They would have spent their lives being savagely injured by others of their own species. And those lives would have been brutally short — ended early either by injuries sustained in those bouts with their would-be companions or by the human beings who trained them to kill or be killed.
Nearly 50 Pit Bulls were rescued last week from a Bronx basement where they were allegedly being bred, trained, and sold for use in dog-fighting rings, according to the New York Post.
One man was arrested, and “police also seized a loaded .25-caliber handgun, 22 wooden cages, dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes, and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts,” according to WABC in New York City.
The 47 rescued Pit Bulls range in age between one and five years “and had various injuries indicative of dog fighting,” according to a police spokesperson. The basement in which the dogs were found was windowless, so no one outside could hear the dogs bark, howl, or cry. Located under a six-story apartment building, the basement was partly outfitted as an arena with room for 100 spectators.
As cops brought the dogs out one by one, “many were shaking and timid. Some were bone-thin. Others squinted once outside, never before having seen the light of day. All had sad expressions,” reports the New York Daily News.
“It’s pretty horrific inside — horrible conditions. I couldn’t even describe it,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale, as quoted in the Daily News. “The dogs appear to be in various stages of abuse and injury.”
Police arrested 57-year-old Raul Sanchez — the building’s superintendent — last Thursday on six criminal counts involving animal fighting and cruelty.
A second suspect is being sought for allegedly breeding dogs for fighting purposes after “an extensive investigation” that began last October, when NYPD detectives began tracking the duo.
“Despite a few scars and visible wounds, all the dogs were responsive and in good condition before the ASPCA moved them to a local animal shelter,” WABC reports.
That’s a relief. Let’s hope these little survivors find loving homes. It’s not a cinch, given all the prejudice against their breed. But maybe this case, which reveals the depths to which our species can sink, will at least raise awareness about the horrors of dogfighting.
Thanks as always, NYPD!