GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A 40-year-old Hillsdale County man who spent four years in prison for dog fighting is headed back for the same crime.
Damiane Buehrer was sentenced was sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 31, to 46 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney for his role in a West Michigan dog-fighting ring.
Buehrer is the first to be sentenced of five people who have pleaded guilty to their roles in the dog-fighting ring. Federal prosecutors allege the group trained and bred pit bulls and their offspring to fight for “sport, wagering, or entertainment.”
“Damiane Buehrer and hisÂ co-defendants participated in a sick and brutal underground activity that, because of its interstate and international nature, is subject to Federal criminal jurisdiction” U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge said in a statement. Â “Because of the uniquely barbarous and cruel nature of this activity, my office, along with the rest of the West Michigan law-enforcement community, is committed to investigating, punishing and deterring criminals like Buehrer and his co-conspirators.”
Buehrer’sÂ co-defendants awaiting sentencing are Charles Joseph Miller, Kian Maliak Miller, Charles Deon Davis Jr. and Jarvis Jason-Roy Askew.
The activities began around April 2014 and continued until at least December 2017, according to the indictment. It took place in Ingham, Kent and Hillsdale counties, as well as other unspecified locations, the indictment states.
All but Askew operated kennels to condition and breed the dogs for fighting, the indictment states. One of the men, Charles Miller, allegedly paid to transport a female dog from Ecuador to Michigan for breeding.
The group researched breeding and training techniques to maximize the aggressiveness of the dogs and their offspring, the indictment contends. One of these training techniques included “treadmills modified to prevent a dog from getting off.”
Videos of dog fights, someÂ featuring ones they owned, were shared between the group on multiple occasions, according to the indictment.
“One shows a dog that is so exhausted that it cannot stand, while its handler allows the opponent dog to continue attacking it,” a federal investigator wrote in court filings about a video found on Charles Miller’s cell phone.
In all, 37 dogs were seized as a result of the investigation.
The year-long investigation was spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General. Other agencies, including the FBI, state police, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department and animal-control workers in Eaton and Ingham counties, have worked with federal investigators.