IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A man whose roommate was injured trying to break up a dog fight between seven of his dogs has previously been in trouble for having the dogs.
The dog's owner, 54-year-old Carlos Eligio Trevino Sr., who also helped break up the fight, later died of what appears to be natural causes. Neighbors say before that he lived with his roommate and seven dogs in a two-bedroom apartment in the basement of a home on College Street.
Idaho Falls Animal Services say they've been trying to remove Trevino's dogs for years.
"Last summer, we ended up with probably three or four of the dogs in here and, of course, because he had too many dogs, we told him he had to get a kennel license before he could get the dogs back," said Irene Brown, Idaho Falls Animal Services supervisor.
According to Brown, Trevino applied for a kennel license but was denied. When the shelter told him they planned to put the dogs up for adoption, he got them back using a clever ruse.
"He ended up sending people in to adopt the dogs for him and then he ended up with the dogs back," said Brown.
Court records show that in early 2013 Trevino was found guilty of operating without a kennel license and received a 10-day suspended jail sentence.
Despite a court order to "get rid of all the dogs," Brown said Trevino kept the dogs, and in December, Animal Services petitioned the court for a probation violation.
Just as recently as Tuesday--the day of the attack--Animal Services paid him one last visit.
"We had gone out earlier in the day...and were going to see if we could get the situation resolved and he wasn't there," said Brown.
Trevino's upstairs neighbor said she recalls hearing the dogs hours before the attack.
"Tuesday I heard the dogs fighting as usual," said Tori Hope. "I did hear Carlos yell at them to stop."
Police say they were called to the home shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday night. They said they found Trevino dead of what appeared to be natural causes while his roommate had received dog bites on the shoulders and ears.
"One of our recommendations is never try to break up a dog fight with your hands," Brown said Wednesday. "Grab a broom, grab something that you can use because you'll end up getting bit."
Hope said in previous dog fights, Trevino would often break the dogs up with his hands.
"He would literally jump in the middle of it and grab each dog and pull them apart," said Hope.
Wednesday Idaho Falls Police told Local News 8 they were still investigating. Police did not return our phone calls Thursday.
One of the dogs has been euthanized while six more are in quarantine at the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter. Their fate has yet to be determined.