A man is in custody after a dog fighting bust in the Lawndale section of the city.
Pennsylvania SPCA officers arrived at a home on the 300 block of Van Kirk Street on Saturday to investigate a suspected dog fighting operation.
“We’ve had this place on our radar for quite some time,” said George Bengal, Director of Law Enforcement for the SPCA. “Today we obtained enough probable cause to get a search warrant and make entry into the property.”
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When officers arrived they say they found five dogs living in “unsanitary conditions.” Bengal also says some of the dogs were emaciated. They also found a fighting ring, treadmills and dog fighting paraphernalia, according to investigators.
Bengal says the owner of the property had been busted for dog fighting in the past.
“This was his second offense,” said Bengal. “He’s looking at felony charges if he’s convicted. He could possibly wind up doing jail time for this.”
Ralph Pratt, the suspect’s neighbor, says the dog-fighting operation had been going on for two years, normally in the early morning hours, waking up residents who lived nearby.
“Every neighbor within 100 feet would be hollering out their windows,” said Pratt. “I would come out at night and other neighbors would come out and see each other and just throw our hands up in the air. We felt so bad for the animals.”
Pratt claims officials took the dogs from the suspect a year ago but that he used new dogs shortly after.
“Three months later, because they did not destroy the kennel he has them in, he just repopulated,” said Pratt. “In West Philadelphia, where he lived before, he was kicked out of the neighborhood for the same thing. Then he came up here and set up. This is a habitual dog trainer and breeder for the dog fights.”
Investigators have not yet revealed the suspect’s identity but the home where the alleged operation took place belongs to Antoine Talley, 36. Talley was charged with cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy back in 2000, according to court records.