A jury saw brutal videos of dogs ruthlessly attacking each other during the Manhattan federal trial for a man accused of animal fighting and conspiracy.
Rasheed Richardson, 29, bought and trained dogs to be strong and vicious so that they could be champion killer animals, prosecutors said.
When cops and the ASPCA searched Richardsonâ€™s Bronx home in May 2017 â€” after getting neighbor complaints about barking dogs on his property â€” they found 11 caged dogs, five of which were eventually put down because they were so aggressive.
One of the rescued dogs was put down after attempting to attack an ASPCA worker, prosecutors said.
The dogs were allegedly kept in deplorable conditions in tight wooden kennels that had only small holes in the front. The close proximity of the dogs to each other inside the kennels was meant to foster aggression, according to a criminal complaint.
One of the canines was found in a 55-gallon drum while another was infected with a parasitic disease common to fighting dogs, according to court papers.
In closing arguments on Thursday, Manhattan assistant US attorney Stephanie Lake said, â€śthis man exploited dogs for sport, for money and for entertainment. He built his dogfighting yard up to 11 dogs by May 2017.â€ť
In one particularly disturbing dogfight video that the jury was shown, one dog cries out in pain as another mauls it. The mauling dog was a two-time champion that Richardson was interested in buying, Lake said.
â€śThe defendant wanted to buy a fighting dog, a fighting dog that made its opponent scream in pain, a dog that tore at another dogâ€™s neck relentlessly. That is because the defendant is a dog fighter, a member of a dogfighting conspiracy,â€ť Lake said.
The jury also saw a video of â€śdogs locked up in plywood boxes whining, desperate to get out,â€ť Lake said, describing where the dogs were kept at Richardsonâ€™s home.
Richardsonâ€™s lawyer, Bruce Kaye, said, â€śThere is no evidence that he trained these dogs to fightâ€¦I donâ€™t think there is anything criminal about keeping all these dogs. Itâ€™s not my cup of tea and it might not be yours.â€ť
Kaye said the dogs didnâ€™t have scars on their faces â€” a trademark of a fighting dog â€” and officials didnâ€™t find cash or evidence that Richardson had made money off of the alleged dogfights.
The jury began deliberations on Thursday afternoon and will resume again on Friday morning.
Richardson â€” who was arrested in December â€” faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.