Giant Dog Fighting Ring Busted in Philadelphia
The largest dogfighting ring in Pennsylvania history was broken up by officers from the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last week. Dramatically, the officers busted in on the dogfighting group while an actual dogfight was in progress. One of the pit bulls involved, Spartacus, was rescued and is now recovering in a local shelter.
Philadelphia police arrested 14 individuals at four different sites, confiscated drugs, weapons and more than $10,000 in cash. In addition, more than 30 dogs were rescued, including a series of puppies that were likely being raised to fight.
“The Police and the SPCA actually saw people watching the dogfight, and they saw the dogfight in progress,” Aime Berman, the medical director of the Pennsylvania SPCA says. “This never happens. Generally we find evidence afterwards — we find evidence of the training and the treatment and, unfortunately, the abuse that the animals suffer. But to actually find a fight in progress was pretty amazing. The evidence is overwhelming.”
Since Philadelphia has fairly stringent dogfighting laws on the books, even spectators rounded up in the sweep are likely to face felony charges.
As for the dogs, some of them are being held as evidence in the case, while others are being rehabilitated for hopeful transfers to a new home.
“It just breaks my heart,” Barbara Paul, an assistant Philadelphia district attorney says. “I go home and hug my cats. I feel so strongly that people need to be punished for this. It’s so clear to me in these cases that the people who do this are just really malevolent.”