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Press Release

Placerville Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing 27 Dogs For Use in Dog Fighting

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Carlos Villasenor, 40, of Placerville, pleaded guilty today to possession of dogs for use in an animal fighting venture, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Villasenor operated a dog breeding business in which he bred dogs from a number of well-known and desirable dogfighting bloodlines. Villasenor transported dogs between California and Mexico for the purpose of dog fighting, trained dogs for dogfighting on his property in Placerville, and sold dogs to buyers primarily outside California.

In September 2020, the sound of dogfighting, with humans egging the dogs on, could be heard from Villasenor’s Placerville property. In June 2021, law enforcement agents executed a federal search warrant at Villasenor’s property and seized 27 pit bull type-dogs, one of whom had injuries to its face consistent with an attack from another dog. Agents also seized one chihuahua mix which was used as a “bait dog.” Approximately half the dogs were tethered by heavy chains, and spaced so that they could see one another, but not reach one another, in order to frustrate the dogs and foster aggression. Many of the dogs had untreated veterinary conditions. Numerous implements of the dog fighting trade were found on the property, including a breeding stand, treadmills, and veterinary supplies including skin staplers, antibiotics, syringes, and IV bags.  In his plea agreement, Villasenor surrendered his interest in the dogs and property seized by law enforcement.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with assistance from El Dorado County Animal Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Hemesath is prosecuting the case.

Villasenor is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge William B. Shubb on March 20, 2023.  Villasenor faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. 

Updated February 26, 2024

Animal Welfare