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Men face dog-fighting charges

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By David Giuliani

Two Las Vegas men are accused of arranging dog fights, and one dog owner reported that she came home to see her pet injured.

Phil Juarez, 36, 1028 Railroad Ave., and Ramon Herrera, 23, Lakeside Trailer Court, Space 39, were arrested on charges of dog fighting and conspiracy.

A state official says this is only the third criminal case involving dog-fighting since the law against the practice was enacted nearly three decades ago.

According to a criminal complaint, a resident of Lakeside Trailer Court identified Herrera as one of two men who got a pitbull out of a white Suburban and had it fight another one chained at a residence. The fight lasted five minutes.

The men took another pitbull from the Suburban and had it fight the chained-up dog for 10 to 15 minutes, the complaint states.

Another resident in the area told state police that she came home to find her dog cut up. Less than an hour later, a man identified as Juarez showed up in a white Suburban, asking the resident if her dog was all right, police said.

Juarez offered to sew up the dog with fishing line, but requested to tie up the canine’s mouth so the dog wouldn’t bite him, according to the complaint. He told the resident he wouldn’t be able to stay until the police arrived because he had to go to work.

In an interview with state police, Juarez said when he got to Herrera’s house at the trailer court, he saw two dogs fighting, the complaint states. He said he knocked on the resident’s door, but no one answered. He didn’t want to stay around because he feared the possible repercussions from the dog’s owners if they came home, police said.

Juarez denied arranging the dog fight except to break it up and told officers that he had been walking his dogs around Storrie Lake but that they were on leashes the entire time.

But when state police questioned Juarez’s wife, she said the two of them had been with each other nearly the entire day, including trips to a grocery store, a video store and a a friend’s house, according to the criminal complaint. She never mentioned going to Storrie Lake.

In a second interview, Juarez changed his story, saying he didn’t go to Storrie but had been planning to do so.

Juarez and Herrera were taken into custody.

Heather Ferguson, the coordinator for the state attorney general’s office’s animal cruelty task force, said only two other criminal dog-fighting cases have been filed since a state law took effect in 1981. The previous cases were in Doña Ana County, with just one resulting in a conviction.

“We do have a lot of dog-fighting all over the state. We’re seeing that law enforcement has been vigorously enforcing animal cruelty laws,” Ferguson said.