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Friday, November 18, 2022

Baton Rouge Man Sentenced for Animal Fighting Venture Crimes

A Louisiana man was sentenced yesterday to 12 months and one day in prison for possessing dogs for the purpose of using them in an animal fighting venture.

On July 12, 2022, Aquintas Kantrell Singleton, 35, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty before Judge Shelly D. Dick of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana to an Animal Welfare Act crime involving the possession of 17 dogs for use in an animal fighting venture. On Thursday, Singleton returned to that courtroom for sentencing.

According to court documents, law enforcement agents became aware of Singleton’s involvement in an interstate dog fighting ring in 2017. Beginning in the summer of 2017 — as recorded through court-authorized wiretaps — Singleton had various telephone conversations with other dogfighters to discuss the results of fights held in Louisiana and Georgia. They also discussed upcoming matches and the stakes they would wager in those dogfights. The details of these conversations included strategies and plans for how to breed, market, house, train and prepare dogs for dogfights. Based on these calls and other information, law enforcement agents expanded their investigation.

On Oct. 24, 2017, agents searched the defendant’s residence in Baton Rouge where they found seventeen pitbull-type dogs. They were kept separated from one another and restrained with heavy chains and weighted dog collars, or kept in rudimentary cages. Many of the dogs exhibited scars or fresh wounds consistent with dogfighting. Agents found a file box containing breed information, breeding papers, breed magazines, and dog registration papers. Agents also found Dexamethasone — a diuretic used to achieve proper weight in preparation for the dogfights — and other dog-fighting paraphernalia.

 “Blood sports, like dogfighting, are federal crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “To set animals against each other for entertainment is cruel and unjust. Anyone who commits these acts should expect to be caught and to serve time in prison.”

“This case, and several related matters, are companions to a drug conspiracy successfully prosecuted by this office,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe Jr. for the Middle District of Louisiana. “The interconnection between drug crimes and animal fighting crimes is well known, and this office will continue to use evidence from that interconnection to bring violent criminals to justice. Make no mistake, pitting animals against each other for gaming and cruel amusement is violence.”  

“The Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General-Investigations, actively investigates allegations of animal abuse,” said Special Agent in Charge Dax Roberson. “This agency has made animal fighting a high priority in order to demonstrate that these blatant acts of cruelty to animals will no longer be tolerated. We would like to thank the Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for aggressively prosecuting perpetrators of animal fighting and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners for assisting in enforcing these federal statutes.”

“Animal cruelty is a heinous crime that deserves our ultimate condemnation and serious legal consequences for those who engage in it for ‘sport’ and/or profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams Jr. of the FBI New Orleans Field Office. “Today’s sentencing should serve as a reminder to those like Mr. Aquintas Singleton who commit such crimes, that they will be held accountable. We thank our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Louisiana, U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General for their outstanding cooperation and great work in the prosecution of those who participated in animal fighting ventures.”

The FBI and USDA investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Matthew D. Evans of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lyman Thornton III for the Middle District of Louisiana prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Environmental Justice
Press Release Number: 
22-1241
Updated November 18, 2022