PUEBLO, Colo. - Dog owners and animal activists from all over Colorado gathered outside of the Pueblo Judicial Center where two men made their first appearance on animal fighting charges.
Jerry Grady and Armando Vigil were met with yelling and heckling as they left the building.
They each face up to three years in prison if convicted. Both are out of jail on personal recognizance bonds.
That's not OK with Diane Freed, who says dog fighting in Pueblo County is out of control.
"We need to have some really strict laws so this doesn't happen anymore, and set a precedent for other people that are doing this," Freed said.
She said this group wants to get the attention of Pueblo County district attorney and state lawmakers.
The protesters are hoping to give dogs a voice in the legal process.
"Nineteen dogs have undecided fates because people decided to breed and fight them," said Kelly Guerin, an animal activist.
They also want to prevent repeat offenders from owning dogs.
Grady faced animal abuse charges in 2001. But they were eventually dismissed.
In the meantime, the protesters are hopeful the dogs removed from this property will recover.
"We're looking at not only their behavior but their medical state and just try to provide them with the safest environment possible," said Lt. Lindsey Vigna with Pueblo Animal Services.
Whether they will be adoptable is still up in the air.
The animal activists plan to be outside the courthouse for every one of the hearings for Grady and Vigil. The next is scheduled for Tuesday.