2 dozen dogfighting suspects arrested, 64 animals seized

All the dogs will be euthanized because they were bred to fight, an official said.
DAYTON (AP) -- Local, state and federal authorities simultaneously raided seven kennels and a warehouse where they said dogfights were about to be staged, seizing 64 dogs and arresting two dozen suspects after a yearlong investigation.
All of the dogs seized Saturday night in southwest Ohio will be euthanized because they were bred to fight, even if they appear friendly to people, said John Goodwin, deputy manager of animal fighting issues of Humane Society of the United States. He called it one of the largest dogfighting investigations in Ohio history.
"It's heartbreaking. You have a female pit bull and she's wagging her tail and licking your hand but she's missing part of her lower jaw because it's been torn off in a fight," Goodwin said Sunday. "It was completely healed over. This is a brutal and very cruel activity."
The raided kennels are in Dayton, Cincinnati and Trotwood. Some have been prominently mentioned in underground dogfighting magazines, Goodwin said.
Authorities said they also seized drugs, guns and money. A mix of federal and state charges were to be announced Tuesday, said Goodwin and Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Columbus.
Federal, state agencies
Twenty-two law enforcement agencies participated, led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's office of inspector general and the Ohio attorney general's office.
Fighting dogs were in crates but not yet taken to a fighting ring at the warehouse in an industrial section of Dayton when the raid began, said Goodwin, who helped triage the dogs after arrests were made. The dogs will be put to death after they're no longer needed as evidence in the case.
More dogs are involved in the organization, and authorities are seeking more kennels, Alverson said.
In January, the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center said it had to euthanize about a dozen aggressive pit bulls out of 72 dogs seized by Dayton police in dogfighting raids from July to October. The dogs were being held as evidence against five men facing felony charges, and those killed were attacking shelter workers.
Alverson said he did not immediately know if last year's raids were related to the latest investigation.
A bill before Congress would raise federal dogfighting charges to a felony from a misdemeanor. Dogfighting is a felony in Ohio and 47 other states.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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