On Wednesday, Darryl Bryant of Wilkinsburg, PA., who operated a dog fighting ring from his mother’s house and also electrocuted dogs who wouldn’t fight, was sentenced to up to six and a half years in prison by an Allegheny County judge.
Also, Common Pleas Judge Thomas E. Flaherty sentenced Bryant, 49, to 11 years of probation. During this time he may not own or possess any animals.
Last April, a jury found Darryl Bryant guilty of two counts of animal fighting and one count of possessing an instrument of crime. He was also ordered to pay an undetermined amount of restitution for his crimes.
Judge Flaherty took a very dim view of Bryant’s acts, stating:
I see dog fighting as also a crime that has reverberations on society and beyond. Those dogs to the very end put their care and trust and confidence in Mr. Bryant, and he let them down.”
Flaherty had earlier revoked Bryant’s bond for reportedly threatening a juror at a Downtown McDonald’s during his trial.
On Feb. 24, 2012, authorities who raided Bryant’s home on Bessica Street found 13 pit bull-terrier mixes between 5 months and 5 years old locked in cages.
The authorities discovered spatters of dried dog blood on basement walls, and equipment used to condition dogs for fighting, including a treadmill and bite sticks. They also found medical supplies for treating injuries.
A veterinarian who conducted medical examinations on the dogs identified dozens of scars on the dogs that she determined were not consistent with normal play.
Two of the dogs, according to Daisy Balawejder, a coordinator for the Humane Society’s Dog Fighting Rescue Coalition, have been placed with families, but the 11 remaining dogs had to be euthanized.
The defendant, Bryant, declined to speak at his sentencing. Marva Bryant,Darryl’s sister, left the courtroom immediately after Flaherty announced her brother’s sentence and declined to comment on the verdict.
Bryant’s defense attorney, Samir Sarna, had asked Flaherty for no more than a year in jail, while Assistant District Attorney Rachel Fleming asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence of up to 19 years.
Despite being sentenced to six and a half years, Bryant could serve as few as 39 months of the sentence.
Flaherty said he believed the sentence would send a message to deter others from dog fighting.
Even though they’re not human beings, I believe it was cruel.”
According to Pittsburgh police Officer Christine Luffey, the lead investigator on the case, Flaherty’s sentence was fair. She stated:
I sleep better at night knowing that the dogs in Pittsburgh are much safer with Darryl Bryant behind bars where he belongs.”
About 10 people with placards condemning dog fighting showed up outside Flaherty’s courtroom.
One of them, Kim Marasco, said: “We don’t want to see this in anyone’s neighborhood.” Her sign pictured a severely beaten pit bull. The words that were on the sign read: “If you don’t report it, you support it.”
Bryant will receive credit for the 81 days he already spent in the Allegheny County Jail.
Written by: Douglas Cobb