PONTIAC - A Michigan man was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in a dogfight near Gridley.
Dante L. Effinger, 33 of Detroit, Mich., pleaded guilty to two counts of transporting two dogs believed to be used in fighting in December. Livingston County Circuit Judge Harold Frobish sentenced Effinger to a year with the Department of Correction for the two 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 year sentence was requested by Assistant State's Attorney Carey Luckman.
Effinger was pulled over by authorities in September after he was seen leaving a site believed to be used for dog fighting in rural Gridley.
Cook County authorities investigating dog fighting followed suspects from Chicago to a home at 5905 East 1100 North Road, rural Gridley. Officials broke up the 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, which is common among dogs trained to fight, authorities said.
Effinger, who also pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of attending a dogfight, also will have to pay more than $2,500 in fines.
He could be released sooner if he receives credit for good behavior.
Effinger's wife also was allowed to regain possession on the 2000 GMC Yukon which was used to transport the dogs. Luckman wanted the vehicle to be seized by the county, but it was titled in the wife's name.
Luckman did not know the status of the two dogs that were taken from Effinger's vehicle. He said they were both "problematic."
The property owner, Robert D. Chapman II, 32, of Gridley, also 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.