SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A Placerville man is facing federal charges after investigators accused him of owning dozens of pit bulls that were used for dog fighting.
A 27-count indictment was returned Thursday against Carlos Villasenor, 38, following a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation, the Department of Justice said.
Court documents show a special agent with the USDA purchased a dog from Villasenor for $1,500 back in May. After it was picked up, the dog was taken to El Dorado County Animal Services.
According to the documents, a veterinarian report from the shelter showed the dog was riddled with health issues, including alopecia and giardia.
In June, the special agent wrote they purchased a puppy from Villasenor for $700. Based on messages from Villasenor, the agent believed the puppy was part of a bloodline of fighting dogs.
According to the DOJ, court documents show 27 dogs were seized from Villasenor’s property on June 17.
Half of the dogs were attached to huts or trees by heavy chains, the special agent said.
Documents show a small chihuahua was also found, which the agent suspected could have been used as a “bait dog.”
Investigators said many of the pit bulls had untreated conditions and at least one dog had facial injuries after they believe it may have been attacked by another dog.
Agents said they also found evidence of a dog fighting venture, including a breeding stand and treadmills, as well as veterinary supplies like skin staplers, antibiotics and IV bags.
If he is found guilty, Villasenor could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He may also be required to pay restitution surrounding the care and rehabilitation of the dogs found on his property.