An Orange County dog breeder was busted by an undercover Queens cop after allegedly selling him a pit bull puppy with a dogfighting championship bloodline through his website that advertises he breeds champion dog fighters.
Dominick Barizone, 48, of Union School Road in Middletown, New York, was arrested and arraigned before the Queens Criminal Court on 44 counts of prohibition of animal fighting and one count of fifth degree conspiracy. If convicted, Barizone faces up to four years in jail.
According to the complaint, a detective with the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigations Squad contacted Barizone after viewing his website, which featured images of dogs wearing heavy chains and descriptions of bloodlines that produce canines with “tremendous mouth”, “game”, “extreme ability” and other terms used to show that they’re bred from winners of prior dogfights.
The website’s home page also features the front cover of Sporting Dog Journal, a dog fighting magazine, and includes titles for various animals available for breeding, including CH (short for champion) and ROM, an acronym for Register of Merit, which is associated with dogs that have produced champion fighters.
The detective exchanged emails with Barizone about purchasing a puppy, which was priced at $2,000. The detective allegedly sent Barizone $1,500 in two separate money orders. Barizone allegedly specified to leave the the payee line blank and for the buyer not to state ‘payment for dog’ on the money orders’ memo line.
On June 16, a second undercover officer met Barizone a mall in Newburgh, New York, with the remaining $500 cash to complete the transaction per Barizone’s alleged instructions. Barizone then allegedly produced two puppies to choose from, stating that he had been involved with dogs longer than Michael Vick, who was convicted of on charges related to dog fighting in 2007. Barizone also allegedly said his breeding produces “winners” and that he has sold canines for between $2,000 and $20,000.
On June 21, police searched Barizone’s Middletown home and allegedly seized 19 pit bull dogs, along with breeding charts, five “break sticks,” which are used break a dog’s grip on another animal or object by inserting behind a canine’s molars, multiple Sporting Dog Journals and a guidebook on breeding and raising pit bull terriers. The ASPCA assisted in the seizure of the dogs.
Barizone was arrested and held on $50,000 bond/$25,000 cash for bail.
“Some people think that dog fighting is just a spectator sport but for the animals forced to partake in these blood battles it is animal cruelty in its most brutalizing form,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In this case, the defendant is accused of operating a breeding kennel geared at producing dog fighting contenders. No animal should be treated in such a vile fashion and the defendant will be held accountable for his alleged actions. Fortunately, as a result of this investigation, nineteen animals have been rescued.”