By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A suburban New York man who admitted causing the death of 13 pit bulls he trained to fight was sentenced on Monday to up to three years in prison, officials said.
Anthony Reddick, 53, also will be prohibited from owning any animals for 15 years, according to the office of Nassau County, New York District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
A garage fire in February at a Freeport, New York building where Reddick lived killed 13 dogs that were bred and trained for fighting, Rice's office said.
Local firefighters and police discovered the dead dogs, three live dogs and dog-fighting paraphernalia when they responded to the fire, the statement said.
The dead dogs, which ranged from about 2-and-a-half months old to 5 years old, all burned to death.
Reddick pleaded guilty in August to felony animal fighting for breeding the dogs and felony animal fighting for training the dogs, it said. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of possessing fighting paraphernalia and animal fighting.
He was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge David Sullivan to one to three years in prison. Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years in prison.
"The utter disregard for the safety and dignity these animals shown by this defendant is truly shocking," Rice said. "Though nothing will ever erase their terrible suffering, with this sentence we are helping to ensure that he will no longer be a threat to animals for a significant period of time."
Investigators the day after the fire found another pit bull that lived in Reddick's apartment that had facial scarring consistent with dog fighting, the Rice statement said.
The paraphernalia included tread mills, tethers, restraints, syringes and break sticks which are used to release a dog's grip on another one.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)