Federal law enforcement officials arrested a Cumberland County, New Jersey, man for his involvement in dog fighting, according to officials.
Robert A. Elliott Sr., 47, of Millville, New Jersey, was charged by complaint with two counts of possessing pit bull-type dogs for dog fighting ventures in New Jersey and elsewhere
According to court documents, the federal Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony to fight dogs or to possess, train, sell, buy, deliver, receive, or transport dogs intended for use in dog fighting.
On June 1, Frank Nichols and other individuals were charged by complaint with violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act pertaining to dog fighting.
That day law enforcement officers executed a search warrant of a residence on a multi-acre property in Millville where Nichols lived. Elliott, also lived at the residence.
During the search of the residence, law enforcement officers seized 13 live pit bull-type dogs. Seven of the dogs were housed on heavy chains in a wooded area behind the house. The dogs were spaced so that they could not reach one another.
Two additional dogs were housed individually in pens in the wooded area near the chained dogs. Law enforcement officers found three more dogs in shipping crates in the unfinished basement.
One of the 13 dogs, who appeared ill, was found in a crate in a room on the first floor.
Several of the dogs had scars and other signs of injury and all of the dogs had untreated veterinary conditions.
Law enforcement also found other indications that the dogs were used in dog-fighting ventures that included:
- Break sticks, which are used to pry open a dog’s mouth in order to release a hold that the dog has on another dog
- A stand often called a “rape rack,” or “breeder stand” as referred to by defendant Elliott, designed to hold a female dog off the ground and immobilize her while a male dog mounts her. The device is used where the female dog is too dog-aggressive to mate otherwise
- A box containing veterinary medications, a skin stapler, numerous needles and syringes, catheters, IV bags and tubing, sutures and suture removing tools
- Testosterone boosting supplements, which are often used by dog fighters to increase muscle mass and aggression of dogs before a fight
- Dog pedigrees and printouts of dogs from dog fighting registries, including pedigrees related to the pit bull-type dogs found at his residence
- Elliott claimed ownership of several of the dog fighting paraphernalia found in his home and indicated that he and his family owned 10 of the 13 pit bull-type dogs found at his residence
The counts of possession of an animal for participation in an animal fighting venture each carry a maximum potential penalty of up to five years in prison.
This case is part of Operation Grand Champion, a coordinated effort across numerous federal judicial districts to combat organized dog fighting. The phrase “Grand Champion” is used by dog fighters to refer to a dog with more than five dog-fighting “victories,” according to officials.
The Humane Society of the Unites States is assisting with the care of the dogs seized by federal law enforcement, officials said.
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