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ASPCA, Human Society rescue 367 dogs in multistate dogfighting ring

  |   Aug. 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Hundreds of dogs in three states were rescued in what is believed to be the second-largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history, an animal rights group said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society of the United States aided in seizing 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia Friday at the request of the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI, the ASPCA said Monday in a release.

Thirteen search warrants were executed throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas after a three-year investigation, GulfLive.com reported. Ten suspects were arrested and indicted on felony dogfighting charges.

Federal and local officials also seized firearms, drugs and more than $500,000 in cash from dogfighting gambling activities, officials said.

"These defendants were betting between $5,000 and $200,000 on one dog fight," U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. said. "The number of dogs seized and the amount of money involved this in case shows how extensive this underworld of dogfighting is."

Remains of dead animals were discovered on some properties, GulfLive.com said.

"Today [Friday] we ended the torture of hundreds of abused and neglected dogs," said Matt Bershadker, president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA. "Never again will these dogs be forced to fight, live in squalor, or be neglected and deprived of the bare necessities."

In July 2009, another multistate dogfighting raid -- the largest crackdown on dogfighting in U.S. history -- resulted in more than 500 dogs rescued.

In the latest raid, the ASPCA said the dogs -- ranging in age from just a few days to 12 years old -- had been left in extreme heat with no visible fresh water or food. Many were emaciated with scars and wounds consistent with dogfighting, the ASPCA said, and some were tethered to cinder blocks and car tires.

"We are committing to eradicating dogfighting in every dark corner where it festers," said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society's president and chief executive officer. "This series of raids reminds every dogfighter that they are not beyond the law and their day of reckoning will come."

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