Two Rockland County men already under investigation in a drug probe have been charged with animal cruelty for staging dog fights for entertainment in their homes, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
When investigators raided a home in New Hempstead, Zugibe said they recovered nine Pit Bull terriers and observed other evidence of dog fighting, including a length of rope used to strengthen a dog’s jaw muscles.
“This type of activity is neither a sport nor a hobby, but a particularly merciless crime," Zugibe said. "My prosecutors take a strong stand against animal cruelty. We are committed to aggressively enforcing a number of state laws aimed at protecting animals from harm.”
Ralph Cadet, 41, of 39 Greenridge Way, New Hempstead, and Tyrell Francis, 26, also of 39 Greenridge Way, were arrested and arraigned on a six-count indictment charging them with:
- Four counts of Prohibited Animal Fighting, class “E” Felonies
- Two counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Sustenance, class “A” Misdemeanors
Zugibe said dog fights took place between January and April inside 39 Greenridge Way. When the home was raided, Zugibe said the dogs were found roaming the house from cages and ranged in age from 7-month-old puppies to 3 years and were in varying stages of health.
At least one of the animals had scars on its front leg and face.
Zugibe said the indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Drug Task Force, the Rockland County Computer Crimes Task Force, the Hudson Valley Humane Society, the Ramapo Police Department Street Crime Unit and the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit.
Cadet and Francis were previously indicted in an ongoing narcotics investigation, during which the animal abuse was uncovered. Zugibe said at least one dog fight was captured on video.
The animals were removed from the home and placed in the custody and control of the Hudson Valley Humane Society, where they received medical treatment and were evaluated for adoption, if possible.
The most serious offense, Prohibited Animal Fighting, is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
Francis was arraigned in Rockland County Court in New City by Judge William K. Nelson and ordered held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility in New City on $25,000 bail. Cadet was also arrigned by Nelson and ordered held in the jail on $10,000 bail.
They are both due to return to court on Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Trudell and Executive Assistant District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner.