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Strange Drug Bust Reveals 18 Brutalized Pit Bulls on the Brink of Death

Strange Drug Bust Reveals 18 Brutalized Pit Bulls on the Brink of Death

When law enforcement officials descended upon a house in Paterson, N.J., they fully expected to find a large cache of narcotics. When they saw bloodstained walls inside a first-floor bedroom, they realized they’d discovered something much worse.

Seeking the source of all that blood, officers searched the home. They found 18 pit bulls living in appalling conditions. In the basement, 15 young pit bulls were jammed inside too-small dog crates. Three adult dogs lived chained in the backyard, trash cans tipped on their sides serving as their only shelter.

Most heartbreaking of all, police found the scar-ridden bodies of four dead dogs stuffed into trash bags and left in the basement.

Suddenly, it became clear to investigators. The dogs, emaciated and injured, were savagely being trained in that house to fight. Authorities realized they’d uncovered a large and previously unknown dog-fighting operation.

Cupid, rescued pit bull

Cupid, one of the Paterson raid dogs, showing his healing scars.

A further search of the house uncovered steroids used to amp up fighting dogs, needles, electronic shock collars and blood-covered sticks apparently used to pry open the dog’s jaws. In addition to all this horror, authorities found and seized a handgun and $12,000 in crack cocaine and marijuana.

Secret Cruelty in a New Jersey House

Most of the dogs recovered are less than a year old. All were thin and in terrible shape. According to one report, one dog was so severely affected by mange that it couldn’t walk. Others had been inside cages too small for them for so long, they too had trouble moving. One adult dog’s snout was so badly mauled it appeared deformed. Rescuers transported three of the dogs directly to a veterinarian for emergency treatment.

“I don’t know what they thought they were doing,” Stephanie Pearl, president of Second Chance Pet Adoption League, told North Jersey News. She said the dogs “were so skinny, it doesn’t look like they could fight anything.”

Dead Dogs in Plastic Bags Like Yesterdays Garbage

Paterson’s animal control officer, John DeCando, has been on the job for 37 years. Despite all that experience, even he was shocked by what was going on.

“We found four dead dogs in a garbage bag, thrown away like yesterday’s garbage,” DeCando told North Jersey News. ”It was horrible. This is one of the largest dog fighting rings I’ve seen.”

Neighbors questioned by police said they didn’t realize a dog fighting ring was operating right under their noses. They said they saw a few dogs at the residence, but not the 18 the police eventually found.

Sadly, though, neighbors admitted the dogs they saw in the yard were obviously malnourished. They said they could hear them “crying at night.” Why didn’t they report any of this to the police? Clearly, they should have. According to DeCando, however, “[P]eople are afraid to call” to report animal issues.

Suspect Faces 84 Counts of Animal Cruelty

The accused in this case, Caurie Swinger, 21, now faces 84 counts of animal cruelty in addition to drug and gun charges. Another man, Ashley Bryant, will not be charged with the animal crimes but is being charged with the narcotics and gun offenses.

Authorities charged Swinger on Apr. 24th with 18 counts of torturing and mutilating animals, four counts of knowingly killing animals, four counts of causing another person to kill an animal, two counts of running a dog-fighting operation, two counts of permitting animals to fight, and 18 counts of failing to provide food and water to animals.

He and Bryant are currently out on $50,000 bond.

For the Rescued Pitties, Theres Good News, Too

Fortunately, the horrible people who tried to train vicious fighting dogs failed to get their evil job done. According to those who rescued the Paterson raid dogs, every one of the pit bulls will have a chance at a bright new life.

“Each dog is adoptable; not one will be put to sleep,” DeCando said. “They’re friendly. They just got hooked up with bad people.”

Victoria

Victoria is recovering from her ordeal, but scars are still visible.

The dogs reportedly responded hesitantly but in a non-threatening manner to the officers who found them. A little food went a long way to make those frightened, cowering pups wag their tails.

“They just wanted some attention,” DeCando told North Jersey News. “[The defendant] didn’t have a chance to make them mean yet.”

Anyone who still believes a pit bull is “bred to be vicious” should take careful note of what happened here. Despite spending their first year or more of life horrifically abused, starved and trained for maximum aggression, all 18 of the Paterson raid dogs responded only with happiness when treated with kindness. Not one has snapped at or bitten anyone handling them.

Remember that dog who’d lost some of her snout? She “was one of the worst dogs we’ve seen, just the dog-bite wounds. She just smelled like a giant infection. But she was the friendliest of all of them,” Stephanie Pearl told North Jersey News. Pit bulls a dangerous breed? No.

Second Chance Pet Adoption League is working with other rescue groups to find help in getting these dogs rehabilitated and eventually adopted into new, loving homes.

