Dog fighting trial to end this week
Explorer file photo, County animal control officers in February took more than 100 pit bulls from the Avra Valley property where Mahlon Patrick and Emily Dennis alleged operated a breeding kennel.

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

Judge John S. Leonardo is hearing 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.

Last Thursday, the second day of the trial, Judge Leonardo 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. They earlier had waived their right to a jury trial.

During the testimony of a Humane Society of Southern Arizona veterinarian, Patrick’s defense attorney Mark Resnick called into question medical records referenced by the doctor.

Resnick argued that the doctor was relying on evidence the state had not shared with the defense.

Judge Leonardo agreed and much of the doctor’s testimony was ruled out.

Resnick and Dennis’s defense attorney Thomas Higgins successfully objected to other evidence the county attorney’s office presented including letters and a magazine article allegedly written by Patrick.

That evidence also was ruled out.

The trial will continue this week possibly wrapping up on Thursday.

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