Accused dogfighter evades jail thanks to surprise plea

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A former dogfighting suspect dodged jail with probation Monday. Brian Maclin was scheduled for a bench trial Monday when he suddenly offered a blind plea to a judge and received probation for crimes FOX 2 first told you about in 2022.

The case is documented on police body camera footage from an Aug. 31, 2022, raid that exposed dogs stacked in cages. The animals showed signs of dogfighting, as North County Police Cooperative Ron Martin explained in September 2022.

“Sitting on their own feces. A lot of the dogs had several injuries, bite marks and scars, and open wounds on their head and their body,” he said.

On the police video, you could hear one of the officers walk into the animal storage area and say, “Your horror is over.”

FOX 2 cameras were present when Maclin surrendered to police custody. He faced charges then of felony dogfighting, along with 13 misdemeanors of animal abuse and neglect.

Fast-forward 15 months—only the misdemeanor charges stuck. In court, a prosecutor acknowledged they lacked evidence of the defendant’s personal dogfighting involvement and that Maclin only admitted storing dogs for other dogfighters. It came out in court that Maclin reportedly acknowledged past dogfighting but stopped 20 years ago.

Maclin’s plea led to a suspended imposition of sentence probation and a warning that he can no longer own dogs.

“Don’t give me trouble, because you could be facing 13 years,” Judge David Vincent said.

The judge pointed out that the felony count of dogfighting was being dismissed for lack of proof but warned Maclin that he better not do anything that would lead to officers proving it later.

“Kudos to the judge. I believe the judge is just being transparent,” Major Martin said.

“This investigation started because of an anonymous tip, and through this entire process, that anonymous tip never was exposed. This shows you that a lot of times people don’t want to reach out to the police because they’re worried their name might come up in it, or they might be exposed, but in this particular investigation, everything stayed to the wayside.”

While the resulting probation may disappoint some, Major Martin said this is bigger than one defendant. He said,

“The closure for me came the day we rescued the dogs,” he said.

At present, some of those dogs are doing great, living in loving homes and thriving. An organization called Diamonds in the Ruff Rescue stepped in after the 2022 raid and recently put together a video of how well they’re currently doing.

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