OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
OCTOBER 6, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHWEST MISSOURI MAN PLEADS GUILTY
TO DOG FIGHTING CONSPIRACY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Gilman City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to participating in a conspiracy to promote and participate in dog fights.
Cris E. Bottcher, 48, of Gilman City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith this afternoon to the charges contained in a June 23, 2009, federal indictment.
Bottcher, a registered nurse employed at Harrison County Community Hospital in Bethany, Mo., admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to transport animals across state lines for an animal fighting venture. In addition to the conspiracy, Bottcher also pleaded guilty to sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.
Bottcher conspired with others to sponsor dog fights or transport animals for dog fights, which took place at Bottcher’s home on Feb. 28, April 25 and May 8, 2009.
The government is seeking to take legal ownership of Bottcher’s 11 pit bull terriers, which are in the care and custody of the Humane Society. Under federal law, the government can seek the forfeit of any animals engaged in an animal fighting venture. Additionally, the government is seeking a court order requiring the defendants to reimburse the Humane Society for all costs incurred for care of the animals while the animals are in the custody of the Humane Society.
Under federal statutes, Bottcher is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Office of Inspector General-Investigations, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at