HANSON (WBSM) — A Massachusetts man has been arrested after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to dogfighting.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy, John Murphy of Hanson was arrested after a grand jury indicted him on nine counts of possessing animals for use in an animal fighting venture, in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“This is the first time federal criminal charges have been brought in the District of Massachusetts under the federal Animal Welfare Act,” Levy said. “Dogfighting for entertainment and profit is cruel, it’s inhumane, and it is a felony under federal law.”

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Federal agents executed a search of Murphy’s Hanson residence on June 7, 2023 and “seized nine pit bull-type dogs possessed for the purpose of animal fighting,” Levy said.

Agents also recovered items from Murphy’s home that Levy said are commonly used in dogfighting, such as veterinary supplies and disposable skin staplers, which are used to close dogfight wounds; injectable anabolic steroids; dogfighting literature; dogfighting training equipment; and break sticks, which Levy said are used by dogfighters to pry open a dog’s bite of another dog.

Levy said his office has also “filed a civil forfeiture action to forfeit the dogs seized to date during the investigation.”

“Today’s arrest puts an end to the calculated brutality we allege Mr. Murphy perpetuated and should serve as a warning to others who engage in the barbaric practice of dog fighting,” Levy said.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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