Cops rescue nearly 50 pit bulls from Bronx dungeon and arrest Raul Sanchez for breeding and training dogs to fight in a windowless basement A building super was arrested Thursday for being a Bronx version of Michael Vick — breeding and training pit bulls to fight in a basement of sin.
Police and animal rescuers saved 47 pit bulls from the dungeon at 1254 Sherman Ave. and collared their alleged tormentor, Raul Sanchez.
One by one the battered pups were carried from the windowless basement, which had been turned into a fighting arena, with room for 100 spectators.
The dogs ranged in age from 12 weeks to 5 years. Many were shaking and timid. Some were bone-thin. Others squinted once outside, never before having seen the light of day. All had sad expressions.
“It’s pretty horrific inside — horrible conditions. I couldn’t even describe it,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale. “The dogs appear to be in various stages of abuse and injury.”
Sanchez, 57, bred the animals and kept them in crates, stacked one atop another, police said. He trained them to fight and held twisted practice sessions. Police recovered from the basement treadmills designed for use by dogs; harnesses and muzzles; syringes; a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts; a .25-caliber handgun, and a cash stash.
Other evidence was heartbreaking: Many of the dogs were scarred, “evidence of previous fighting,” said Howard Lawrence of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The agency provided specialists to care for the animals.
Police are investigating the dog-fighting operation, to see if Sanchez had help, sources said. Sanchez was preliminarily charged with six criminal counts, including one felony rap for training animals to fight, and three more felonies for permitting animal fighting, police said. He had yet to be arraigned Thursday night.
Officials said full-fledged dog-fighting operations are rare in New York City.