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South Bend man sentenced on animal creulty, dog fighting charges

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A South Bend man guilty of dog fighting is sentenced to four years in prison.

While Damien Newhouse, 43, awaited his sentencing Tuesday morning, many animal rights activists stood outside the St. Joseph County Courthouse protesting the very acts he committed.

“Dog fighters are heartless, soulless people. Can’t stand them, and it needs to stop,” Karen Brochhousen, an animal activist says.

Charged with eight felony counts, including five counts of purchasing an animal for use in an animal fighting contest and one count of domestic violence animal cruelty, Newhouse did not leave the courtroom without an apology and an explanation for his actions.

In a pre-sentencing interview, Newhouse listed his difficult upbringing, mental health issues, and a challenging path to sobriety as reasons to what led to some of his previous criminal history.

“If I had not fallen off the wagon, none of that would have happened,” Newhouse told Judge Elizabeth Hurley.

Newhouse also added that he “loved dogs to death," a statement both Hurley and animal activists say they cannot believe, considering a dog found inside Newhouse’s home in April had to be euthanized because of its injuries.

“Anyone with a good soul is not going to do that to a dog, period. I’m just appalled that anybody could enjoy watching that blood sport. It’s awful,” Brochhousen says.

While Newhouse will spend the next four years in prison, it’s not the only sentence he will be serving. He was also sentenced to two years in community corrections for a domestic violence case dating back to November of 2019, followed by one year of probation.

As a condition of probation, Newhouse will not be able to have contact, own, or possess any animal of any kind.

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