Man Receives Sentence Over Dogfighting, Fentanyl Distribution

Man Receives Sentence Over Dogfighting, Fentanyl Distribution
Man Receives Sentence Over Dogfighting, Fentanyl Distribution

( – An Ohio man has been sentenced after being caught running an illegal dog-fighting ring and distributing drugs. Michael Valentine kept more than 50 dogs at his residence in Bidwell, and police first began investigating him after one of the animals bit a child.

A Justice Department press release states that authorities obtained a search warrant for Valentine’s home after the child was hurt and seized 40 dogs, as well as “fighting paraphernalia, including treadmills, veterinary supplies, and dog-fighting videos.”

A second search took place two years later as part of a Fentanyl distribution probe, and further dogs were found along with two assault rifles, 677 grams of Fentanyl, and cocaine. He pleaded guilty to two counts of raising dogs for fighting and five counts of Fentanyl distribution, leading to a sentence of 21 months behind bars and three years of supervised release. He was already serving 10 years on drug charges, and the new sentence adds another year onto his prison time. Overall, he will spend 11 years in prison and five years on supervised release.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said, “Dog-fighting is a barbaric offense that cruelly harms animals and endangers the surrounding community.”

CNN reports that more dogs were seized in 2022 than in any year since the issue made national headlines in 2007. That year, NFL star Michael Vick pleaded guilty to dog-fighting charges, raising national awareness. Authorities rescued 47 dogs at that time, and campaigners fought to save their lives and ensure they were not euthanized. The animals were sent to charities and shelters and adopted into new homes.

The legal punishment for dog fighting varies from state to state, but in all 50 states, it is a felony. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says dog fighting can be highly lucrative, and it is not unknown for $20,000 to $30,000 to change hands in a single fight.

It also claims that the number of injured animals rescued by charities and shelters suggests that tens of thousands of people are involved in the criminal practice. “Sadistic enjoyment” is a second motivator bringing people into dog fighting, the charity adds.

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