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Three charged for dogfighting at Chicago daycare

Police broke up what they called one of the worst dogfighting rings Tuesday and rescued several injured dogs, including four puppies. Ten children were being watched at the time.

By David MonteroCorrespondent / September 24, 2009



Daycare facilities traditionally have lots of recreational activities. Dog fighting should not be one of them.

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But that’s what Chicago police found when they raided a child-care center in a West Chicago suburb on Tuesday and arrested three people.

The owners of the center watched children by day and fixed killer dog matches on the side. Children played on swings just feet from a garage where the animals fought.

“I am not talking doggy daycare,” said Cook County Sherrif Tom Dart, who led the investigation.

Nine of the animals – many of them mangled – were rescued. Police believe the house was one of many in a larger dog-fighting ring.

The arrests followed a series of complaints about dog fights at the house, reports the Chicago Tribune:

The day-care operator insisted she was not involved in dogfighting and said children were never near the dogs or dogfighting equipment, the sheriff's office said.
However, her husband, Charles Sutton, 42, was charged with felony dogfighting Wednesday, the sheriff's office said.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which has licensed the day-care facility since 2004, had twice received complaints about dogs at the home, said Kendall Marlowe, DCFS spokesman.

Arriving at the scene, police found and rescued several injured dogs, including four puppies. What made the scene worse was the presence of children, reports The Chicago Sun-Times:

When police arrived at the daycare home, there were 10 children being watched. In a garage behind the house, police found a very aggressive pit bull, blood on the floor and bloodstains along the sides of a car. Also in the garage were syringes, medication, bite sticks and harnesses used in dogfights, [Sheriff Dart said in a press release].

Dogfighting is said to be widespread in Chicago, but Cook County police described yesterday’s incident as one of the worst of its kind, according to Chicago’s South Town Star newspaper:

"We've been doing this for a number of years, but this was as bad as we've seen," Dart said. "To be engaged in this sort of activity is disturbing enough, but to take a chance with anybody's children is reprehensible.

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