Man Pleads Guilty to Dog Fighting Offenses
An Ohio man pleaded guilty to two counts of raising and training dogs for the purpose of dog fighting.
Michael Valentine, 40, of Bidwell, Ohio, admitted to raising and training over fifty dogs near his home in Gallia County, Ohio. According to court documents, law enforcement first investigated Valentine for dog fighting offenses in 2019 following a dog attack on a small child living with the defendant. That investigation led to a search warrant of the defendant’s residence and the seizure of 40 dogs. The search also recovered numerous items of dog fighting paraphernalia, including treadmills, veterinary supplies, and dog fighting videos.
On March 8, 2022, a second search warrant was executed at the defendant’s residence as part of a fentanyl-distribution investigation. That search revealed substantial evidence of drug distribution, as well as two assault-style rifles. In addition, a search of a nearby parcel of land revealed an additional 11 dogs, which the defendant was keeping for purposes of dog fighting.
Senior Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Pakiz, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Marous for the Southern District of Ohio are prosecuting this case.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General (USDA-OIG) and the FBI.
This investigation was conducted as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) initiative. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.