Over 300 dogs have been rescued from the largest dogfighting operation bust in South Carolina. Federal and local law enforcement arrested more than 20 people for animal cruelty and dogfighting.
According to a press release by The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of South Carolina, officers interrupted a scheduled dogfight on Saturday evening and the following morning issued 23 search warrants.
305 dogs were rescued and handed over to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Bark Nation who were onsite to help rescue the dogs from the deplorable conditions. Many were found with open wounds associated with dogfighting and with heavy chains around their necks.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of HSUS, said, “At those sites, our rescue team found one tragic scene after another: nursing mother dogs in wire hutches with no apparent access to water or food, dogs on heavy chains or in filthy pens. A number of dogs appeared to have suffered broken bones which had not healed properly.”
It was clear that these poor dogs were mistreated and neglected. At one location, Kitty recalls, “Some had no apparent access to food, water or any shelter besides flimsy, overturned barrels. Many dogs’ bodies were scarred, and their body language—cowering, hunched shoulders, lowered heads and fearful, timid eyes—hinted at the treatment they had endured.”
Even after suffering at the hands of humans, many still wagged their tails as the rescue team approached.
They are finally getting the care and love they deserve at undisclosed locations thanks to HSUS, Bark Nation, and RedRover. Kitty Block wrote, “As distressing as it is to see the horror these dogs have endured, I find some peace in knowing they won’t have to suffer another day in these terrible situations.”
BarkNation shared that the rescued dogs are learning how to be dogs. “They’re undergoing medical treatments, refeeding schedules, and lots of decompression time. 10 of them are positive for Babesia, and 4 of them are positive for Heartworm disease. Many are emaciated, dehydrated, have open wounds, and bear scars of their past lives. But, in typical dogfighting survivor fashion, they all have so much love to give and our team is already head over heels for each and every one of them.”
Dogfighting is illegal and a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
“To force dogs to fight, often to the death, for the enjoyment of others is not only a federal crime, it is also cruel, sadistic, and can create a haven for other illicit activities involving drugs and firearms,” stated U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This joint operation, which has been months in the making, makes clear that dogfighting operations will find no refuge here in South Carolina. I especially want to thank our state and federal partners, the Governor’s Office, and our community partners for their leadership and work on this issue.”