New Jersey man sentenced for dog fighting ring in Indiana, other states

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Another man involved in a dog fighting ring that stretched between New Jersey and New Mexico, including Indiana has received a federal prison term.

Mario Atkinson, of Asbury Park, New Jersey, received a two-year sentence Wednesday.

Atkinson is the fifth defendant sentenced in the case. All five had pleaded guilty to various felony counts and other charges last summer, and the other four men received prison terms last month.

Prosecutors have said the men participated in dog fights and trafficked in dogs for fights in New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois and New Mexico.

Atkinson had pleaded guilty to sponsoring and exhibiting a dog in a dog fight and unlawful possession of a dog intended to be used for dog fighting.

Four remaining defendants in the case are due to stand trial in October.

The case is part of an effort across the country to combat organized dog fighting, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Almost 100 dogs have been rescued as part of this effort. The Humane Society of the United States assisted with the care of the dogs seized by federal law enforcement, the Press reported.

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