The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals assisted in the rescue of 367 pit bull terriers in three states on Friday August 23. At the request of the United States Attorney's Office the ASPCA seized the 367 dogs from illegal dog fighting rings in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. After three-years of investigating police issued 13 search warrants for properties in the three states. The US Attorney arrested 12 people in connection with the dog fighting case. Police and federal agents also seized a large number of weapons and drugs at each location.
A US Attorney, George L. Beck Jr. told the media he would come down hard on those who run dog fighting rings. Beck had some harsh words for the people arrested in this case saying there should be a special place in hell for them. "I believe if Dante were alive today and were rewriting "The Inferno" that the lowest places in hell would be reserved for those who commit cruelty to our animals and to our children." "The Inferno" is a reference to the epic poem "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri.
Reports say those arrested at the scenes of the dog fighting will be arraigned on Wednesday. The defendants plan to plead not guilty. Those arrested are charged with "conspiring to promote and sponsor dog fights and arranging for dogs to be at the fights in several south and East Alabama counties...between 2009 and 2013." An additional charge includes operating an illegal gambling business. The dogs found at the raided sites were in serious condition. Besides wounds sustained in fights the dogs were covered in fleas and were malnourished to the point where their bones were showing.
"We are committing to eradicating dogfighting in every dark corner where it festers," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "This series of raids reminds every dogfighter that they are not beyond the law and their day of reckoning will come." ""Today we ended the torture of hundreds of abused and neglected dogs," said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. "Never again will these dogs be forced to fight, live in squalor, or be neglected and deprived of the bare necessities."
The 367 pit bulls are currently being cared for by the ASPCA and the HSUS in undisclosed locations. Tim Rickey, the ASPCA Vice President told CBS, "The dogs are finally getting a loving hand from people who care for them." District attorney Beck is looking to hit the defendants with a "lengthy prison term" if they are found guilty.
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