A Wilkinsburg man convicted of dogfighting in April will head to prison for crimes a judge called "cruel and horrendous."
On Wednesday afternoon, Common Pleas Judge Thomas E. Flaherty sentenced Darryl Bryant, 49, to between three years, three months and six years, six months in a state prison -- with 81 days credited for time served in the Allegheny County Jail -- and 11 years' probation. During his probation, Bryant will not be allowed to own or care for any animal.
A later hearing will determine restitution Bryant must pay for care, treatment and euthanasia after 13 dogs were seized Feb. 24, 2012, from the Bessica Street house Bryant shared with family.
Police found dried blood stains coating the floor and walls of a hallway leading to the basement where the dogs were caged, authorities said. The dogs appeared to have injuries consistent with dogfighting.
Bryant was arrested and charged with two counts of animal cruelty and a count of possessing instruments of crime, including bite sticks and two treadmills, which police said were used to condition dogs used in fights.
Witnesses told the court Wednesday that the dogs seized from Bryant were "emotionally traumatized" and not socialized, and that only two did not have to be euthanized.
"Possibly to the very end, those dogs put their care, trust and confidence in Mr. Bryant, and he let them down," the judge said before announcing the sentence. Judge Flaherty told the court he sees dogfighting "as a crime that has reverberations on society," and that he wanted to pass a fair sentence that would stand, as well as "deter others from dogfighting."
According to court records, Bryant was charged with animal cruelty at least twice before. He was charged with three felony animal fighting counts from July 2009 that were dismissed, and -- in a case that was withdrawn -- he was charged with cruelty to animals in May 2001.
Lexi Belculfine: email@example.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.