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Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011County: Mahoning
Case Images: 1 files available
Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Mahoning County humane officers are investigating a possible dog fighting ring on the South Side of Youngstown.
Three dogs have been removed from a house at 159 W. Myrtle, and officers are trying to find the others. The three removed are a beagle, a pit-bull mix and a cane corso, and are all on the timid side.
Humane Officer Dave Nelson says he saw dog carcasses in one corner of the attic and other indicators that illegal dog fighting had been taking place there.
He, police, and fire fighters also rescued a beagle. "We'll say 'survivor' because that poor little thing was locked in a closet, probably used as a bait dog," Nelson said.
Officers said they received a call on Wednesday from a concerned citizen about a dog on a roof. When they came to the house, they found five dogs on the outside, including one barking on the roof that had numerous bite wounds on its face. Officers think the dog ate its way out of the house and onto the roof.
"When we got here yesterday, we observed a cane corso, what we call a fighting dog with the cropped ears, on the rear porch up there," said Dave Nelson of the Mahoning County Dog Pound.
When officers went inside the home, they found four more dogs running around. Rooms were also blocked off, an indicator of a dog fighting ring.
"We found the one room, the way that the room is laid out from there, it would be nice and easy for people to get in there and observe this dog fighting," Nelson said.
The Mahoning County Dog Warden Department was only able to remove three dogs on Wednesday because of the unstable condition of the house and the fact it was dark.
"The floor up there is so bad the chances of falling through are really, really good. That's why I tried every way to get them out of there," Nelson said.
On Thursday, they went back to get the other two pit bulls, but did not find them.
It's possible someone came in overnight and took them.
"I know the way that we propped the door with YPD last night, and the door was moved from there. The food is gone and the dish that had the water up there is gone as well," Nelson said.
Nelson said the next course of action is stopping by other houses to see if they can find the other two large pit bulls.
"We do have a description of the dogs. We know exactly what they look like. We'll see if they're on other properties today," Nelson said.
"Generally, it's a 15-year-old to 20-year-old male. They can't have them at home, they bring them, tie them up in these kind of houses, and fight them and make a couple hundred dollars," he said. "It would be a felony 4, illegal dog fighting. And anybody that would see it or walk into the house, would also, could be charged."
In the meantime, the three dogs are safe at the Mahoning County Dog Pound, getting used to their new environment.
"The dogs are doing pretty good. They're getting some food and water and they have shelter and are in a secure environment, so they're doing pretty good," said Mahoning County Dog Warden Matt Ditchey.
"It's not necessarily that these dogs were the ones that were wanted to fight. Sometimes they are used as bait and are kind of the victims. It's very cruel," he said.
Nelson says they have the names of two possible suspects who they want for questioning.
|There is a happy ending for three dogs authorities said were used in dogfighting and found in an abandoned South Side home this week, but the search for two other missing dogs continues.|
Dave Nelson, deputy Mahoning County dog warden, and Youngstown police were alerted to a vacant and abandoned West Myrtle Avenue home earlier this week when a resident called police about a large cane corso dog on the roof of the house. Police discovered at least four other dogs in various parts of the vacant home.
Nelson said barriers inside the house were situated in a way that suggested dogfighting had been taking place inside. The dogs left inside the house were starving and left to fend for themselves.
Nelson said the owner of the cane corso called his office Friday to claim the dog. The man said the dog, in which he had invested more than $2,000, had been stolen from his home.
Nelson said the owner filed the necessary paperwork and took the dog home. He said the dog clearly was happy to see his owner.
Nelson has received similar calls for the beagle and American bulldog taken from the house. He said the claims seem to be legitimate, and he expects those animals to be claimed in the near future once the people show proper proof of ownership.
Nelson said dog theft is more prevalent in the area than most people realize.
"You always want to watch your dogs," Nelson said. "You have hoarders who take dogs because of a mental illness. You have dogfighters who taken them as bait dogs and those who take them for ransom or to breed them. We are happy that someone came in and claimed these dogs. That is a happy ending."
The end is uncertain still for two other dogs left in the house after they were discovered because the dwelling was too unsteady to safely retrieve them.
Nelson said officials returned Thursday to retrieve them, but the animals, along with all the food and water dishes left for them, were gone.
Officials will continue searching for those two dogs today.
"We think these guys may have taken the dogs and dumped them somewhere else because they knew we were serving search warrants in that area, but we will still be going out looking," Nelson said.
|Source: vindy.com - Dec 24, 2011|
Update posted on Dec 24, 2011 - 8:33AM
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