UPDATE 9/26/09 – Charges Upgraded for One Suspect in IL Dogfighting Ring
A home day care center at 2101 S. Third Ave in Maywood, IL, was the scene of a gruesome dogfighting ring bust yesterday. Scarred, injured dogs and puppies, equipment, and a bloody garage were found. Three men were arrested and charged, Charles Sutton, 42, and Lance Webb, 27, both of Maywood, were charged with felony dogfighting and Martez Anderson, 38, of Maywood, who kept the fighting dogs at his house, was charged with being a felon in possession of an unsprayed or unneutered dog, a misdemeanor.
Three homes were raided, one being the day care where 10 children were being cared for. In a garage behind the house, not far from where the children played, an aggressive pitbull was chained, the garage walls and floor spattered with blood, equipment including syringes, medication, break sticks and harnesses were found. The dog that was chained up there was in pathetic shape, his chest “shredded” and his penis almost completely bitten off.
“Kids were playing on a swing set just 10 feet away from a vicious fighting dog and blood-stained floors,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.
In a nearby house, 2025 S. Sixth Ave., rented by ex-convict, Martez Anderson, was where the dogs were kept. Anderson charged about $60 a month to house the dog. At that residence they found a female pitbull with three four-month-old puppies. It looked as if the puppies had already been in fights, perhaps used as bait. One of them was already scarred and had an eye ripped out. They were kept in urine soaked wire cages, no food or water and were all severely emaciated. Another dog was found in a shed behind the garage, severely scarred, it’s leg broken so badly that it was twisted around backwards and another dog in a crate behind the shed in such bad shape it could barely stand.
In yet another house at 2027, right next to the ex-con’s house, they found more dogfight training equipment and yet another malnourished puppy.
“All of the dogs that we got yesterday were in horrific condition,” Sheriff Tom Dart said while cuddling a puppy taken during the raid. “The people who work on this have done this for years as you know and this is as bad as we’ve seen the animals.”
All the dogs and puppies were seized from the three premises and taken to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge. Some are receiving care, including surgery to treat wounds and broken bones. The dogs and puppies will go into rehabilitation and hopefully most of them will be adopted in time.
“What was done to these dogs is inexcusable,” Dart said. “This was done in the name of gambling and greed and no area seems to be immune from its influence — we see it in rural farm areas and inner cities. Unfortunately, we’re also seeing more and more kids exposed to this kind of lifestyle.”
Sutton’s wife, who ran the licensed daycare, of course denied any involvement and said the children were never around any of the dogs or equipment. By late Wednesday thought, she did surrender her license and close the day care.
“This day care home operator complied with our request today to surrender her license with cause,” Kendall Marlowe, DCFS spokesman said. “This day care home is now closed, and we will monitor the home going forward to ensure that it does not reopen.
Two other unnamed men are also being sought in connection to the dogfighting ring.
Martez Anderson denied that the dogs found in his home were used for dogfighting, “You got all kind of criminals running around Maywood and you would actually spend taxpayers’ dollars to come to my house to get some Momma and the puppies? That’s crazy. All the dogs that they took from here had the papers on them. I want to clarify that.”
“They probably could of did for a bath or so, but other than that, they wasn’t like ate up like they’re making it out to be.”
He also said that his cousin, Lance Webb, who the dog and puppies belonged to, wasn’t involved with dogfighting and that they planned to sell the puppies. As for the one with a missing eye, oh, a door fell on it. Yeah right!
It seems neighbors weren’t oblivious to the goings on either;
“They would take the dogs in the garage during the day and you could hear them fighting,” said Guadalupe Castro, 40, who lives down the block from the disbanded dogfighting operation. “We would hear dogs barking and making fighting sounds.”
She said she suspects two or three people attended the fights at a time. She noticed this all started by the beginning of the summer.
“I was scared because sometimes the dogs would get loose and run down the street,” Castro said. “I’m glad they got them [dogs] out of here.”
Another neighbor, who declined to identify herself for fear of retribution from anyone involved in the dogfighting operation, said she would call the village of Maywood often about the dogs. She said the dogs would be tied up to a pole and would bark and try to attack one another.
And more denials;
Elizabeth Lyons — owner of the home in the 2000 block of South Sixth Avenue that allegedly had a treadmill in a garage altered to train dogs to fight — said the dog being kept in the garage was her grandson’s puppy.
Lyons said she didn’t know how long the puppy had been staying in the garage and didn’t know its age, but said it didn’t have any injuries.
“We didn’t have no fighting dogs. … We’ve had dogs all of my life. I don’t go for that,” she said. “I’m afraid of fighting dogs anyway. You hear about them all of the time turning against their owners,” Lyons said, adding that she has a dog named Kisser.
How the hell can something like this go on for months, in a neighborhood with people around, at a licensed day care center?? What the hell is wrong with people?
Did the parents of these children care so little that they never bothered to check out the premises where their children were being cared for? There were complaints about the dogs previously which the Department of Children and Family Services checked out.
DCFS visited the home day care center in 2006 after receiving a complaint of dogs in the home, but in an unannounced visit, inspectors found the dogs were locked in the garage and had no access to the day care area of the home, Marlowe said. After a second complaint in July 2007, DCFS inspectors again found dogs locked in the garage, Marlowe said. In two other unannounced visits, the most recent in September 2008, inspectors found no sign of dogs in the home, he said.
This is beyond appalling! It seems obvious to me that Sutton’s wife, the day care operator, knew about the dogfighting but she allowed it to continue around the children, placing them in harms way. I cannot believe she was not arrested and at least charged with child endangerment!!
When you look at the evidence, the horrific shape the dogs were in; scarred and mangled, starved and house in deplorable condition, puppies included, all the equipment, how can anyone possibly deny the obvious?? Unbelievable!! I am almost left without words!
Please just lock this scum up and throw away the key!! All of them!! Those poor dogs… 🙁