Animal welfare officials say they interrupted a front-room dogfight inside a Philadelphia row house and went on to arrest more than a dozen people in total at four different sites related to alleged dogfighting.
Two injured dogs involved in the fight were rescued along with two-dozen other dogs found at the properties, according to the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Some were battered, beaten and even bloodied. And the rescued animals include seven puppies possibly being raised to fight, officials said.
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The raids began after officials acted on a tip that a dogfight was happening on the 2600 block of Gerritt Street in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia.
Police arrived on the scene to find a fight in progress. Six dogs were rescued from the location and 14 people were arrested at that location, according to officials.
“This was a fairly large operation,” said George Bengal with the SPCA. “These gentleman have been on our radar for quite sometime for dogfighting.”
Authorities went on to raid three Kensington properties on the 3000 block of Potter Street, 2800 block of Boudinot Street and the 700 block of Clearfield Street.
Investigators also found weapons, marijuana and heroin, and more than $10,000 in cash during the raids, along with dogfighting paraphernalia, according to the SPCA. A type of training treadmill could even be seen being taken out of one of the raided locations.
The raids late Sunday and Monday capped a months-long investigation of a significant dogfighting operation in the city, said SPCA spokeswoman Wendy Marano.
“This to me is ridiculous, you take an animal that should be a family pet and turn it into a fighting animal,” said Bengal. “I don't understand that but it's heartbreaking to see it.”
The 14 men inside the Gerrit Street house each charged with criminal conspiracy and cruelty to animals:
- Henry Beard, 42, from the 3200 block of Magee Street
- Rashawn Coleman, 30, from the 2200 block of Sergeant Street
- Jerome Davis, 41, from the 3600 block of Potter Street
- Paul Escobosa, 19, from the 700 block of North Hilton Street
- Vincent Floyd, 22, from the 3000 block of Mifflin Street
- Theodore Gaines, 23, from the 5900 block of Christian Street
- Jonathan Galarza, 26, from the 4000 block of North Reese Street
- Edward Gonzalez, 28, from the 700 block of East Clearfield Street
- Paul Greenidge, 38, from the 1400 block of Napfle Street
- Jeffrey Harris, 32, from the 1100 block of East Rittenhouse Street
- Marcquel Johnson, 27, from the 900 block of South 59th Street
- Donte Jones, 19, from the 3000 block of Marlow Street
- Daniel Parmegiani, 33, from the 1500 block of South Newkirk Street
- Juan Rosa, 24, from the 3000 block of North Potter Street
The SPCA says it gets about 100 tips a month about suspected dogfights across Pennsylvania.
The fighting dogs won't be up for adoption for at least a year as the suspects go through the court process, SPCA officials said.
The seven young pit bull mixes that were taken from the home on Clearfield are up for adoption. For info visit the PSPCA website.
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