Pennsylvania Couple Charged In Horrific Dog-Fighting and Child Endangerment Case

pitbullring_121212_Santiagopitbullring_121212_AcamporaThere is another dog fighting arrest this week, though with an added chilling twist of the involvement of children. Shane Santiago and his wife Laura Acampora are charged with endangering the welfare of children in addition to animal cruelty charges because they were raising five children in the rented home while dogfighting was going on in the basement. The children are with other family members and presumably officials have inquired into whether or how other family members were not aware of this large operation before handing over the children. In a twisted irony, police found a copy of parenting magazine in this house of horrors.

Chester County DA Tom Hogan reportedly choked back tears in describing the horrific scene in the house. Police says that several dead pit bulls were found along the road — a common sign of a dogfighting ring operating in the area. Santiago came up on the radar screen as part of a drug investigation in Coatesville. The police found a house with blood-caked walls and carpets. Electrical wires were used to kill the dogs. A noose was still in the house that was used to hang a dog that bit one of the children. One dog was reportedly burned to death in his cage. Santiago allegedly admitted that he has been dog fighting since age 12.

The impact of such horrific scenes on the children is obviously the greatest concern. It is truly chilling to think of children being raised by such cruel individuals and exposed to this type of violence.

New-DocumentAccording to reports. Santiago admitted that he had hanged or electrocuted at least ten dogs. They kept as many as 16 dogs at a time, which makes me wonder how any relative or visitor could have entered the home without understanding that it was a dogfighting operation or at least entirely inappropriate or harmful for children.

Santiago actually ran a dogfighting website that brought other dogfighters to the area.

Notably, the couple cared only marginally more for children since police reported that one of the children was extremely malnourished. One report says all five were malnourished.

I am most interested in how a malnourished child and this house of horrors could go on so long without someone reporting it. I understand that too many children languish in abusive or unhealthy environments. This, however, was an operation that was fairly large.

I would hope that no court would ever return these children to this couple. Moreover, the endangerment charge should generate some jail time if half of these facts are confirmed by the court. Given the reported admissions by Santiago, I assume a plea is in the works but it is not clear how much credit he will get for such a plea based on the strength of the evidence and the involvement of children.

Source: CBS

20 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Couple Charged In Horrific Dog-Fighting and Child Endangerment Case”

  1. Spindell and Darren sound like Monday night football mentator. Why don’t try to prevent it then talking about it afterwards. Spindell, how do you know his father taught santiago about dog fighting?

    I definetely do not concur with child and dog abuse.

  2. Some things we as a society just can not accept. This is evil horrible stuff. These 2 should never see the light of day again. Lock them in cages and force them to fight to death, then electrocute them both. Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Why should tax payers pay to feed and house these savages when they couldn’t do that for thier own children and dogs? Pure scumbags!

  3. Depraved. There is a fundamental difference between a person who gets arrested for say DUI by allowing the booze to catch up to them and being careless about deciding to drive or not and someone that does something like these dogfighters. The mindset is what matters. Burning a dog in a cage, about as craven as it gets when it comes to handling dogs. The adults in this family should in my view, if they are convicted, get whatever the maximum is in the sentencing range. There is no gray area here.

    And for the comment that the woman here is a victim. Speaking in general terms I don’t buy that type of belief but I do see that it is pervasive. It is called enabling. She enables the depravity by allowing it to happen and as a parent she has a legal and moral responsibility to remove the children from that environment just as much as she has a responsibility to remove the children from any other dangerous situation that does not involve the husband such as removing them from playing on a highway at night.

    I had seen so many times of mothers allowing abusive environments I do not care to count them. Mike S. probably twenty times that number. I can see them being fearful during the moment it might be happening but during the lull it is inexcusable. The unfortunate but typical situation is a mother who has through a sad set of events lost her sense of self worth and gets hooked up with some dirtbag boyfriend. If she has a daughter and if the boyfriend sexually abuses the girl it is certainly no rare event the mother admonishes the daughter because the mother does not want to lose the boyfriend due to, among many reasons, she not wanting the boyfriend to leave her or be angry with her. Whenever I encountered this situation my contempt for the enabling mother was as great as my resolve to see the abusive boyfriend go to prison. This woman in the article will never earn my sympathy.

