PETITION TARGET: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
UPDATE (10/30/2023): The cases involving Jose Rivera and Edward Johnson are still pending, with the next court hearing in November. Otherwise:
- Fuentes pleaded guilty on May 14, 2021 to counts of animal fighting and conspiracy with the understanding that the case would be adjourned for one year to allow him to participate in an Alternatives to Incarceration programming and treatment given by the Center for Court Innovation, including mental health and employment services. He had to register with the NYC Health Dept. Animal Abuse Registry and comply with an Order not to own any animals. He met the terms of this agreement on Feb. 15, 2022 — with his initial plea agreement noting if he were successful, he would get a sentence of probation and be allowed to withdraw the plea to the felony charge, according to a court clerk.
- Gittens pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2022 to animal fighting and conspiracy and received probation in May 2023, despite a request from prosecutors for at least one year in jail.
We’ll keep watching these cases. —Lady Freethinker Staff
Shocked investigators found 29 helpless dogs locked in small cages and closets, many suffering lacerations and lesions consistent with dogfighting, across multiple Manhattan, N.Y. buildings. One dead dog was stuffed into a freezer.
The defendants reportedly forced these poor dogs to fight for their lives in an underground dogfighting ring. Investigators discovered the detestable conditions in which the dogs lived after an identity theft investigation warranted an animal-abuse case.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. called the investigation a “horrific [case] of animal abuse.” The dogs who managed to survived lived in horrible neglect, barely able to move in their tight confinement. Dogs ripped apart beyond repair endured illegal euthanization; other injured dogs were forced to keep fighting.
Jose Rivera, Evan Fuentes, Edward Johnson, and Benito Gittens are accused of training dogs to fight, finding animals and locations for dogfights, and euthanizing dogs without a veterinarian or veterinary technician license in the state of New York.
The prosecutors must fight for an appropriate punishment in response to these four men’s heinous actions, including a lifelong ban on having animals.
Sign this petition urging the Manhattan District Attorney to pursue this case to the fullest extent of the law.