Four Iowans were arrested today in a multi-state federal investigation of a dog fighting ring. The acting U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri says the Iowans and three others from Nebraska and Missouri were indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a conspiracy to promote and participate in dog fights.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney says 43-year-old Jill Makstaller of Perry, 32-year-old Zachary Connelly of Ogden, 51-year-old Kevin Tasler of Jefferson and 42-year-old Ryan J. Tasler were named in the indictment. The court information says Kevin Tasler, Ryan Tasler, Makstaller, and Connelly are each charged with one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.
Proscuters allege the Iowans traveled to a Missouri farm for dog fights in April, May and June of this year. They say Ryan Tasler was the spongeman in one fight– providing sponges to the dogs’ handlers to wipe blood off their dogs or cool them down. On another night Connelly allegedly handled his dog, "Tommy". Makstaller was the referee for that first fight and the timekeeper for a second fight.
Ryan Tasler also allegedly was the timekeeper and spongeman for the first fight and also bet on the fight along with Connelly and Makstaller. The indictment says the dogs were often seriously injured and shot to death after the fights. The information also says several hundred dogs were seized in raids by several federal and state law officers connected to the case. It does not say if dogs were seized in Iowa.
The information says Ryan Tasler is employed by the Madrid Community School District — but does not give further information on the other Iowans.
See the indictment in the link below.