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Austin man pleads guilty in dogfighting case

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An Austin man who was suspected of training dogs to fight has pleaded guilty to charges of torturing an animal.

Douglas Wayne Seidel, 26, entered the plea Wednesday in Mower County District Court. He had originally been charged in October with two felony counts of mistreating animals, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

The charges stem from an investigation in early October, when a man reported to police that there was a dead pit bull at Seidel's house. According to the criminal complaint, the man believed Seidel had his two other pit bulls attack and kill the dog.

Police found the dead dog, named Jax, on Seidel's back deck wrapped in a blanket. He had suffered multiple puncture wounds, the complaint said, according to the Associated Press.

Jax was owned by a woman that Seidel knew, and she told police that when she and Seidel came home one evening, Jax was alive but badly injured. She said she wanted to take the dog to the veterinarian, but Seidel said he could treat the animal, according to the complaint.

Police say Seidel poured water over Jax and gave him some type of capsules, but the dog died the next day.

Seidel claimed that someone had broken into his house while he was gone, let the three dogs out of their kennels and provoked them into fighting. Police did not find any evidence of a break-in, and Seidel did not report it to police, according to the Post Bulletin.

Seidel told police he didn't take the animal to the vet because he couldn't afford it.

When police searched Seidel's house they found evidence of dog fighting. A rope tied to the ceiling had a chew toy attached, hanging several feet off the floor. They also found an apparatus that is used to train a dog to bite, according to the complaint.

Police found photos of the bloody area where the dogs fought on Seidel's cellphone, along with a caption that read "no cops plz."

The charge carries a maximum punishment of three years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. He will be sentenced on Feb. 12.

About a year ago, police in Minneapolis broke up a large dogfighting ring that allegedly operated in eight locations in Hennepin County, and arrested the ringleader. Authorities rescued 18 dogs during the operation.

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