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20-yr long dogfight operation shut down, tipster gets $5K

January 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A sophisticated Lake Los Angeles dogfighting operation established in the 1990s has been shut down due to an anonymous tipster.

According to investigators, Jesse Jimenez and his wife, Yvette, were using money wagered on the fights to fuel a cocaine operation. More than a dozen abused dogs, drugs and handwritten blow-by-blow narratives of dog fights dating back to the 1990s were found at the couple's home.

"Most of the animals had to be put down, their medical conditions were just so bad, including the female dog that was used for breeding purposes that had its teeth filed down flat," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Robert Ferrell.

To keep the dogs in fighting condition, investigators said Jesse Jimenez would perform vet services himself, like stitching the dogs' wounds and stapling their ears. Jimenez will spend a year in county jail. His wife will serve three years of probation.

Investigators said that dogfighting is a rampant blood sport.

"The activities that are involved with these dogs leads to, we estimate, about 250,000 dogs being fought each year, suffering in dogfighting arenas and the deaths of tens of thousands of dogs," said Humane Society of the United States spokesman Eric Sakach.

Of the 14 dogs found at the property, only three survived, including an 11-month-old puppy named Guinnus.

"Everybody who meets him, dog groomers, the vets, they say he's one of the sweetest dogs they've ever met, so it's a blessing, really, that they could find him and save him," said Guinness's new owner, Carissa Cole.

The anonymous tipster, who was the lynchpin of the investigation, will get a $5,000 reward. Authorities hope this will be an incentive for others to come forward about dogfighting.

"I would encourage the public to please come forward if you know anything," said Deputy District Attorney Samantha McDonald. "Even if you think that your information isn't complete or maybe it's not correct, just come forward and we'll investigate it."

To report dogfighting activity, call the anonymous dogfighting tip line at (877) NO-2-FITE.