An Orange County man will spend at least five years in prison after a jury convicted him of crimes that include dogfighting Wednesday.
Daniel Crew was found guilty by the jury for 11 counts of dogfighting, three counts of felony animal cruelty, 14 counts of animal cruelty, and two counts of excessive restraint.
Crew’s minimum sentencing is five years, and could last as long as 10.5 years, in addition to a probation period of three years where he will not be allowed to own dogs. Crew must also pay Orange County Animal Services $50,000 in restitution fees.
In March 2018, 30 dogs were seized from 9316 N.C. 57 in the Rougemont community where there was an alleged dog-fighting pit set up. Treadmills for exercising the dogs were also found.
At the time, Crew was charged with 30 counts of dogfighting and other offenses, according to the News & Observer.
Investigator Dawn Hunter of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, who worked the criminal investigation involving the dogfighting at the Rougemont property, told the News of Orange County that the OCSO narcotics division received a search warrant for the property on March 2, 2018.
“When I got there I was part of the SRT team,” Hunter said. “So I was assisting the narcotics division, of course we dealt with the narcotics side of it. So we dealt with that, and the dogs were there, and I was assigned the dog case afterwards. So there was two different investigations.”
Hunter praised the District Attorney’s office and the investigators involved for the result of Wednesday’s sentencing.
“I think our DA’s office did a wonderful job and everybody that was involved in the case,” Hunter said.
Crew’s trial lasted around two weeks, and included his phone recordings and finance records, as well as photographs of the dogs and their living conditions, according to the News & Observer. The photographs of the dogs displayed animals with scars on their legs, paws and faces. Experts brought forth to testify stated the disfigurements were consistent with dogfighting.
The News & Observer reported that many of the dogs also had diseases, including tick-borne parasite, babesia, and worms.
Twenty-two of the 30 dogs were euthanized because they were considered too dangerous to enter society, according to the News & Observer, but eight of the dogs were able to have a happy ending and find homes.
Bob Marotto, director of Orange County Animal Services, spoke with the News & Observer in March, and credited the partners who worked with OCAS in helping to find the dogs new homes.
“We were fortunate to be able to partner with trusted and highly respected colleagues in the field of animal welfare during the process of rehoming these dogs,” Marotto said. “We knew that they would be attentive to not only the needs of the dogs, but also the needs of the families and communities with which these dogs will live out the rest of their lives.”