Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Patrick W. Riley (67, Sumter County) today pleaded guilty to violating the animal fighting provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act. He faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the plea agreement, in November and December 2016, Riley arranged for his dog “Rocket” to participate in animal fighting ventures in Mississippi and Texas. In furtherance of the conspiracy, he trained eight dogs to fight. Riley utilized equipment commonly used to train dogs for fighting, including treadmills, water tanks, turntables, leashes, collars, syringes, needles, intravenous solutions, enemas, laxatives, worming medications, charcoal pills, vitamins, collapsible dog rings, and scales. On March 1, 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Riley’s property and seized the dogs and dog training equipment.
The federal Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony to knowingly sell, buy, possess, train, transport, deliver, or receive any animal, including dogs, for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture. Under federal law, an animal fighting venture means “any event, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, that involves a fight conducted or to be conducted between at least two animals for purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.”
The press release is available at justice.gov.