Approximately 60 dogs were rescued from a Cottonwood, Alabama, property after local authorities determined that the animals were in urgent need of care. The Humane Society of the United States was called in to assist with an investigation into the suspected hog-dog breeding operation, but the dogs were found to be so emaciated that their immediate rescue was required. The Cottonwood Police Department served a search warrant on the property and discovered mostly dogo argentino dogs, two French bull dogs and one German shepherd. Authorities also uncovered illegal drugs and firearms on the property. Animal cruelty and felony drug-related charges are pending. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are possible.

The dogs range in age from 4 months to teens, and are suffering from various health conditions such as skin infections and malnutrition. The dogo argentino breed can be associated with the underground activity of hog-dog fighting, where packs of dogs are pitted against large hogs while spectators place wagers.

“These dogs are lucky that the authorities responded quickly to this situation,” said Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for the HSUS. “With the recent cold temperatures and the dogs’ poor condition, they needed immediate attention. We are glad to have been called in to assist in this case, and we will continue to be part of the investigation and prosecution process.”

“The cruelty these dogs were shown is painful to see, and we couldn’t stand by and allow them suffer,” said Colonel Jim Smith, public safety director for the town of Cottonwood. “We are thankful that The Humane Society of the United States was able to assist on this case, and especially glad to see these dogs off to better lives.”

The HSUS assisted law enforcement in identifying and documenting evidence, as well as coordinating the rescue effort. Veterinarians were on scene to evaluate the dogs and provide any immediate medical attention needed. PetSmart Charities provided necessary supplies and enrichment items for this case.

The HSUS removed the dogs from the property pending final disposition of this case. The dogs will be held at a temporary shelter where they will receive veterinary care and enrichment. It is the HSUS’ policy that dogs seized from animal fighting operations be treated as individuals and evaluated for potential placement with HSUS Dogfighting Rescue Coalition placement partners.

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