A task force consisting of the Cook County Sheriff and the Chicago Police Department that was investigating an alleged dogfighting ring ended with four men being arrested.
Dameon Hamilton, 31, from south suburban Dolton, Marc Marshall, 31, of Markham, were arrested Dec. 9 and convicted felons Jason Thomas, 32, of Ford Heights, and Dwan Johnson, 34, of Chicago were arrested Saturday.
The arrests came after task force officers received tips about the alleged dogfighting ring. Many of the 19 dogs that were taken into protective custody were found injured and sitting in urine and feces.
At one location in south suburban Markham, police seized “tow chains,” which they said are mainly used around a dog’s neck to strengthen its neck and chest in preparation for dogfighting.
Penny Mateck, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, said that two of the men arrested each face additional charges. Johnson’s and Thomas’ previous felony conviction prohibits them from owning certain types of dogs, including pit bulls. Police also discovered that Johnson had attended a dogfight in Englewood, which the task force broke up on Nov. 15.
“This task force has enabled law enforcement to reach into the illegal dogfighting community as it never has before,” said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. “These arrests should send the message that cracking down on this type of behavior remains a very high priority for us.”
Chicago police Supt. Jody Weiss said investigating dogfighting is no easy task and the public should not take dogfighting lightly.
“Our gang crimes and enforcement unit has found that tracking a dogfighting ring is like tracking down a dangerous street gang,” said Weis. “Vicious dogs are like dangerous weapons and when we dismantle these operations, we make communities safe.”