Dog-fighting investigation

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided this photo of a dog being rescued in April 2016 in Rock Island.


The last of 10 defendants charged in connection with a dog fighting ring in the Quad-Cities has pleaded guilty.

Algerron Lee Goldsmith appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

He will be sentenced March 15. Goldsmith remains free on bond.

On April 14, 2016, investigators seized 64 pit bull-type dogs from 10 homes in Rock Island and one in Davenport as part of an investigation into a dog-fighting ring that began a year earlier through information developed by the Rock Island Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Quad-Cities Federal Gang Task Force.

The seized dogs were placed into the custody of the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals. Some puppies were born while in the care of the ASPCA.

No dog-fighting charges were filed immediately following the seizure, but federal prosecutors the next day filed a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the seized dogs.

More than half of the dogs had to be euthanized because of behavioral or serious medical issues.

Some of the men hosted dog fights in their homes, while others promoted dogs through a short-lived website. Some of the dogs were killed, according to prosecutors.

Many of the dogs that were seized had scars and wounds indicative of organized dog fighting and several of the men had "paraphernalia," such as medical supplies, dog sporting magazines and treadmills in their homes.

Goldsmith and nine others were indicted by a federal grand jury in September. The co-defendants have since pleaded guilty and in September were sentenced anywhere from time served to 30 months in prison.