Federal authorities have arrested 26 men in connection a multi-state dogfighting ring described by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as the nation’s largest. Defendants from Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Nebraska were accused of participating in a conspiracy to operate kennels and training facilities to breed and condition dogs for fights, as well as to run the dogfights.
The arrests came a few weeks after former NFL star Michael Vick was released from prison after serving nearly two years for his role in an East Coast dogfighting ring in the nation’s most famous dogfighting case. The Vick case led to a renewed focus and a new federal law on animal fighting. In the newest case, authorities described a secretive band of men who bought and sold pit bulls, sometimes using steroids and treadmills to prep the animals for their bouts, and who held dogfights in which thousands of dollars were bet on “contract” fights. Others were just “rolls” – short bouts used to test dogs. “Dogfighting is more senseless than the most senseless crimes,” said prosecutor Jeff Jensen. More than 350 dogs were seized.