“They’re all very sweet,” said Pearl. ”They definitely will all be adoptable. It’s just a matter of finding the right home for them.”

Want to rescue a loving dog and help him or her forget a terrifying, bloody past? There are 18 sweet natured pit bulls up in New Jersey who’d love to meet you.

Read more: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lead image shows Viola, another of the Paterson raid rescued pit bull pups. Photo credit for all images: Stephanie Pearl Facebook Page.

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301 comments

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5:47AM PDT on Aug 9, 2015

thanks for the article.

3:07AM PDT on Apr 21, 2015

so glad none of them are being put down, thanks for sharing :)

5:34PM PST on Dec 21, 2014

Everyone involved, from the owner, to the people that may have watch any fights, should be put into a small cage or chained to a garbage can outdoors with no food or water. Then they should be made to fight for their lives everyday, the final surviving winner should then be slowly killed. Then karma should bring them all back to life, to relive it over and over again. I have no pity for anyone that could do such things to innocent animals, no matter if you were raised to find dog fighting acceptable! Anyone with morels and a soul know right from wrong. I applaud the law enforcement team for not just shooting the dogs on site, as seems to be happening more and more these days with cops, but helping to rescue them all. So thrilled that they all will have the ability to get a forever home, where they will be taken care of and loved, rest the souls of the ones that did not make it out alive. Maybe we will get lucky and the pieces of crap out on bail will get knocked off before the trial, save some tax payer money. As for the worthless neighbors, shame on them! I would never let those dogs stay outside starving and not do anything, I would have reported them to animal control, and if that did not work, I would have gotten the dogs out of there myself.

9:06PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

"A righteous man regards the life of animals" - PROVERBS 12:10; "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men" - ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; "I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs...(They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty...." - JAMES HARRIOT; "The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" - MAHATMA GANDHI

9:06PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

"A righteous man regards the life of animals" - PROVERBS 12:10; "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men" - ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; "I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs...(They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty...." - JAMES HARRIOT; "The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" - MAHATMA GANDHI

9:05PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

Abuse is the ultimate betrayal towards any living soul and is absolutely heartbreaking. You simply can not do such a horrific thing without it killing the best in you. Period. But in case there are any out there who couldn't care less about torturing animals - which says a lot about you, as well - then think on this: If you find people happily willing to hurt an animal in any way, they are actually finding a venue to act out their deepest, most inner evil fantasies of twisted sickness. There's nothing more revolting than that. Aside from this, it has been proven over and over again that people who have horrid intents with animals, get bored with them soon enough, ultimately leading them to bigger prey, moving up to people, in order to re-ignite and enhance the excitement that the torturing of animals used to provide. It's simply never enough. And do not forget, these horrendous monsters also end up raising their children in “the game”, breeding evil, little sickos to continue on "the trade"… no doubt causing abuse in every level of their lives, as well. It's just a revolting cycle that will never end until someone gets into it and breaks the heart-wrenching pattern. So, even if an animal is not of your utmost concern, then note that it will not stop there. It is just a start. And it is just a matter of time.

9:05PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

Abuse is the ultimate betrayal towards any living soul and is absolutely heartbreaking. You simply can not do such a horrific thing without it killing the best in you. Period. But in case there are any out there who couldn't care less about torturing animals - which says a lot about you, as well - then think on this: If you find people happily willing to hurt an animal in any way, they are actually finding a venue to act out their deepest, most inner evil fantasies of twisted sickness. There's nothing more revolting than that. Aside from this, it has been proven over and over again that people who have horrid intents with animals, get bored with them soon enough, ultimately leading them to bigger prey, moving up to people, in order to re-ignite and enhance the excitement that the torturing of animals used to provide. It's simply never enough. And do not forget, these horrendous monsters also end up raising their children in “the game”, breeding evil, little sickos to continue on "the trade"… no doubt causing abuse in every level of their lives, as well. It's just a revolting cycle that will never end until someone gets into it and breaks the heart-wrenching pattern. So, even if an animal is not of your utmost concern, then note that it will not stop there. It is just a start. And it is just a matter of time.

1:55AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

I am so glad these sweet babies were saved from a horrible life!! I hope they all find families who will love them!!

6:06PM PDT on May 20, 2014

This breed is so misunderstood and many die and suffer because of it.
So glad these dogs were rescued and they have a good chance of finding a home.

9:10PM PDT on May 19, 2014

How can the neighbors live with a clean concience of allowing all that death and pain to continue? There should be charges for them, too. Out on parole? There definitely needs to be stronger abuse and fighting penalties. Long term prison time and banned from animal possession. This is just sick. I can't imagine how they were living all being crammed in crates. The Pits have a bad rap. It is usually the idiot humans that are at fault for an incident involving a Pit.

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