Seven dogs covered in fleas, scars, and kept in deplorable conditions were rescued from suspected dogfighting operation in Gaston County, North Carolina, on Wednesday.
The dogs, which ranged in age from puppy to adult, were forced to wear heavy chains and kept outdoors with only a barrel or dilapidated wooden shacks for shelter.
Gaston County Police Department was alerted to the possible dogfighting operation by concerned residents. They arrived this week with a search warrant and seized all the dogs from the 1.5-acre property.
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With the help of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the dogs were taken to an undisclosed location to receive medical care. Rescuers noted that even though the dogs were kept in horrible conditions they all wagged their tails and were eager for attention.
A video shared by HSUS, showed some of the dogs barking as they wagged their tails as if they were saying, “Get me out of here.” All the dogs were underweight and had scars on their face and front legs, consistent with injuries seen in dogfighting cases.
“It is gut-wrenching to imagine the violence and pain these dogs have been forced to endure,” said Gail Thomssen, North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are thankful to the Gaston County Police Department for getting these dogs desperately needed help. Thanks to everyone involved, today is the last day that these dogs will have to live like this.”
Captain Billy Downey of the Gaston County Police Department is making sure this case is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “Members of various units within the Gaston County Police have worked together to thoroughly investigate this situation and arrest the organizer of this alleged dogfighting ring. This is an active and on-going investigation we will continue to pursue.”
Rico Pagan, 49, was taken into custody and charged with three counts of felony dogfighting and twelve counts of felony animal cruelty. He is currently in jail awaiting his first court appearance.
Look at the difference a day surrounded by love makes for the rescued dogs in the video below. The shy and timid dogs are smiling and relaxed for possibly the first time in their life. All the dogs will be put up for adoption, including 4-month-old Captain Rollins, after they have been examined and go through the court process.
Follow HSUS on Facebook for more updates on the rescued dogs.
Dogfighting is illegal and a felony offense in all 50 states. If you suspect or see anything suspicious be sure to report it to local authorities. We need to be the voice for the voiceless and put an end to dogfighting.
Sign the petition below and tell YouTube to remove all videos containing dogfighting.
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