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Tuesday, March 22, 2011— Bond has been set at $100,000 for one man, and $50,000 for another after both were arrested during a dogfight in progress, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday.

Earl Johnson Toriano Watson

Earl Johnson, 31, of the 1400 block of Marquette in Chicago, has been charged with dogfighting and providing a place for dogfighting, both felonies.  His bond was set at $100,000.  Toriano Watson, 38, of the 1300 block of west Marquette has been charged with attending a dogfight.  He received a $50,000 bond.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Animal Crimes Unit opened an investigation after developing leads that a dogfight was planned in the Englewood area of Chicago.  The fight was scheduled for the afternoon of March 18th, at Earl Johnson’s home.  An undercover investigator with the Animal Crimes Unit was able to gain the confidence of the dogfight organizers, and attended the event.  As soon as the fight began, the officer notified the surveillance and arrest team waiting for his signal outside.  At that time, police entered the basement apartment and took Toriano Watson into custody. 

Earl Johnson fled the scene through an open window, and officers gave chase.  Members of the Sheriff’s Police Animal Crimes Unit, with the assistance of the Chicago Police Department’s Animal Crimes Unit, were able to apprehend Johnson and placed him under arrest.  Earl Johnson and Toriano Watson will appear in court again today at 26th and California.

This is the sixth time that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has broken up a dogfight in progress since the inception of the Animal Crimes Unit three years ago.

Juan LealIn a separate incident on March 16th, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Animal Crimes Unit charged Juan Leal, 31, of the 2200 block of Waterbury in Joliet, with selling a dog for the purpose of fighting, a felony offense.  Officers began their investigation into Leal’s illegal activities after receiving information from a law enforcement agency in Bedford, Virginia.  The agency had heard about the efforts of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to combat dogfighting in our area, and decided to reach out to CCSO’s Animal Crimes Unit.  Through various leads investigators were able to identify Leal as a dogfighting vendor, and made arrangements to purchase a one-year-old fighting pit bull from him for $1500.  Undercover officers met with Leal to complete the transaction, then placed him under arrest.  Two pit bulls were seized from his possession at that time.

Leal received a $50,000 bond.  His next court date is March 24th in Maywood.

The two pit bulls seized during the dogfight are being housed at Chicago Animal Care and Control.  The pit bulls recovered from Leal were taken to the Animal Welfare League.

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