PONTIAC — A Michigan man has been sentenced to a year in prison for his role in a dog fight near Gridley.
Dante L. Effinger, 33 of Detroit, Mich., pleaded guilty in December to two counts of transporting two dogs believed to be used in fighting. He also pleaded guilty to attending a dog fight, a misdemeanor.
On Wednesday, Livingston County Circuit Judge Harold Frobish sentenced Effinger to a year in prison for the transportation offenses, which are Class 4 felonies.
"It is reasonable to conclude you understood the dogs would be tortured and perhaps killed," Frobish said to Effinger. "An appropriate sentence is needed to deter others from committing the same crime."
The yearlong sentence was requested by Assistant State's Attorney Carey Luckman.
Police pulled over Effinger in September after he was seen leaving a site in rural Gridley believed to be used for dog fighting.
Cook County authorities had followed people from Chicago to a home at 5905 East 1100 North Road, rural Gridley. Officials broke up dog fighting and made 10 arrests, police said.
Police searched Effinger's sport utility vehicle and found two dogs caged in the back.
When police removed a blanket that covered the cages, the dogs tried to fight each other through the cages, common among dogs trained to fight, authorities said. One of the dogs looked to be exhausted and had fresh wounds on its face.
Effinger could be released sooner if he receives good-time credit. He also has to pay more than $2,500 in fines.
Effinger's wife was allowed to regain possession on the 2000 GMC Yukon used to transport the dogs. Luckman wanted the vehicle seized by the county, but it was titled in the wife's name.
Luckman did not know the status of the two dogs taken from Effinger's vehicle. He said they were both "problematic."
The property owner, Robert D. Chapman II, 32, of Gridley, faces several charges in the incident, including allowing people use buildings on his property to fight dogs and destroying evidence. He is set for trial in April.