SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment yesterday charging Antonio Casillas-Montero, a.k.a. Stone City Kennel with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General (USDA OIG) as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) are in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the Humacao Strike Force East; the Puerto Rico Police Bureau Welfare and Protection of Animals (Bienestar y Protección de los Animales) from the Arecibo area; the FBI San Juan Cyber Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Humane Society of the United States.
“Dogfighting for entertainment and profit is the organized and atrocious business of breeding and conditioning dogs to fight each other until one dog kills the other,” said U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow. “Beyond the needless suffering it inflicts on animals, it exacts a toll on local animal shelters, humane organizations, and people in general. This arrest ends the defendant’s decades-long involvement in this illegal business, and hopefully will deter others who seek to profit from forcing animals to fight to the death.”
“To force dogs to fight, in some occasions to death, is not only a federal crime, it is also cruel and despicable,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Rebecca González-Ramos. “HSI will remain vigilant and will support our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those committing these heinous crimes.”
According to court documents, Casillas and his co-conspirators (including one who has been living in Florida) have operated for over 30 years in Puerto Rico and elsewhere “Stone City Kennel,” which breeds and fights pit-bull type dogs in the United States and internationally. Stone City Kennel has participated in over 150 dog fights in locations that have included Puerto Rico, México, Ecuador, Perú, the Dominican Republic, New Jersey and New York. In 2020, Casillas explained that Stone City is “Me [and] my partner in Florida.” According to Casillas, he does not “pick up” dogs during fights, meaning that he does not remove a losing dog from a fight.
During the course of the conspiracy, Casillas trained dogs in Puerto Rico for fights. This included using steroids on the fighting dogs, including winstrol, metenolone, and sustanon. Casillas also would chain pit-bull type dogs to tread mills to walk or run for miles.
Casillas sometimes sent his dogs outside of the United States to be conditioned for fighting. This included sending dogs to St. Croix and Ecuador. Some of the reasons were, according to Casillas, the risk associated with conditioning the dogs in the United States and that he had friends abroad who worked the dogs well. The Dominican Republic was the location of several dog fights, where Casillas traveled. After one fight in Santo Domingo, he explained that his dog died after he “got hit with bleeder on nose that never stop[ped].” Dog fights could last over an hour.
The defendant sold pit-bull type dogs for animal fighting ventures, including a female “champion” (a dog who has won around three fights) for approximately $20,000. Other dog sales were negotiated for prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, with shipment to the continental United States via airplane cargo for $200, in addition to the veterinary and kennel expenses. Casillas encouraged potential buyers to fly to Puerto Rico to pick up the dogs in his possession.
On October 6, 2022, four pit-bull-type dogs chained to stakes in the ground near over-turned barrels were found on property associated with Casillas in Humacao, Puerto Rico.
If convicted, Casillas faces up to five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
If you have information regarding dog fights or animal cruelty, please call PRPB Office of the Coordinator of Law 154 at (787)793-1234, extensions 3128 and 3131.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.