Charges were announced this morning against a Chester County couple accused of running a major dogfighting operation out of their home on Manor Road in West Brandywine.
Prosecutors say Shane Santiago and his wife were running the operation while their five children lived at the home. Officials say the couple raised pit bulls, trained them on treadmills and gave them steroidal type medicines to make them stronger. They then taught the dogs to kill other dogs, according to prosecutors.
District Attorney Tom Hogan claims the couple taught the stronger dogs how to practice on weaker dogs. Dog fighters from other states allegedly came to their home and watched the dogs fight, often to the death. While the winning dogs were taken home, the losing dogs either died in the ring or were killed by the owners, according to prosecutors.
Hogan also states officials recovered jumper cables with fur still on them in Santiago’s basement. Santiago allegedly used the cable to electrocute the dogs.
“The dogs lived by one rule,” said Hogan. “Fight and win, or die. At least ten dogs died by defendant Shane Santiago’s hands and countless more were maimed in these dogfights.”
Hogan says they were alerted to the possibility of dogfighting in the western part of Chester County when they received reports of dead and mutilated pit bulls along the roadsides over the last few months.
Officials originally targeted Santiago as part of a drug operation which eventually led them to the dog-fighting connection, according to investigators. Santiago and his wife were both charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment. They are currently in custody.