New Sarpy man pleads guilty after dog fighting arrest

New Sarpy man pleads guilty after dog fighting arrest

A New Sarpy man accused of using pit bulls for dog fighting in the summer of 2016 recently pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals, earning him a suspended sentence of six months in prison and two years misdemeanor probation.

Claude Lewis, 37, of 919 E. Lawson St., pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain. He has also been ordered to pay $1,135 restitution to the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter and was fined $150. He cannot have possession or ownership of any animals during his probation period.

As part of the plea agreement, two counts of failure to register a pit bull were dismissed.

Lewis was arrested in July of 2016 and was initially booked on 40 charges, including five counts of using animals for dog fighting, seven counts of cruelty to animals, 11 counts of failure to provide pit bull registration, nine counts of failure to vaccinate for rabies, six counts of failure to provide required breeder registration, failure to renew registration and failure to produce a driver’s license.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes said Parish Animal Control Officer Leonie Agurcia reported the dogs were allegedly being used for fighting.

Following Lewis’ arrest, Yoes said Lewis claimed ownership of all the animals on the property and there was no indication yet that anyone else was involved or that the dog fighting was part of an ongoing ring.

“Most of the dogs were in bad shape,” Yoes said of them scoring poorly on physical exams.

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