Aug 28, 2013

Dog fighting ring busted: Almost 400 pit bulls rescued

Dog fighting ring busted: Almost 400 pit bulls rescued
Dog fighting ring busted: Almost 400 pit bulls rescued. Almost 400 pit bulls have been rescued in one of the largest dog fighting raids in US history, which also led to 12 arrests linked to the bloodsport which often sees up to $200,000 bet on a single match.

In total, 367 pit bulls, many scarred and emaciated, were seized across the southeastern United States.

The move was heralded by animal groups who praised police efforts to wipe out the 'unimaginable suffering' faced by the fighting dogs.

'The number of dogs seized and the amount of money involved in this case shows how extensive this underworld of dog fighting is,' U.S. Attorney for the Middle District Alabama George Beck said in a statement yesterday.

'These dog fighters abuse, starve and kill their dogs for the supposed "fun" of watching and gambling on a dog fight.'

The suspects, who come from Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Texas, face multiple charges related to dog fighting and gambling, with each charge carrying up to five years in prison.

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

At one site, 114 emaciated and wounded dogs were found chained to tires, without food and water, and in makeshift shelters in scorching summer heat, rescue groups said.

'Thousands of others all over the country continue to endure unimaginable suffering and death just like this at the hands of dog fighters,' said Tim Rickey of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which along with the Humane Society of the United States helped remove the dogs.

'We want to end it once and for all.'

The U.S. Attorney said in a statement that the charges are the result of a three-year investigation by nearly two dozen state, local and federal agencies.

They seized more than $500,000 in cash, drugs, guns and other evidence in what they called a high-stakes ring that saw bets of up to $200,000 per fight, according to the statement.

This size of this raid is second only in the United States to a 2009 case in which more than 500 dogs were rescued and more than 100 people in eight states were arrested, according to the ASPCA.