    1. “Whenever I encountered this situation my contempt for the enabling mother was as great as my resolve to see the abusive boyfriend go to prison. This woman in the article will never earn my sympathy.”


      I tend to agree with you on this based on my experience. While there are psychological/sociological arguments that could be made in many instances which are attempted to exculpate the guilt of the enabling spouse, in the end they fail in my opinion. The only situations where there might be a probability of lessened guilt would be one of strict imprisonment in the home and thus the inability to escape, or seek outside help. Those instances, however, are minuscule. As parents, you and I know that we would be willing to die to save our children if need be. I believe that is hardwired into most of us. With the spouse that allows their child, or indeed any other child to be abused, there is something wrong with their wiring.

      As I’ve said before, as Left Wing as I may be perceived by some, when it comes to the abuse of children I’m a “one strike you’re out” kind of person. One doesn’t absentmindedly abuse a child. In the case of someone who would abuse an animal, there is also something lacking in the person’s wiring and some sadistic pleasure being experienced. As a child and later a young man I had a lot of anger issues to deal with due to a disturbing childhood. Yet as angry as I could become there was always a sense of a line that I COULD NOT cross and that line was in inflicting pain on others. Perhaps it is naive of me to expect that for most of us that line exists in our consciousness and so control of rage is not only possible, but humanly normal.

  4. Laura’s children were not MALNOURISHED, I know that for a fact. Where that info is coming from I have no clue, but it is completely false. It must be his kids, but not hers. I just saw Laura & her kids a couple weeks ago!
    She IS a good mother, and apparently got caught up with the wrong guy and/or crowd. Truth be told, she WAS trying to get away, from him AND from that house, and I didn’t know why until now…
    Sad for all the kids involved and definitely the helpless dogs. I had no clue…and would have never thought Laura would be involved in something like this. It is just NOT like her. And I’ve known her (and her entire family) for nearly 20 years!!!
    Thank the Lord that Christ is now in her life and this may just be her “rock bottom”. After all she’s been through, it can only get better from here, for her and her children. I pray for them all, and you should too!

  5. As Gandhi said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” This is particularly relevant in that devaluation of and harm to animals typically precedes harm to children. Are we hearing more about harm to animals and children because it is a popular topic or are we hearing about it because it more prevalent? Or both?

  6. There is unfortunately a “dogfighting culture” that exists here and Mr. Santiago was introduced into it by his father at age 12. Not only do these horrific activities perpetuate themselves, but by bringing young children into it early, they are taught the wrong lessons. It is sad all the way around and only strong societal approbation will ever work to eliminate it. The irony ofr it is that if at some point these participants were interviewed in a situation lacking duress, I would have o doubt they would profess to love their dogs.

  7. “One dog was reportedly burned to death in his cage.”

    Really? REALLY?


    Perhaps Old Major was right. “Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.”

  8. The children and the dogs deserve better. I wonder if any of the children were actively involved in the dog fighting. If Santiago was involved at 12, he would have no problem in involving his children, the oldest being 15.

  9. Who are these people? If convicted, they should not see the light of day and they should never be allowed to be around children again. Disgusting.

  10. The Sixth Commandment has an exception in the Sears Roebuck version of the Bible and that is for murderers. There is no exception for dog murderers. Therefore these two schmucks ought to die. When they do die and go to the Pearly Gates for the interview before Saint Peter, he will be off playing golf and his stand-in, Bernie, the Saint Bernard will be there waiting for them. They ain’t gonna get Heaven and Limbo is out of the question. Hell hath no…..

  11. Given the headline to this story I was hoping maybe an exciting new sporting event of pit bulls v. toddlers, but alas it is just another case of animal abuse and child neglect – just another, sigh.

  12. I have a brother and sister-in-law that raised show dogs and there were many times they had more than 16 dogs at the house. I didn’t think it was a good environment for the kids but there was nothing illegal and nothing I could have done.

    As for giving the kids to relatives that might have reason to think something illegal was going on: that does not necessarily make them unfit. They are very likely going to be better than the parents and it frees the state from trying to find suitable homes and keeps them in a family group at least. Sure its a gray compromise but what would you have them do?

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