ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Ten people have been arrested after authorities in Union County, New Jersey broke up an alleged dog fighting ring over the weekend.
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office said a joint investigation with various agencies, including the SPCA, the FBI’s Newark Division, and state and local police resulted in the Saturday night raid at a home on Magnolia Avenue in Elizabeth.
Authorities said they were tipped off about the operation following a traffic stop of a van in the area.
The prosecutor’s office said a total of 17 dogs were discovered either inside the vehicle or the home. They said several dogs showed obvious signs of injury and most were kept in small, dirty cages.
Authorities also found a treadmill allegedly used to build up the dogs’ endurance levels in preparation for fights; a dog fighting ring stained with blood; various collars, chains, and harnesses; a pellet gun, marijuana, and a stolen ATV, the prosecutor’s office said.
Those arrested following the bust include 19-year-old Shaquille Mars; 20-year-old Leon King; 20-year-old Rahman Johnson; 21-year-old Tamir Norville; 22-year-old George Parker Jr.; 28-year-old Larry Polanco; 32-year-old Shakemah Lytle-Johnson; 36-year-old Algernon Norville; and 64-year-old Nathaniel Thompson, all of Elizabeth, and 21-year-old Rashadik Johnson, of Irvington.
Algernon Norville was charged with second-degree certain persons offense for possession of the pellet gun, third-degree fighting or baiting animals, and marijuana possession. Bail was set at $75,000, the prosecutor’s office said.
The other suspects were charged with third-degree fighting or baiting animals and released on summonses, with the exception of Thomspon, who was held on $20,000 bond.
Following evaluation by veterinarians, the SPCA is expected to place the dogs in rehabilitative care elsewhere in the state.
If convicted on the third-degree fighting or baiting animals charges, the suspects could face up to 5 years in prison.