A Bronx building super has pleaded guilty to running a horrific dog-fighting ring that led to at least 17 dogs being euthanized. Raul Sanchez, 57, pled guilty to prohibition against animal fighting, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, aggravated cruelty to animals, and overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.
As part of his plea deal, he faces 1-3 years in prison, can’t own any dogs during his parole, and has to repay $101,916.90 to the ASPCA, which rescued and rehabilitated the surviving dogs.
“Mr. Sanchez ran a sophisticated operation in which dogs were abused, exploited and forced to fight for entertainment and moneymaking purposes,” said Matt Bershadker, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. Altogether, 47 dogs were rescued by ASPCA as a result of Sanchez’s dog-fighting ring, which was housed at 1254 Sherman Avenue, a six-story apartment building in Bronx.
The ASPCA said they were living in a windowless basement, which included a makeshift arena with estimated capacity for 100 spectators. Among the items confiscated included dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes, and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
They also said that some of the dogs had never even been outside before: “Those white marks on their faces, those are all scars,” Howard Lawrence, senior director of operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department, said at the time. “They may not have seen the light of day, perhaps even since they were born.” Thankfully, Bershadker added that many of the animals “have now found new, loving homes.”