Ohio man pleads guilty to dogfighting-related charges

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By Natasha Blakely

A Columbus, Ohio, man faces sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiring to participate in a dogfighting ring.

Charles Granberry was arrested and charged in April 2016 after getting caught during a raid and later pleaded guilty in federal court. He was part of a ring that dealt in the breeding, sale and fighting of American Pit Bull Terriers.

According to court documents, social media accounts and internet sites were used to organize the fights and sales.

Twice in March 2016, Granberry sold a male pit bull to an undercover detective for dogfighting. He was caught with numerous training tools, such as treadmills, cat mills and heavy chains, in his home as well as a blood-stained dogfighting pit, court documents show.

Granberry was also found with veterinary supplies to treat the dogs to avoid getting caught and reported by veterinarians to authorities, the documents show.

The investigation was a 15-month collaboration between the Columbus police and the Capital Area Humane Society. As the Columbus Dispatch reported at the time, the Humane Society recovered 45 dogs from the raid, all of which were still alive.

Granberry, who has a previous cocaine conspiracy conviction, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and conspiracy for his role in the dogfighting ring. He faces a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine for dogfighting and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the weapons charge.

Mary Hiser, the communications manager of the Humane Society, said the organization could not comment on the current status of the case.

Sentencing has yet to be scheduled, according to Jennifer Thornton, an outreach coordinator with the Department of Justice. She also declined to elaborate on any details outside of public court documents. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous, who signed off on the plea agreement, didn’t return requests for comment.

“We continue to investigate suspected dogfighting,” Hiser said. “Cases like the one last April were months in the making and by no means exhausted suspected dogfighters in the area.”

In separate investigations, the leader of a large nationwide dogfighting ring based in Akron, Ohio, was caught and sentenced in 2015, and in June 2016, 66 dogs were rescued in operations across four states and Washington, D.C.

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