One of the two people charged with dogfighting after law enforcement raided a property near Alsea in March has been sentenced to prison.
Cody Allan Hufeld, 32, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to deliver marijuana and no contest to dogfighting Friday morning in Benton County Circuit Court.
He and Victoria Louise McKenna, 29, were arrested March 17 after a drug raid in Corvallis. Evidence found during that investigation led authorities to 19365 South Fork Road near Alsea, where they found 15 skinny pit bulls staked to doghouses at the property. They also recovered the bodies of three buried dogs. Most of the recovered dogs had scars; some had fresh wounds.
Law enforcement found no evidence that dogs had been fighting at the Alsea location, and Hufeld’s attorney maintained his client was just raising the dogs.
But Benton County Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Stringer told Judge Locke Williams that investigators did find dogfighting journals, which he described as “underground newspapers” about dogfighting. Hufeld also had been corresponding with a North Carolina man named Ed Faron. Faron, who is known as the “godfather of dogfighting,” pleaded guilty to 14 counts of dogfighting in 2009, the result of a three-year investigation and the seizure of 127 dogs from his kennel operation.
Law enforcement originally started investigating Hufeld for drug trafficking, and dogfighting was “nowhere on the radar,” Stringer said.
Authorities had information that Hufeld was dealing large quantities of marijuana, but couldn’t find anyone to come forward against him. Stringer said people were afraid of Hufeld, who is skilled in martial arts and has a record of assault. But eventually someone who had been buying drugs from Hufeld agreed to work with police.
After an informant made a controlled buy from Hufeld, authorities were able to get a search warrant for his property and McKenna’s property.
Stringer said Hufeld kept himself distanced from the actual transactions; they were part of McKenna’s involvement.
Hufeld forfeited his 2006 Dodge Ram, which was seized with a search warrant and used in a drug deal. Forty percent of the proceeds from its sale will go to the Benton County Drug Treatment Court.
Defense attorney Paul Ferder said that Hufeld admitted selling drugs, but he denied being active in actual dogfighting.
“He had a real interest in breeding, and that’s one of the things he did,” Ferder said.
While explaining the terms of the plea agreement in court Friday, Stringer told Williams dogfighting is not addressed in Oregon sentencing guidelines. A defendant convicted of dogfighting potentially could get probation.
Hufeld, who has been in jail since his arrest, will receive credit for time served. However, he will not be able to get “good time” or complete alternative programs to shorten his prison sentence. He will have three years of post-prison supervision.
Hufeld surrendered his dogs to Heartland Humane Society on Tuesday. Staffers said that nine of the 15 had such severe health issues and aggression — especially toward other dogs and other animals — that the staff decided they never could be safely adopted as family pets. They were humanely destroyed. The other six were sent to undisclosed rescue groups.
McKenna is scheduled to go to trial in August, but the defense and prosecution are in talks to negotiate a plea.