3 sent to prison in dogfighting case

A high-profile case involves Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

DAYTON (AP) — An increasing crackdown by authorities on dogfighting has led to prison terms for three men in southwest Ohio.

Louis Snowden-Davis, 37; Simon J. Denby, 34; and Donyell C. Moschetti, 35, all of Dayton, were each sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in Dayton on dozens of dogfighting convictions. The men also were ordered to pay more than $100,000 each to cover the costs of housing 35 dogs at the county’s Animal Resource Center.

The Humane Society of the United States was pleased about the sentences and continuing efforts by authorities to stop the illegal activity and punish those involved, John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues for the national group, said Wednesday.

“I think more judges and prosecutors around the country are looking at dogfighting and realizing that this is a crime that people want to see punished to the max,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin said raids on dogfighting have been increasing around the country, and he believes the high-profile case involving Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick focused even more attention on the issue. Vick said through a lawyer this week that he will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, an admission that likely will mean prison time.

Numerous charges

In the Montgomery County case, Dayton police received a report July 23, 2006, of an injured pit bull terrier in the area of Denby’s home. A day later, authorities seized 31 pit bulls from the home, and four more dogs were found after raids Sept. 1 on the homes of Moschetti and Snowden-Davis.

All three men pleaded no contest July 6 to more than 50 counts each. Snowden-Davis was convicted of 34 counts of dogfighting, seven counts of possession of criminal tools and 11 counts of animal cruelty.

Denby and Moschetti were each convicted of 31 counts of dogfighting, nine counts of possessing criminal tools and 11 counts of animal cruelty.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. described dogfighting as an appalling and brutal treatment of animals. Denby’s attorney, John Rion, said his client had a kennel license and had never been to a dogfight.

In March, a sting at a warehouse in the Dayton suburb of Moraine and searches of eight homes in southwest Ohio capped a 14-month investigation by state and federal investigators and resulted in nine arrests and the seizure of 64 dogs. Most were euthanized.

The Humane Society estimates that as many as 40,000 people throughout the country may be involved in dog contests ranging from back-alley fights to much larger events involving hundreds of thousand of dollars in winnings.

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