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Ramona man pleads guilty to training dogs for fighting

September 29, 2010 |  5:31 pm

A 35-year-old man in rural Ramona in northeast San Diego County pleaded guilty Wednesday to five counts of owning and training dogs for fighting.

Raul Leyva faces a possible 11-year prison sentence when he is sentenced Nov. 23. His guilty plea came as his trial on dog-fighting charges was set to begin in the El Cajon branch of San Diego County Superior Court.

Animal-control officers raided Leyva's property in 2008, seizing 10 pit bulls, some of which had scars similar to those seen on fighting dogs. Also seized was a treadmill, bloody carpeting, pictures of dogfights and a manual on how to train dogs for fighting, according to court documents.

Dawn Danielson, director of the county Department of Animal Services, said the guilty plea ensures that Leyva "will not harm another dog for a very long time."

Four of the 10 dogs found new owners. Six were euthanized.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego