Lehigh Acres father and son arrested in connection to dogfighting; 16 dogs rescued

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A father and son have been arrested for running alleged dogfighting in Lehigh Acres.

According to Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, Anthony Pew Sr. and Anthony Pew Jr. face charges of dogfighting and baiting.

After receiving a tip, deputies investigated a home on W 9th Street. There they found multiple dogs with extensive injuries, with signs of possible dogfighting.

Anthony Pew Sr. and Anthony Pew Jr.

Marceno said the investigation led deputies to another home where more dogs were found.

Pieces of equipment were found in the homes detectives say were consistent with use in dogfighting, such as treadmills used to build muscles.

Marceno said 16 dogs were removed from both scenes. He said many of the dogs were in bad shape, however, none were found deceased. Sone of the animals removed included pigs and chickens.

The dogs are being treated at the local humane society.

The sheriff added they are looking into other people and other homes that may be involved.

A father and son have been arrested for running alleged dogfighting in Lehigh Acres.

All 16 dogs that were taken from the two Lehigh Acres homes have been checked out by the veterinarians at Lee County Domestic Animal Services. The sheriff said several of the dogs need constant medical care because of their injuries.

The investigation into dogfighting began last week after tips came in from the community. Investigators responded and found 16 caged Pit Bull mixes, many with wounds consistent with dogfighting.

“These dogs were being kept in deplorable conditions, locked in cages filled with urine and feces. Many were found malnourished and had open wounds,” said Marceno.

Investigators say the dogs were aggressive. One tore a stuffed animal to shreds. 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 like it is within us,” said Logue. “It’s not these dogs’ fault that they’re got put in the situation.”

Rehabilitation is a long, time-consuming process, according to Logue. He said the process will likely begin immediately.

“They’re just going to need some time to decompress because the stress of just being in that environment is toxic anyway. So once they get out of the environment, they’re going to be able to relax and hopefully realize that they’re not getting yelled at, they’re not getting beat, they’re not being provoked, and maybe they can just start to relax and kind of rehabilitate themselves,” said Logue.

Logue trains aggressive dogs and has even worked with a dog rescued from a fighting ring. He said it’s important to teach the dogs that other animals are not a threat.

“Let’s see if we can have a stuffed dog 20 feet away from them, and how do they react? Can we move that stuffed dog closer? How is the dog reacting at this point? And all the while they’re checking in on them, making sure that one, the dog that they’re evaluating is safe. And also the people are safe working with the dog,” said Logue.

The images are hard to look at. The sheriff said it sickens him to see them. Logue says, with the right training and love, it’s likely the dogs can still be rehabilitated.

“This is effectively a dog that’s on a really bad start in life, but it doesn’t mean that they’re ending is going to act that way as well,” Logue said.

Anthony Pew Sr. and Jr. are expected back in court next month. They face felony charges related to the investigation.

Logue said if any of the dogs end up being adopted locally, he is offering to provide them with training at no cost to the owner.

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