Tue, 08 Dec 2009 19:18:27 GMT — The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis, MO: Four men received prison sentences in federal court today for their roles in a dog-fighting conspiracy and selling dogs for fighting purposes, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today. According to the facts filed with the court at time the pleas, between January 2008 and June 2009, Michael Morgan, Robert Hackman, Teddy Kiriakidis, Ronald Creach and Jack Ruppel were involved in animal fighting ventures and dog fighting competitions. They established and ran various kennel operations to purchase, breed, train, condition, and develop Pit Bull Terriers for participation in the animal fighting ventures, Robert Hackman operated Shake Rattle and Roll Kennel, Jack Ruppel operated Ozark Hillbillys Kennel, Michael Morgan a/k/a Missouri Mike operated Cannibal Kennel, and Ronald Creach operated Hard Goodbye Kennel. Each defendant admitted that they routinely inhumanely abandoned, destroyed, and otherwise disposed of Pit Bull Terriers that lost fighting competitions, did not perform aggressively enough, or that became injured, wounded, or disabled as a result of participating in an animal fighting ventures. By pleading guilty, all defendants agreed to forfeit to the government all of the animals, money, weapons, animal fighting paraphernalia, property and assets seized by law enforcement officials during their investigation. In a separate legal proceeding, the United States District Court ordered that ownership of the dogs that were seized as part of the underlying federal investigation be transferred to the United States Government and thereafter to the Humane Society of Missouri. The Humane Society has, and remains, responsible for the care, treatment and potential placement and adoption of the dogs. Michael Morgan, a/k/a Missouri Mike, 38, Hannibal, MO, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, following by two years of supervised release, on one felony count of conspiracy to commit federal offenses and one felony count of prohibitions against animal fighting ventures; Robert Hackman, 56, Foley, MO, sentenced to one year and one day in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, on one felony count of conspiracy to commit federal offenses and one felony count of prohibitions against animal fighting ventures; Teddy Kiriakidis, a/k/a Teddy Bogart, 50, Leasburg, MO, sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and a fine of $2000, on one felony count of conspiracy to commit federal offenses; and Ronald Creach, 34, Leslie, MO, sentenced to 18 months prison, followed by two years of supervised release on one felony count of conspiracy to commit federal offenses. Each defendant was also prohibited from possessing or owning any dogs or other animals while on supervised release. Jack Ruppel, 35, of Eldon, pleaded guilty Friday, September 4, before U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Knox in Jefferson City and awaits sentencing. Reap commended the work on the case by the Missouri State Highway Patrol , the Humane Society of Missouri, the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Drake, Charlie Birmingham and Julie Wright who are handling the cases for the U.S. Attorney TMs Office.
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