a dozen dogs from a rural Henry County farm in March.
Several seizures of dozens of animals and the arrests of two other Kansas City, Kan., suspects in the same investigation were conducted at other locations in Missouri, Kansas, and Texas. The Missouri Highway Patrol and the Department of Agriculture and numerous local, state and federal agencies assisted in the case.
Pete Davis, Jr., 38, and Melvin Robinson, 42, both of Kansas City, Kan., each pleaded guilty to one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced on June 5, WIBW reported.. The FBI investigation first began in November 2012.
On March 22 and 23, 2013, federal, state and local investigators served search warrants at several locations, seizing 71 dogs and six chickens. The two men were originally charged in a criminal complaint alleging they owned dozens of dogs – most of them pit bulls – that they trained and took to dog fights.
The chickens are used as bait placed in cages at the front of treadmills on which the dogs are leashed and forced to run to build up their endurance for fighting. In most such training, when the dog is finally too tired to run any more, it is allowed to kill the chicken as a reward.
Robinson and David kept the dogs at a farm in Harrison County, Mo., and at their residences in Kansas City, Kan. The arrests resulted from federal agents following them as they transported dogs to fight near Dallas, Texas, according to the report.
According to court documents:
-- Robinson had a treadmill at his residence in Kansas City, Kan. used to train dogs for fighting He routinely placed a harness on a dog and chained the harness to the treadmill for several hours at a time. The treadmill was equipped with a plywood box to keep the dog on the treadmill. Robinson also put weights on the dog to strengthen it and provided caged live chickens in front of the treadmill as bait.
-- Robinson and Davis discussed betting $20,000 to $30,000 on a dog they were training for a fight scheduled to take place on March 23, 2013, in Dallas, Texas. They called such fights "dog shows."
-- On March 17, 2013, Davis and Robinson held three dog fights involving six dogs at the farm in Missouri in preparation for the dog fight in Dallas.
-- At various times during the investigation, dogs died at the farm in Missouri and their bodies were discarded.
On Friday, March 22, law enforcement officers followed the pair and several other people traveling in a three-vehicle convoy through Oklahoma and into Texas to a location near Tyler. At a news conference, authorities said about 30 people were attending the fight on Saturday night in a wooded area when police moved in. Most of the spectators fled and escaped.
One of the Kansas City, Kan., men was arrested there, but authorities did not say which one. The other man turned himself in to authorities in Kansas, the Kansas City Star reports.
Both Davis and Robinson are scheduled to be sentenced on September 9, 2013, and face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
No further information regarding John P. Dulley, Jr., is available at this time and no attorney has been named. Online court records don't list a lawyer for Dulley, and a phone listed for him had been disconnected, KCTV5 reports.
“In almost any dogfight, there are many more spectators than direct participants. Typically, spectators provide a large share of the funding for the criminal enterprise, and help conceal handlers and organizers who try to blend into the crowd when a bust occurs. Spectators pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in admission fees and gambling bets, generating the bulk of the revenue for this illegal enterprise,” states The Humane Society of the United States.
In 49 states it is illegal to be a spectator, and the federal animal fighting law makes it a felony to stage fights, possess or train animals for fighting, or to move animals or cockfighting weapons in interstate commerce for fighting purposes. But at the federal level there’s no spectator provision, and that undercuts federal enforcement actions in a serious way. HSUS is currently sponsoring federal law to make it a felony to be a spectator at animal-fighting events.