A Wilkinsburg, PA man was found guilty of operating a dog-fighting ring Friday.
The jury found Darryl Bryant guilty on two counts of animal fighting and one count of possessing an instrument of crime.
Authorities raided Bryant’s mother’s home on February 24, 2012 to find 13 pit bulls and mixes, ranging from five months to five years, stacked in crates in the basement and chained up outside. Some of the dogs were malnourished, and all had injuries. Also found were treadmills, electric clamps, IV kits and syringes. Using special chemical equipment and photography, police found the walls to be covered in blood spatters.
The jurors were shown these exhibits and photos of the dogs’ cuts and scars, which veterinarians testified were far too serious to have been from playing. They were also shown videos from Bryant’s phone of the dogs being aggressive, which police said was evidence of them being trained to fight.
Kathy Hecker of Animal Friends believes Bryant had been fighting dogs since 1983, and has been charged with animal cruelty at least twice within the last dozen years. A 2001 case was withdrawn, and a 2009 case was dismissed. Getting evidence was difficult.
Hecker said there was some information on Bryant, “but not quite enough for a search warrant. And he moved around a lot. I visited different residences of his and his mother’s over the years and was always told, ‘You must be mistaken; there aren’t any dogs here.’”
Police officer Christine Luffey worked tirelessly over the 19 hours it took to set up the bust.
“I am really proud of this,” she said after the raid. “We have saved these dogs from a life of pain.”
It took less than two hours for the jury to find Bryant guilty. He faces up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. He will be sentenced on July 11. The condition or whereabouts of the rescued dogs is unknown, but they are much better away from the clutches of an abuser.