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Couple Charged With Operating Dogfighting Ring in Chester County

By John Ostapkovich

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) -- Officials in Chester County, Pa. have made arrests in a gruesome case of alleged cruelty involving dog fighting.

Former West Brandywine Township residents Shane Santiago and his wife Laura Acampora are being held on a series of charges that include endangering the welfare of children because, according to authorities, they were raising five children in the rented home while dogfighting was going on in the basement.

All the children have now been placed in the custody of other family members.

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(At times fighting back tears, Chester County DA Tom Hogan describes evidence of animal cruelty found in a West Brandywine home. Credit: John Ostapkovich)


Chester County DA Tom Hogan says the case first came to light after several dead pit bulls were found in the county over the past couple of months.  Investigators say that's a sure sign of a dogfighting ring operating nearby, because the losing dogs usually end up dead.

Officials say they began to connect the case to Santiago, whose name initially surfaced in a drug investigation in Coatesville, as Santiago and Acampora were being evicted from their home in West Brandywine.

When police entered the premises, they say, they found a house of horrors that included blood-caked walls and carpets, a noose that had been used to hang a dog that had bitten one of the children, and electrical wires used to execute losing dogs.

Santiago and Acampora were scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on a long list of charges.

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