17 Dogs and puppies, 10 animal cruelty charges, two convicted.  LAPD is tired of dogfighting and those who engage in that horrendous bloodsport. LAPD’s Animal Cruelty Task Force–a group formed three years ago, is making an impact and plans to continue to do so.

After an investigation that lasted more than a year and a half, 17 dogs and puppies were seized and two men, Walter Citizen and Arnett Counts, were arrested, charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty and convicted. They’re serving prison time.

The dogs were in sad shape, scarred, emaciated, tied out with 30-lb chains.

“Every single dog was staked out or separated in a kennel. Every single one of them had scars, fighting scars. They had scars on their face, on their chest, on their forelimbs,” said LAPD Detective Susan Brumagin.

“Most of the dogs were injured, under weight, many had open sores and most had extreme case of flea infestation,” said LAPD Chief William Bratton.

Only 5 of the 17 dogs could be saved, they were turned over to rescue groups, the rest had to be euthanized.

Arnett William Counts, 42, who was found guilty Nov. 5 of 10 counts of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog with the intent to have the animal fight other dogs actually asked for probation for felony charges.

Counts’ lawyer said they were only “low-grade felonies” and it wasn’t as if he was selling drug to kids. No, he was killing living, breathing, feeling creatures for his and others amusement.

L.A. Superior Court Judge Bob S. Bowers, Jr. wasn’t buying it. Bowers instead ordered Counts to serve three years for each of the 10 counts, ruling also that the sentences will run at the same time. “It is a felony and it is a serious matter,” the judge said. “Mr. Counts, I think to say that you made a bad decision is an understatement,” he added.

The judge also ordered Counts to pay $3,142 in restitution to the city’s Department of Animal Services in connection with the confiscated dogs.

Co-defendant Walter Citizen III, 43, pleaded guilty Feb. 8 to five dog fighting charges and sentenced to five years in state prison.

“Our task force has had two prior dog-fighting convictions in which the defendants were sentenced to five years,” Bratton said, speaking to reporters outside the LAPD’s downtown headquarters.

“This tragic case is another win, as the animals have been rescued and the defendants found guilty,” he said. “The city and county take these cases very seriously, and we will continue to actively pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Kudo to the LAPD! It’s nice to see a sentence that is more than a slap on the wrist. Dogs, innocent animals, suffered and died at the hands of these monsters. It’s about time that someone says the guilty are going to get caught and pay.

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