This article was originally published on goerie.com on August 3, 2017 by Ed Palatella.
Danny R. Swift must also pay nearly $55,000 in restitution to cover the care for the injured pit bulls. He was convicted in June.
A 42-year-old Erie man convicted of dog fighting was sentenced on Thursday to 10 to 20 months in the Erie County Prison and eight years of probation and banned from owning dogs.
The defendant, Danny R. Swift, must also pay a total of nearly $55,000 to two local animal shelters that cared for the dogs injured in the case.
The sentence, from Judge Daniel Brabender, was in the standard range of the state sentencing guidelines. He rejected Swift’s claims of innocence and called dog fighting “a sadistic enjoyment of a brutal spectacle.”
A jury in June convicted Swift of three third-degree felony counts of animal fighting, a first-degree misdemeanor count of possession of the instrument of a crime and a third-degree misdemeanor count of possession of animal fighting paraphernalia.
Brabender also found Swift guilty of seven out of 14 summary counts of animal cruelty, one for each of the 14 pit bulls that were removed from Swift’s house in the 1000 block of West 28th Street after an Erie police officer saw two dogs fighting outside the house on Aug. 1. Brabender on Thursday fined Swift $50 on each of the summary counts, for a total fine of $350.
Five of the dogs have since died, District Attorney Jack Daneri said, and one of the surviving dogs has been adopted, said Nicole Bawol, executive director of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The humane society and the A.N.N.A. Shelter are caring for the other surviving dogs.
Swift must pay the humane society $24,073 and the A.N.N.A. Shelter $30,619.63, for a total of $54,692.63.
As part of the sentence, Swift must also forfeit ownership of the surviving dogs and can no longer own any dogs, Brabender said. He said Swift will be eligible for work release after serving 30 days in prison.