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Sunday, June 15th 2008- NY Daily News
Cops rescued 16 pitbulls and two roosters from a filthy Bronx basement that doubled as a dogfighting ring - but one of the mauled dogs died on the way to a shelter, authorities said Sunday. Police arrested seven men from the Bronx and New Jersey, including suspected ringleader Alexander Estephane, 44, who lives in the Bronx building that neighbors have long suspected housed the inhumane blood sport. The other suspects were identified as Lauritz Acoy, 41, and Eric Boyce, 33, both of the Bronx, and Israel Cuevas, 34; Juan Toldo, 38; Alterik Mason, 29, and Darnell Walker, 34, all of New Jersey.
Dog fighting does not occur in a vacuum. Dog fighters are violent criminals that engage in a whole host of peripheral criminal activities. Many are heavily involved in organized crime, racketeering, drug distribution, or gangs, and they arrange and attend the fights as a forum for gambling and drug trafficking. The commitment of police resources to the apprehension of dog fighters is not a sacrifice of those from other areas of law enforcement. On the contrary, individuals apprehended for dog fighting are the same gang members, drug-dealers, robbers and violent criminals that the vice, narcotics and gang units actively seek to arrest. Dog fighting raids tend to result in mass arrests for multiple offenses whereby serious and habitual criminals, that may otherwise be unattainable, are easily and efficiently apprehended.
Furthermore, dog fighting and animal abuse are child welfare issues. As most urban youth are routinely exposed to dog fighting and its peripheral crimes, they are desensitized to violence and suffering and ultimately become criminalized and perpetuate that cycle of violence. The plight of animals in inner-city areas is often so blatantly obvious; even those who are not involved with dog fighting are routinely exposed to the abuse and neglect of animals.