360 pitbulls rescued when US agents raid illegal dog fighting ring
NewsTuesday 27 August 2013
Police in the US have broken up an organised dog fighting ring and ended up rescuing more than 360 pitbull terriers.
The police also arrested 12 people during the raid.
According to the BBC, the malnourished and mistreated dogs were recovered along with $500,000 (£320,000) in raids on Friday in Alabama and Georgia.
The US Attorney, George Beck, said that bets on a single dog fight had risen up to as high as $200,000.
The defendants now face federal dog fighting and illegal gambling charges.
Court-appointed lawyers for some of the defendants have told the Associated Press that their clients are planning to plead not guilty.
Mr Beck said the number of dogs seized in the case "shows how extensive this underworld of dog fighting is".
"I believe if Dante were alive today and rewriting the Inferno that the lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals and to our children," he said at a news conference on Monday.
Sheriff David Sutton, of Coffee County, Alabama, said that the dogs at one home were covered in fleas and chained to heavy car parts.
Other officials have said that some of the dogs were so malnourished that their ribs were protruding, and some had bad wounds that required emergency care.
Sheriff Sutton went on to say: "Those animals can't speak like you and I. We chose to speak for them, and I believe we sent a message out. If you do the crime, we are going to come see you."
Representatives from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States said the groups were caring for the animals.
The dogs will be kept as evidence as the cases are tried, but the groups said they hoped eventually to retrain the dogs and place them in new homes.
Picture: Hugo A Quintero G