2 face animal cruelty charges related to dog fighting

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two individuals from Cheektowaga were arraigned late last month on numerous alleged animal cruelty charges following an investigation, the Erie Country District Attorney’s Office announced.

23-year-old Aveon D. Lockhart and 24-year-old James A. Jackson allegedly trained three pit bull mixes for the purpose of animal fighting. The two are also accused of intentionally depriving the dogs of food and medical treatment.

Police received a tip regarding dog fighting in April 2022, before Erie County SPCA investigators executed a search warrant, seizing two male, and one female pit bull mixed breed dogs from an Andrews Avenue residence. Investigators found the remains of two more dogs in the backyard.

Lockhart and Jackson were indicted on the following charges:

Three counts of Prohibition of Animal Fighting (Class “E” felonies under New York Agriculture and Markets Law)

Four counts of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance (Class “A” misdemeanors under New York Agriculture and Markets Law)

One count of Prohibition of Animal Fighting, Possession, Sale or Making of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia (Class “B” misdemeanor under New York Agriculture and Markets Law)

“These defendants are accused of using cruel methods to train these dogs to become dangerous animals. This case highlights the tragedy of these underground, illegal activities,” the Erie County District Attorneys Office said.

Lockhart and Jackson were released from jail as the charges don’t qualify for bail, and are scheduled to appear before an Erie County court on March 19.

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