The eight men scooped up in a raid on a dogfight at a Dolton warehouse appeared in court together Tuesday afternoon with one asking the judge to let him live among the animals on his parents' farm.
Prosecutor Jack Costello refused to agree with the attorney for Anthony Fugate, 27, when she asked that her client be allowed to move back in with his parents on their Beecher farm.
The attorney, Michelle Truesdale, told Judge Thomas J. Carroll that Fugate suffers from heart trouble and it is important he be permitted to return to his parents' farm.
Costello argued that allowing an alleged animal abuser to reside among the horses and cats on the farm was akin to letting a man up on a weapons charge hang around his parents' gun shop, or an alleged sex offender stay in a daycare.
But Judge Carroll consented to Fugate heading back to the farm, on the condition he have absolutely no physical contact with any of the animals.
Fugate and the other seven men all face a felony charge of attending or patronizing a dog fight. They were arrested Dec. 6 when Cook County Sheriff's deputies acting on a tip uncovered a dogfight in a 142nd Street warehouse, police said.
Six of the eight men arrested that night managed to escape into the warehouse rafters before they were apprehended, police said. During Tuesday's hearing, Costello said Fugate—despite his supposed heart problems—was one of the men captured after a "foot chase."
South Suburban Humane Society investigators rescued seven dogs from the scene. They are now recovering at the Chicago Heights facility.
Seven of the eight men are free on bond. The one in custody, Willie McCray, 26, of Calumet City, remains in the Cook County jail where he is also being held on a warrant for attempted murder.
Cook County State's Attorney spokesman Andy Conklin said McCray's attempted murder warrant stems from a case in Harvey. He declined to comment further on the matter, explaining that McCray has yet to be formally charged and the investigation by the Harvey Police Department remains open.