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Authorities Probing Alleged Dogfighting Operation In Chaparral

Authorities allege a Chaparral, New Mexico man has been operating a dogfighting ring.

51-year-old David Swann has not been charged with anything, and says he trains his dogs for hunting. He does not understand why he’s being labeled a dogfighter.

“I’m not a dogfighter,” says Swann, but it’s what he’s being called. “I was upset, I was shocked, when they first said it, I just couldn’t believe it,” he says.

One by one, animal control officers hauled 25 dogs off Swann’s property Thursday. “So I’m guilty because I have friendly dogs, and they’re mine,” says Swann.

Swann says he’s lived at his current address for the past two years. When officers tore through his fence with an eviction notice, a backyard filled with contraptions raised their suspicions.

“We found spring poles which are commonly used to train dogs to fight – it strengthens their jaws, upper shoulders, and their hips – we found he was playing with ’em with big heavy tires,” said Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Investigator Robyn Gojkovich.

In addition, officers found wooden slabs linked together, with chains to hold dogs in place. Investigators say it’s a treadmill typically used for fighters. Animal control officers say they’ve never seen anything like it.

“The treadmill was broken…I needed to fix the belt so I didn’t get to use it; it had broken slaps but I planned to use it to train dogs and keep ’em in shape,” said Swann.

Investigators found cages littered across a peaceful backyard, and pulleys suspended from trees. But Swann argues his dogs would play with them instead of biting branches.

“The chain probably weighs 80 pounds if not more; there was no dog on it,” said Swann, adding, “I don’t fight my dogs. You know I raise some to go hog hunting and that’s it; some of my dogs have fought each other; I break ’em up and don’t let ’em fight.”

Investigators say machines used to condition dogs for hog hunting or any other type of blood sport is against the law and could actually be enough to charge someone with dogfighting.

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