Freeport Man Pleads Guilty to All Counts in Garage Fire that Killed 13 Pit Bulls
By Long Island News & PRs Published: August 26 2014
53-year-old to receive prison time on felony and misdemeanor animal fighting charges.
Mineola, NY - August 25, 2014 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a Freeport man pleaded guilty today to all charges in connection with a residential garage fire in February that killed 13 pit bulls and revealed paraphernalia used for the breeding and training of the dogs for fighting. The man also forfeited today three living pit bulls found alive at the scene.
Anthony Reddick, 53, pleaded guilty today to one count of felony animal fighting for breeding the dogs, one count of felony animal fighting for training the dogs, three counts of misdemeanor possession of animal fighting paraphernalia, and 16 misdemeanor animal fighting charges – one for each dog found. Prosecutors are asking for the maximum sentence of 1-1/3 to four years in prison. He is due back in court for sentencing on Sept. 22.
“This case is another example of why we need action in Albany to give law enforcement the necessary tools to combat dogfighting and other forms of animal abuse,” DA Rice said. “Though this defendant is a repeat offender, dogfighting has been left out of the litany of qualifying offenses that are subject to increased penalties. That needs to change if we are to fully hold those engaging in dogfighting accountable and deter others from this cruel enterprise.”
DA Rice said that Freeport Village fire and police officials found the dead dogs and dogfighting paraphernalia – as well as three live dogs – when responding to a garage fire on Hillside Avenue in Freeport on Feb. 28. Reddick, the tenant of that multi-tenant home, left the scene soon after the arrival of authorities.
A search warrant executed at the home on March 1 by the DA Squad of the NCPD, with the assistance of Town of Hempstead Animal Control, revealed one additional pit bull, named KK, that lived in the house with Reddick and had face scarring consistent with dogfighting. Investigators also found breeding and training paraphernalia in the garage and in the house including:
- Treadmills with dog tethers
- Apparatus for restraining a female dog for breeding purposes
- Syringes, various injectable medications, animal vitamin supplements, and wound care medications for dogs
- Break-sticks with bite marks on them
- Documents listing animal pairings, events, food recipes, and other written materials related to dogfighting activity
Also found at the home were a machete and wall posters depicting pit bulls with scarring on the face consistent with dogfighting.
DA Squad detectives tracked down and arrested Reddick in Hempstead on March 1.
The deceased dogs ranged in age from about two and a half months to five years old. Most had third-degree burns and all were burned to death in the fire.
Since April 2012, DA Rice has advocated for the passage of bills in the State Senate and Assembly (S6643/S775b) to increase penalties on crimes like animal cruelty and dogfighting by moving them to the Penal Law section of the state criminal code. These charges, and other laws designed to protect animals, are currently listed under the Agriculture & Markets Law section as unclassified felonies and misdemeanors.
The legislation, if it had passed, would have increased the upstate jail time for dogfighting and made it an eligible offense for prior felony offender status.
Last year, DA Rice started a Countywide ‘Council on Animal Protection & Safety’ in order to provide a forum for local government and non-profit agencies in NassauCounty to coordinate efforts on cases like this one.
Members of the public can report animal crime directly to DA Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit in four ways:
- by walking in to the DA’s Criminal Complaint Unit at 272 Old Country Road
- by calling the DA’s 24 hour Animal Crimes Tipline at (516) 571-7755
- via Internet complaint form at nassauda.org
- via email to AnimalCrimesUnit@nassauda.org
The public should always call 911 in cases of active emergencies or imminent danger.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Libroia of DA Rice’s Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case. Reddick is represented by Martha Leventhal, Esq. of the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County.