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Big barks to all the folks who worked on this investigation! Here’s hoping they can bring all the despicable people who participated in this ring to justice!

Thanks to The Courier for this article.

Dog fighting ring busted at East End
Friday, 04 January 2008

EVIDENCE such as this dog treadmill with spring weights and animal hides was seized during Thursdays raid.

After a six-month investigation, officials of the Saline County Sheriffs Office, the Humane Society of Pulaski County and the Humane Society of the United States Home Office joined forces Thursday to seize 36 pit bull dogs believed to be trained and used in a dog-fighting ring in the East End area in Saline County.

We have had an active six-month investigation working with the Pulaski County Humane Society and U.S. Humane Society to resolve issues of dog fighting,” Sheriff Phil Mask said.

We have been getting calls and complaints of dog fighting on the Saline County side [15001] of Gingerbread Lane as well as [23001] Highway 167 out in the East End Community. As of the result today, we were able to detain 36 dogs pit bulls that we believe were used in dog fighting.”

Jay Sabatucci, regional coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States, flew in from his regional office in Fort Worth, Texas, to Saline County on Wednesday to help officers identify if those locations were being used to train and fight dogs.
He told officers that he believed there was enough evidence to support the theory that there are illegal dog-fighting rings in Saline County.

If you go out to those locations, youll find treadmill-slapmills,” Sabatucci said on Thursday. There will be what we call spring poles, which are hides tied to a tree or ropes that animals will grab with their mouths and spring up and down with … one of the facilities actually had a [dog fighting] pit with carpet with what appeared to be blood on it and it was a collapsible pit. They had beak sticks/parking sticks with what appeared to be blood on them, which is what they use to open the animals jaws during the fight when they get hung up.”

Around 10 a.m. on Thursday officers first raided the home at 23001 167 where nine dogs were recovered and evidence was found of a possible dog-fighting pit. Around 11:30 a.m. officers raided 15001 Gingerbread Lane, where they found evidence of a possible dog-training facility and recovered 27 dogs ranging from puppies to full-grown canines.

The home on Gingerbread is a training facility which does fall into the statute of dog fighting maintaining dogs in a training premises,” Lt. Mike Frost said. So there was training going on at Gingerbread Lane. One of the break sticks we found at one of the residences had what appeared to be an actual canine tooth imbedded in the stick.”

Sabatucci said that they dogs found we found were horribly scarred” and indicative of dog fighting.”

Mask also attested to Sabatuccis accounts of what was uncovered at the homes and said he hopes to stop dog fighting in Saline County.

Some of those dogs were sickly,” Mask said. They were in need of medical treatment, their faces had dog bites and [one dog] had a eye taken out … we were able to get them treatment and get them back to their health. This investigation is continuing and hopefully well put a dent in our community dog fighting. We do take dog fighting seriously, and we are going to continue to follow up.”

At this point in the investigation, officers took a woman into custody, but are not releasing her name at this time. Mask said they interviewed and released the suspect, who faces possible charges of cruelty to animals and felony dog fighting, hoping that she assists investigators in uncovering what is believed to be a large dog-fighting circuit.

This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Mask said. We are working with her to see if she is willing to cooperate with us in this investigation. We believe it is a part of a bigger ring … This is a big deal when you recover 36 pit bulls that have been fighting and being trained to fight … I dont think we have recovered all the dogs that have been fighting. Dog-fighting is a big money business all across the nation.”

Frost said that even though deputies received tips from those in the neighborhoods around the homes raided more than six months ago, the investigation took a long time because those involved in dog fighting are very tight-lipped” about these illegal activities. He said that by the time they even found out about dog-fighting rings, there isnt sufficient time to assemble the manpower to raid a facility. People involved in this activity will disburse before officers get close to the area, he said.

It is a very closed society and it is hard to be able to know when and where the dog fighting is occurring,” said Frost. Many times we dont know until the day of the dog fight and there is not enough time to get a search warrant. We are talking about a large amount of money, guns and drugs probably being involved in it.”

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