Investigation into Collier County dogfighting operation reveals disturbing evidence

A man’s now-busted dogfighting operation at a Collier County home turned out to be more than meets the eye.

Rafael Jesus Del-Valle-Jomarron’s top-secret operation in an otherwise quiet Golden Gate neighborhood was busted because of a coincidence.

Now, we’re learning more about the goings-on and what investigators describe as a disturbing case.

“The worst injury in this case was upwards of 249 wounds,” said Lt. Chris Goldhorn.

Rafael Jesus Del-Valle-Jomarron (Credit: CCSO booking photo)

He closes cases on facts, not feelings, but even he admits it has been tough to see.

Investigators found nine violently injured dogs, a skinned rabbit, a wounded rooster – and a lot of evidence to build a criminal case. Some of the dogs’ wounds were just a week old.

“An above-ground pool apparently used as a pit, baiting devices, harnesses, some performance-enhancing drugs and some other disturbing equipment,” Goldhorn said.

All that evidence was found by chance. They initially showed up at the home at 2136 52nd Lane for a radio frequency blocker. In looking for one crime, they found two others: stolen cars and dogfighting.

Humane Society Naples had no hand in the investigation but regularly handles badly bruises animals. Those physical bruises often become psychological.

“You can spend any amount of time with an animal and see that they have feelings, that they’re happy to see you and you’re happy to see them,” said Jon Foerster with Humane Society Naples. “If you start to think about it, you can spiral into despair.”

Del-Valle-Jomarron, 40, was arrested July 9 after the monthlong investigation. He faces four counts of animal cruelty causing cruel death, pain or suffering; one count of animal fighting; and one count of selling, possessing or using equipment for fighting or baiting. He is out on $30,000 bond.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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