Police arrest suspect in dogfighting ring

15 pit bulls found chained up in the man's basement

November 19, 2013|By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun

Police arrested a man suspected of organizing a dogfighting ring after finding 15 pit bulls, four of them puppies, chained in the basement of his home in the Mosher neighborhood of West Baltimore on Tuesday.

Investigators were met by sights of dogfighting equipment, "dogs chained to the walls" and "lots of blood splattered on carpets and walls" when they executed a search warrant in the 2800 block of W. Lafayette St., officials said at a Tuesday news conference.

The pit bulls were taken to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

It was the second major development in the case in less than a week, officials said. Detectives had uncovered a similar scene Friday in Harlem Park. Eleven dogs were found in the basement and backyard of a home in the 500 block of N. Fulton Ave., including one lying dead on the back porch, police said. Four arrests were made in the bust Friday, two on drug and gun charges and two on dogfighting charges.

The man arrested Tuesday will likely face "a variety of charges," said Baltimore police spokesman Jeremy Silbert. He was not named because official charges have not been filed.

The two busts stemmed from a 2009 drug case in West Baltimore, in which police found a large amount of marijuana and three guns, Lt. Col. Dan Lioi said. Interviews and further investigation led police to suspect dogfighting, and eventually led to the Mosher and Harlem Park arrests.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city health commissioner, said dogfighting is a public health risk as well as animal cruelty, because those who are predisposed to harm animals are also likely to be violent toward humans.

"We're here to promote responsible pet ownership," Barbot said. "Dogs are products of their owners."

The investigation is continuing, and while the man arrested Tuesday is suspected of leading the dogfighting ring, further arrests could follow, Lioi said.



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