The trial of two Avra Valley residents accused of raising pit bulls that allegedly were sold in dog-fighting cirlces began Wednesday in Pima County Superior Court.

Judge John S. Leonardo will hear the case.

Pima County Sheriff’s deputies last February raided the west side home of Emily Elizabeth Dennis and Mahlon Thatcher Patrick, both 63. There investigators say the pair ran a dog-breeding operation that specialized in pit bulls.

At least 110 dogs were confiscated from kennels at the property. The Pima County Animal Center later put down most of the dogs.

On Thursday, the second day of the trial, Judge Leonard agreed to a motion made by Deputy Pima County Attorney Lewis Brandes to dismiss 21 misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals against Dennis and Patrick.

The pair now face two counts each of felony dog fighting.

Dennis and Patrick earlier had waived their right to a jury trial.

Read the full story in The Explorer next Wednesday, Nov. 19.

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