The Humane Society of the United States is assisting the Gaston County Police Department and their Animal Care and Enforcement Unit in rescuing 14 dogs from an alleged dogfighting and cruelty situation in Gaston County, North Carolina. A representative from the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office was also on-scene.

Local authorities served a search and seizure warrant on a residential property at approximately 6:30 a.m. The dogs were found living in makeshift, hazardous enclosures throughout the property, some with visible scarring consistent with injuries typically seen in dogfighting operations. Veterinarians noted dental issues, skin conditions, missing hair and puncture wounds on some of the dogs. Dogfighting paraphernalia was found throughout the property.

“It’s always haunting … seeing what the dogs have had to endure and thinking about how they’ve suffered,” said Jessica Johnson, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States’ animal rescue team. “We are grateful to the Gaston County Police Department for intervening on behalf of these dogs. No animal deserves to suffer the way these dogs have, but this is the last day they will have to live like this.”

“The Gaston County police are grateful for the assistance and partnership with the HSUS in our ongoing commitment to ending this type of animal cruelty,” said Captain Kyle Yancey.

The Gaston County Police Department requested the assistance of the HSUS after concerns about the welfare of animals on the property were raised. The Humane Society of the United States is transporting the rescued animals to an undisclosed location where they will continue to receive veterinary exams and much-needed treatment.   

Dogfighting is currently a Class H felony in North Carolina, but more tools are needed to crack down on this violent criminal industry. In addition to the brutality inflicted on dogs forced to fight, dogfighting has been found to co-occur with other crimes related to weapons and human trafficking; some dogfighting operations have been tied to gang activity and drug cartels.

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