In Buffalo, NY, animal rights activists protested in front of Buffalo City Hall on Friday. This was to draw attention to the case against a man accused of running a dog fighting ring in the Western New York area.
Edward Bishop, 52 years old is the named ring leader in these charges.
“We’re here to, basically in support of Buffalo Police, in support of the task force. To basically ensure that now that we’re at this point, that Bishop is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. That he gets prison time, not probation, not anything else, not what he got last time around,” Matthew Albert, an attorney and animal advocate said.
Bishop has been accused of this once before in 2009. He was found guilty of sponsoring an animal in a fight. The sentence he received is felt to be almost nothing. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail time served, and two years of supervised release which included electronic monitoring.
“One of the bigger problems is that too often government likes to turn a blind eye to it because if hey if people don’t know about it then we don’t have to acknowledge it’s a problem and people wouldn’t be happy that dogs are being torn apart,” said Albert.
Bishop also stands accused of imprisoning a man, and forcing him to participate in the training and fighting of the dogs, on and off, for two years.
The criminal complaints say Bishop held the man against his will at his home, and forced the man to care for, train and live with his fighting dogs. When the man tried to leave about seven months ago, Bishop broke the man’s arm in two places. Now, according to what this man is telling police, he was unable to leave the house to seek medical attention for several medical issues.
Official documents say that police had found seven pit bulls, some with facial scarring, at the home owned by Bishop on Hewitt Avenue, in Buffalo. Inside the home, several treadmills, chains, drugs, IV bags, syringes, training harnesses and animal fighting literature and dog breeding documents.
Bishop is one of several people arrested in an April 25th raid in Buffalo and on Grand Island. This raid had been led by the newly formed anti-dog fighting task force. His charges include animal fighting for amusement, unlawful imprisonment, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance which was found to be cocaine.
“Right now, the community is very concerned. And we’re out here making sure that people are being held accountable for their actions. Far too long, it’s gone untouched… This culture of dog fighting needs to be completely eradicated,” said Robin Donovan to News 4 outside the Buffalo court house on Friday.
This is the precise reason this anti-dog fighting task force was put together, and anyone suspicious of some form of dog fighting or training a dog to fight, is encouraged to come and speak up about what they know.
“People weren’t even aware that it was happening right here in Buffalo. They were thinking New York City, L.A., Chicago. So it is completely foreign to many of the people of Erie County and in Buffalo. What we tell people is, look for anything unusual. Sometimes you get that gut feeling… If they see carcasses in the yard, that’s obvious evidence. If they see unusual people coming in and out at all hours of the night, that’s a sign that something may be going on.”
Bishop is due back in court on the 7th of May 2014.