The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and law enforcement siezed 23 Pit Bull dogs from a property in Huntersville, North Carolina following a tip that they were poorly cared for and showing bite marks and other injuries commonly associated with a dog fighting operation.
The 16 adult Pit Bulls and 7 puppies were removed from multiple homes on the property after a search warrant was executed by local authorities, who were accompanied on the raid by animal control officers and members of the ASPCA.
Kathryn Destreza, the ASPCA’s director of investigation spoke of the animal’s health, saying that “they’re alive, but in various states of medical conditions.”
Many of the dogs had obvious bite marks, and they were tethered with heavy chains or living in cages, forced to exist in muddy, wet, and filthy conditions. Some of the dogs had broken teeth and others had scars or were very thin.
These 23 Pit Bulls are being kept at an undisclosed location during the investigation, and are being examined for medical and behavioral issues. Speaking for local law enforcement, Police Chief Spruill said that the puppies will likely eventually be available for adoption, although that issue will be decided by a judge. Kathryn Destreza hopes so, and says “The ASPCA’s goal is always to rehab as many animals as we can from any criminal situation.”
According to an ASPCA news release, dog fighting paraphernalia was discovered at the site and taken into evidence. Among the items seized: conditioning and training devices, indoor and outdoor fighting pits, and medication common to treating wounds associated with dog fighting. There were also break sticks – put in a Pit Bull’s mouth to help them release their grip on other dogs, and a “jenny” on which dogs run in circles to train.
Dog fighting is a violent crime that involves neglect and cruelty to the animals. In most dog fighting operations the dogs are either fighting, being trained to fight, or living their lives at the end of a chain, often in harsh conditions.
No charges have been filed yet in this active investigation, but Lt. Andrew Dempski says that “everybody that lives on the property and may frequent the property is subject to investigation.” Police are asking anyone with information to contact Lt. Dempski at 704-464-5400.
It may be a long road back medically and emotionally for these animals. Now that they’ve been removed to a safe location, that process can begin. The ASPCA is asking for assistance with their care. October is designated as Pit Bull Awareness Month, so sharing this story and getting the word out can help better the lives of these dogs and give them a deserved second chance.