Addison's two-year term was the harshest penalty the judge doled out. Stringfellow was deemed a hobbyist; his twelve-month sentence is the most lenient among his seven co-defendants. Bacon is serving his sixteen-month stretch in federal prison in Mississippi, while William Berry — a.k.a. Black — is locked up for a year and a day.

All of the defendants have appealed their sentences. Citing the pending appeals, Reagan declined to be interviewed for this story.

Another legacy of the investigation is a tool that may help prosecutors convict dogfighters in the future. The Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA collected DNA samples from every dog housed at the temporary shelter. Geneticists from the University of California–Davis catalogued the information to create the Canine Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.

A one-eyed dog seized from the kennel of James Milburn, a pit bull breeder and dogfighter in southern Illinois. Click here for undercover video footage from the investigation.
A one-eyed dog seized from the kennel of James Milburn, a pit bull breeder and dogfighter in southern Illinois. Click here for undercover video footage from the investigation.
A crowd gathered behind this house Washington Park, Illinois, to watch a series of dogfights on November 15, 2008. Click here for undercover video footage from the investigation.
Keegan Hamilton
A crowd gathered behind this house Washington Park, Illinois, to watch a series of dogfights on November 15, 2008. Click here for undercover video footage from the investigation.

"We know all these networks buy and sell dogs in a fairly small circles," Rickey explains. "This will be an important tool. They can tie animals back to one or more convicted dogfighters and show they're from the same bloodline."

Eleven months after the raids and 32 years after he joined the force, Terry Mills retired from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. His partner, Jeff Heath, is currently assigned to the agency's narcotics unit.

Heath says he's proud of his work on the dogfighting case. But he doesn't miss it, and he certainly doesn't romanticize it.

"A felony is a felony," Heath says with a shrug. "It was dogs this week, drugs last week, and it'll probably be a murder next week."

Mills says the investigation was not only worth the time, effort and tax dollars — it was worth risking his life for.

"There are certain crimes that aren't enforced every day, and this is one of them," he says. "I think you have to take your shot periodically. If society says they don't want this and it's against the law, then my perception is you've got to do something like this every once in a while."

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