Our animal fighting experts had been working hard to assist the Pamlico County Sheriff’s office with a suspected dogfighting investigation, after officials alerted The HSUS to information that matched up with our database of alleged participants in this bloody pastime. Law enforcement had not prosecuted many animal fighting cases before in this rural southeastern area of North Carolina.
Yesterday, the sheriff’s office raided the property near New Bern, N.C., and found suspected dogfighting equipment as well as 17 pit bulls, many of them bearing scars and tethered to heavy chains outside.
Michelle Riley/The HSUS
One of the dogs, happy to be rescued.
Staff from The HSUS and the pit bull rescue group Hello Bully were on the scene to safely remove the dogs and transport them to our emergency shelter, where we’ll care for them and provide toys, socialization, and other enrichment.
But just as these dogs were getting settled in their temporary home, finally free from their chains, a tip came in about another dogfighting ring two counties away. The information came to light as a result of the first raid, and the Jones County Sheriff’s Office called on The HSUS for urgent assistance.
Making sure that the first 17 dogs were cared for, our Animal Rescue Team sprang into action and drove to the second location in Pollocksville. There, we found dozens more dogs suffering from serious wounds and infections. There were animals missing parts of their ears and lips, and one German shepherd with severely infected ears covered in flies. We worked with law enforcement late into the evening to remove these dogs, carrying them one by one across a narrow plank bridge over a ravine on the property.
Now, all 50 dogs are safe from this miserable treatment, including puppies from the second operation. Not only did the first investigation and raid help uncover a second operation, but local law enforcement agencies have expressed their desire to prosecute other cases like these, after seeing the conditions these dogs were in and knowing that The HSUS and other groups are ready to help. Multiple charges have been filed in the two cases.
As Chris Davis, the deputy sheriff in Pamlico County, said: “Dogfighting and this type of cruelty to animals will not be tolerated in Pamlico County. We are thankful for all the help from The Humane Society of the United States; their dedication and expertise were invaluable in this case.”
The HSUS will continue to be relentless in its battle against dogfighting, fighting it on every front and with all the tools at our disposal. And we will continue to work with our shelter partners and pit bull rescue groups to redeem the breed and find loving homes for rescued dogs.
P.S. As an update on another case I mentioned recently on the blog, 20 dogs we helped rescue from an alleged fighting operation in Indiana are doing well at our emergency shelter with plenty of individual attention and enrichment from The HSUS and Casa Del Toro Pit Bull Education and Rescue. If you’d like to support our End Dogfighting program that helps prevent young people from getting involved with urban dogfighting, you can learn more here or donate your vehicle.