Last week officers in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals dismantled the largest dogfighting ring the group has ever busted by arresting 19 people.
Overwhelming Evidence Should Lead To Convictions
Barbara Paul, an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, hopes the evidence will lead to convictions.
“The Police and the SPCA actually saw people watching the dogfight, and they saw the dogfight in progress,” she says. “This never happens. Generally we find evidence afterwards — we find evidence of the training and the treatment and, unfortunately, the abuse that the animals suffer. But to actually find a fight in progress was pretty amazing. The evidence is overwhelming.”
Pennsylvania SPCA spokeswoman Wendy Marano says the bust is significant.
“We got some of the high-end organizers, some of the key people who have big names out on the street in dogfighting,” Marano says. “Also just the sheer number of the animals that we took in — we’ve taken in 32 animals, and that certainly is the largest.”
Marano says while the case makes its way through the system, the dogs being held as evidence will rack up a bill.
“It’s about $20 a day just to hold an animal as part of a humane law enforcement case,” she says.
Dogfighting Goes Hand-In-Hand With Other Crimes
It turns out that dogfighting, which is illegal in all 50 states, often goes hand-in-hand with other criminal activities. In this case, in addition to the dogs and the arrests nabbed from this ring, officers also found weapons, narcotics and large sums of cash.
Paul adds that it’s sometimes really hard to look at the evidence.
“It just breaks my heart,” she says. “I go home and hug my cats. I feel so strongly that people need to be punished for this. It’s so clear to me in these cases that the people who do this are just really malevolent.”
Paul doubts the shutdown of this ring, as big as it was, will deter people from continuing to fight dogs. But she hopes the gruesome images and an increased awareness of the crime will generate more tips from the community.
The Brutal World Of Professional Dogfighting
Let’s hope news of this bust will shine a light on the brutal world of professional dogfighting, where pit bulls are placed in a ring and goaded and cheered by their owners and the crowd while they tear at each other’s faces and throats.
Photo credit: iStock
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