Shannon Richardson, 34, the suspended Buffalo police cellblock attendant arrested in connection with a dog-fighting ring, has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor animal abuse counts, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III confirmed Tuesday.
Richardson was arrested Dec. 7 after police discovered four malnourished fighting dogs and fight-training equipment at his Erb Street home.
Richardson faces three felony counts of prohibition of animal fighting and two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. He also faces a misdemeanor count of prohibition of animal fighting in connection with the dog-fighting equipment Buffalo police recovered from the scene, Sedita said.
The indictment was handed up Friday – two days after the Anti-Dogfighting Task Force was reconvened.
Richardson is scheduled to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Thursday before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns. The felonies are punishable by a maximum sentence of four years in jail and/or a fine of $25,000.
Jorge DeRoses, Richardson’s attorney, was out of town Tuesday and unavailable to comment.
One of the dogs seized by police – Ginja, a young pit bull with heavy facial scarring – was subsequently stolen from the Buffalo Animal Shelter on North Oak Street.
A $7,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the return of Ginja.
Buffalo police, meanwhile, are investigating the dog’s disappearance.
“The situation of the missing dog from the Buffalo Animal Shelter remains an active investigation by detectives,” said Michael DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman. “We ask anyone with information regarding the missing dog or the incident to call the police confidential tip line at (716) 847-2255.”
A group of local animal advocates called Ginja’s Gang has distributed fliers showing photos of the missing pit bull and information about the $7,000 reward.
They have targeted streets on the city’s East Side where incidents of dog fighting have been reported, including Erb, Domedion, Laurel, Riley and Landon streets.
“Somebody knows where that dog is,” said Buffalo Police Lt. Steven Nichols. “That’s an awful lot of money for some people.”
Unconfirmed reports indicate the shelter’s security cameras were not operating the day that Ginja was reported missing, believed to be on a weekend in early January.