SOUTH OF FORT MYERS
A father and son have been arrested for allegedly organizing dog fights in Lehigh Acres.
According to the Lee County Sheriff, Carmine Marceno, Anthony Pew Sr. and Anthony Pew Jr. face charges of dog fighting and harassment.
After receiving a tip, officers investigated a home on W 9th Street. There they found several dogs with extensive injuries, with signs of possible dog fighting.
Marceno said the investigation led officers to another home where more dogs were found.
Pieces of equipment were found in the homes that detectives said were consistent with use in dog fighting, such as treadmills used to build muscle.
Marceno said 16 dogs were removed from both scenes. He said many of the dogs were in poor condition, however none were found dead. One of the eliminated animals included pigs and chickens.
The dogs are being treated at the local humane society.
The sheriff added that they are investigating other people and other households that may be involved.
The 16 dogs that were removed from the two Lehigh Acres homes were examined by veterinarians with Lee County Domestic Animal Services. The sheriff said several of the dogs need ongoing medical attention for their injuries.
The investigation into the dogfighting began last week after tips came in from the community. Investigators responded and found 16 caged Pit Bull mixes, many with injuries consistent with dog fighting.
“These dogs were in deplorable conditions, locked in cages full of urine and feces. Many were found malnourished and with open wounds,” Marceno said.
The researchers say the dogs were aggressive. One tore a stuffed animal to pieces. Two others began attacking each other through their cages and had to be separated. Patrick Logue, a master dog trainer with Bark Busters Home Dog Training, says this is a taught behavior.
“Fighting and aggression is very much a learned behavior, just as it is within us,” Logue said. “It is not the fault of these dogs that they have been put in the situation.”
Rehab is a long, slow process, according to Logue. He said the process will likely begin immediately.
“They’ll just need some time to relax because the stress of being in that environment is toxic anyway. Then once they get out of the environment, they can relax and hopefully realize they’re not being yelled at, not hit, not provoked, and maybe they can start. to relax and rehab,” Logue said.
Logue trains aggressive dogs and has even worked with a dog rescued from a fighting ring. He said it’s important to teach dogs that other animals are not a threat.
“Let’s see if we can get a stuffed dog 20 feet away from them, and how do they react? Can we get that stuffed dog closer? How is the dog reacting right now? And in the meantime they’re checking on them, making sure that one, the dog that they’re testing, is safe. And also people are safe working with the dog,” Logue said.
The images are difficult to see. The sheriff said he’s sick of seeing them. Logue says that with the right training and love, the dogs can still likely be rehabilitated.
“Sure enough, this is a dog that is having a very bad start in life, but that doesn’t mean the end is going to act that way too,” Logue said.
Anthony Pew Sr. and Jr. are expected to return to court next month. They face felony charges related to the investigation.
Logue said that if any of the dogs end up being adopted locally, he offers to train them at no cost to the owner.
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