BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Baltimore police break up what they call a major underground dog fighting ring that involved more than 200 dogs including dozens of puppies. Derek Valcourt has details on the raid and the rescued animals.

Police found wounds and scars on so many animals. Some of them were living in deplorable conditions. A few dozen of the puppies were saved before they ever had a chance to fight.

From large adults to the tiniest of pups, authorities said their year long dog fighting investigation netted 225 animals. Fifty of them were just puppies.

“[In] 2014 we still have human beings that feel that dogs were bred to do this kind of thing is just ridiculous,” Lt. Col. Sean Miller with Baltimore police said.

This incident outlines 297 charges, including conspiracy, dog-fighting and animal abuse, against 22 defendants who are accused of forcing dogs to engage in brutal fights, sometimes to the death. Prosecutors said gambling purses at the fights would reach as high as $100-thousand.

“These indictments bring into the light a form of brutality that for too long has unfolded in forgotten basement of Baltimore and beyond,” Thiru Vignarahah with the City State Attorney’s Office said.

A citizen tip in 2013 launched the investigation into the Baltimore based dog fighting ring with connections to West Virginia, the Carolinas and even New York. Detectives raided multiple homes throughout the year including, a McHenry Street end unit, where a saving pitbulls sign hangs int he window along with a beware warning.

It all led up to Wednesday morning when they conducted simultaneous raids on 15 homes in the city and two in the county. Along with the animals themselves, police confiscated heavy chains, even treadmills used to help train the dogs and more than 20 guns. Almost all of the indicted suspects have criminal records.

Police won’t say much about the condition of the animal they’ve confiscated. They’re only saying those dogs that can be rehabilitated will be adopted out to loving homes.

Officials with Baltimore’s Animal Rescue and Care shelter and with the SPCA declined to comment for this story.

 

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