Golden Gate man arrested after monthlong investigation into dogfighting ring
A monthlong investigation into a dogfighting ring at a Golden Gate home resulted in the arrest of the homeowner on multiple felony animal cruelty charges, according to the Collier County Sheriff's Office.
Rafael Jesus Del-Valle-Jomarron, 40, turned himself into the Naples Jail Center on Friday. He is charged with four counts of animal cruelty-causing cruel death, pain or suffering; one count of animal fighting act-baiting, breeding, owning animal; and one count of animal fighting act-selling, possessing, using equipment for fighting or baiting.
Del-Valle-Jomarron is accused of operating a dogfighting ring out of his home in the 2100 block of 52nd Lane, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
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The investigation began June 8 when deputies were called to assist the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission in reference to a radio frequency blocker pinpointed at the address that caused overhead aircraft to lose their GPS signals.
Deputies found pool without water, roosters that lost feathers at site
In addition to finding a truck reported stolen out of Sarasota County at the residence, deputies observed numerous bull terrier dogs in outdoor kennels with injuries in various stages of healing, the report states.
There were also multiple roosters that had suffered injuries and lost feathers, according to the report.
During a search, deputies found an above-ground swimming pool devoid of water with 12 to 18 inches of sawdust at the bottom with a baiting device typically used in animal fighting attached to it, deputies said.
Later in the day, deputies seized six female bull terriers, one female hound dog, two male bull terriers and a rooster that had severe injuries to its chest and back.
Three of the females were pregnant. One of the pregnant females had a deep gaping laceration to its chest, the report states.
Vials of suspected anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing supplements for animals were also obtained at the residence, according to the report.
ASPCA, Domestic Animal Services help out
“These innocent animals endured repeated torturous abuse, suffering and pain," Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a release.
"We are pleased that we, along with our partners with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Collier County Domestic Animal Services, have delivered them to a safe and healing environment and are bringing their abuser to justice.”
ASPCA forensic experts examined the dogs and found wounds and scarring consistent with organized dog fighting, the report said.
A 3-year-old male bull terrier had 249 scars and wounds while a 3-year-old female bull terrier had 109 scars and wounds, the report states.
ASPCA behavioral scientists' examination of the dogs determined their behavior was consistent with other dogfighting cases, according to the report.
A rooster's wounds were initially thought to be so severe it would need to be euthanized, but is currently being treated.
Del-Valle-Jomarron denied involvement in dogfighting in an interview with detectives, stating the injuries happened during breeding, the report said.
The sheriff's office will file paperwork to legally seize the dogs and will remain in the care of Collier County Domestic Animal Services, according to a release.