Wagswoofs – A man in Washington Heights has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring and the mistreatment of numerous dogs. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. made the announcement on Thursday.
Jose Rivera, 59, pleaded guilty and was subsequently convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance and causing an animal to engage in animal fighting.
As part of his sentence, he will also be subject to two years of post-release supervision and will be forbidden from owning any animal for a period of 10 years.
Court documents reveal that Rivera, the live-in superintendent of a Washington Heights building, was involved in training dogs for dogfights. The first dogfight occurred on September 29, 2018, followed by another on June 8, 2019.
Rivera was unable to carry out any additional dogfights that had been planned.
In October 2019, investigators discovered and confiscated ten pit bulls, along with two non-fighting dogs. Additionally, they found several treadmills and breaking sticks. A distressing finding was the discovery of a deceased dog in the suspect’s freezer.
Authorities stated that Rivera was responsible for distributing and supplying narcotics to numerous other drug dealers in the tristate area.
Officials made a significant discovery when they found four kilograms of heroin and three kilograms of fentanyl in various forms, including bricks, powder, and rocks. This was not all, as investigators also uncovered two loaded handguns in his bedroom.
District Attorney Bragg stated that Jose Rivera’s actions in operating a dogfighting ring posed a serious threat to the lives of innocent dogs. In addition to the abuse of animals, Rivera was also found to be in possession of illegal narcotics with the intent to distribute them, thereby endangering the safety of New Yorkers. This sentencing serves as a clear message that New York will not tolerate any form of animal cruelty.