Philly dog fighter gets prison time

Almost a week after the Eagles announced they had signed America's best known convicted dog fighter, a Philadelphia man learned he will get prison time for dog fighting.

On Wednesday Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Gordon convicted Anthony Clark on two counts of felony animal fighting for his role in a Philadelphia dog-fighting ring. Clark was also convicted on three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and a felony drug charge of possession with intent to deliver.

He was sentenced to a total of four to eight years in prison: a mandatory three to six years for the drug charge followed by one to two years for the dog fighting case.

The conviction ends one of hundreds of dog fighting cases reported in the city each year - and the numbers are increasing, said the Pennsylvania SPCA. On January 20, the PSPCA joined Philadelphia police when Clark was arrested on drug charges. Two puppies and three adult pit bull mixes were found in the basement of the house where Clark lived; one dog had extensive bite wounds and needed immediate surgery, which was performed by PSPCA. Another dog died shortly after Clark’s arrest from nerve damage in his leg, that resulted from living in a cage that was too small for him.

“We agree with the judge's decision to convict this defendant and sentence him to prison,” said Assistant District Attorney Barbara Paul. “The evidence shows clearly how these animals suffered, and we are satisfied that justice was done.”

“We applaud both Judge Gordon and Assistant District Attorney Paul for their commitment to justice for the animals involved in this case,” said Pennsylvania SPCA CEO Sue Cosby. “Our statistics for animal fighting are on the increase – from approximately 200 cases in all of 2008 to 400 so far this year. We are proud of the work our officers do to fight cruelty, neglect and abuse in the city of Philadelphia and beyond, every single day.”

In addition to the sentence, Clark was ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution to the PSPCA for the veterinary care of the dogs.