Judge Thomas G. Gavin sentenced Shane L. Santiago, 33, to a prison term between 7 1/2 to 15 years last week for a dog fighting ring he operated out of his West Brandywine Township home on the 1300 block of North Manor Road according to The Times of Chester County.
Santiago's wife, Laura Acamparo pleaded guilty earlier in the month and was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison with 10 years probation. Acamparo was charged with allowing her five children to witness the cruelty of the pit bull dogs fighting and eating one another.
In December, acting on a tip, and finding dead dogs along the sides of the road, authorities searched the home on North Manor Road and found what Chester County District Attorney, Tom Hogan called "a full gladiator gym for dogs" comprised of training tools, medical supplies including steroids, and a treadmill.
Possibly having taken a few pages out of Michael Vick's training manual of every known cruelty that could be done to a dog, Santiago's motto was "fight or die." Dogs who didn't want to fight were executed by hanging, drowning, or electrocution with jumper cables.
Authorities found evidence of one dead dog burned alive in his cage, other dead dogs found along the side of the road, and one dead puppy was found wrapped in a garbage bag and thrown in the trash. Hogan called the home "a house of horrors for dogs."
Santiago referred to the dogs as livestock and told Judge Gavin he (Santiago) had been brought up around dog fighting and compared it to hunting. According to LifeWith Dogs.com, Judge Gavin had no sympathy for Santiago's past:
“I cannot conceive of anyone not having a natural (friendly) feeling toward animals. I don’t think that any animal should be kept for the purpose of fighting. It is just completely foreign to me.”
Six of the dogs were saved. We can only hope they can be rehabilitated or go to rescues and sanctuaries where they will be given new chances at life.
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