Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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Two convicted in Bronx dog fighting ring

NEW YORK -  Two men have been convicted on charges of animal cruelty in connection with a dog fighting operation in the basement of a private house.

Alexander Estephane, 45, of 108 East 179th Street, the Bronx, and Juan Toledo, 40, of Paterson, New Jersey, were found guilty one count of prohibition of animal fighting.    The prohibition of animal fighting is an unclassified felony offense punishable  by a maximum sentence of up to 4 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.

Sentencing is set for March 17, 2010.

The crime occurred on June 14, 2008 in the basement of Estephane’s home which had been converted into a dog fighting ring made of plywood and plexiglass. Authorities recovered 16 pit bulls, including a badly injured dog in a cage that later succumbed to its wounds.  Other animals were rescued from cages in other areas of the house and in the backyard.  Investigators also recovered  brake sticks which were used to disengage fighting dogs by unlocking their jaws, syringes filled with testosterone to make the animals more aggressive and several dog fighting journals.

The discovery of this illegal enterprise involving animal cruelty was the result of information developed by the New Jersey State Police during an investigation into dogfighting in New Jersey.