NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three people have been arrested and 36 pit bulls have been rescued in a takedown of a major dogfighting ring on Long Island, authorities announced Thursday.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the alleged ring was operating at locations in Wyandanch and elsewhere in Suffolk County since at least March.
“We will not rest until this unspeakably cruel sport is ended forever in New York,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “No animal should be treated like this, no dog should be treated like this.”
Thirty-four-year-old Richard Davis, 26-year-old Taikeem Wheeler and 49-year-old Martin Newkirk were arrested Wednesday, authorities said. They each face multiple charges including prohibition of animal fighting, conspiracy and other animal cruelty crimes.
Authorities said the suspects each operated a so-called kennel that was actually a staging ground for the dogfighting ring.
“These were not real kennels. They were prisons of torture for countless dogs,” he said. “The three men are accused of running a sophisticated breeding and training operation for dogfighting.”
As part of the investigation dubbed “Operation Bloodline,” search warrants were executed at two Wyandanch locations in September and earlier this month.
Schneiderman said investigators found dogs that ranged in age from 1-week-old puppies to 7 years.
“The heavy chains that they were retrained with, for puppies as young as a few weeks old, these dogs were treated in a manner that was designed to make them angry, designed to make them fighters, to make them anti-social and to make money off of their suffering,” he said.
The dogs were isolated with no visible food or drinkable water and had injuries consistent with earlier fights, Schneiderman said, adding that many never received proper medical care. One dog, authorities said, had an untreated broken front leg.
“We did find some first aid kits, but they were filthy, often covered with blood and feces,” he said. “This truly was a chamber of horror for these dogs.”
Two of the dogs had to be euthanized because they had been attacked by their mother. The ASPCA determined that a third dog, that authorities said had been “abused and tortured,” also had to be put down because she had become a threat to people.
The rest of the dogs are being held by the ASPCA in hopes that they can be retrained and adopted.