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Investigator says dog fighting ring is one of the worst he's ever seen

"It's right up there at the top"
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Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 18:24:51-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Drugs, a 9mm handgun and seven dogs were seized from a residence on Bailey Avenue in Buffalo. DJ Granville, Chief of Narcotics and Intelligence for the Erie County Sheriff's Office, says it's one of the worst dog fighting rings he's ever seen.

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"It's right up there at the top," Granville said, "It was disgusting to see. It enrages you. I feel like the rest of the public. You look at these dogs, you look at these animals and you want to say this guy belongs in a cage not them."

43-year-old Douglas Williams has been arrested and accused of being a dog fighting ringleader. He is facing five felony charges, which include:

  • Criminal possession of a narcotic with intent to sell
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance
  • Criminal possession of a loaded firearm
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals
  • Permitting animal fighting on one’s premises

Williams is also charged with one misdemeanor, criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

"We grabbed Mr. Williams out on the 90 in Clarence. Sure enough, he had two other pit bulls in his car with him. These poor dogs were destined for that Bailey Avenue residence. God knows what would have happened to them," Granville said.

When 7 Eyewitness News went to William's residence on Bailey Avenue, the door to the upstairs of the building currently boarded shut. But what was behind that door painted a picture: treadmills with chains and blood-covered carpet.

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"You know exactly what you're looking at. You know there were a boatload of dog fights going on here. These poor animals are being pitted against each other. For people to take advantage of that, to bet money on that, to play their own egos on that... it's disgusting," Granville said.

The SPCA Serving Erie County could not comment on this case specifically, but told 7 Eyewitness News treadmills are commonly used when training a dog to fight.

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"It's not just the act of the fight that's horrific and barbaric. It's the training of these animals. It's chaining them to treadmills. It's training them how to fight and how to fight to the death," Gina Lattuca, Chief Communications Officer for the SPCA Serving Erie County, said.

The SPCA Serving Erie County is currently caring for the 7 dogs. Again, while the SPCA Serving Erie County could not comment on these 7 dogs specifically, Lattuca said the SPCA does everything in its power to rehabilitate dogs that have been connected to dog fighting.

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"Not every dog that has been affiliated with the dog fighting industry will go on to be violent," Lattuca said, "So there's a different outcome and different answer for every single animal that may have been exposed to this industry."

Lattuca said years ago, common practice was to euthanize dogs connected to fighting. She said after Michael Vick was found guilty of dog fighting, that standard changed. She said research shows dogs that were formerly connected to fighting can become happy, family pups with intensive training.