CMPD: 27 pit bulls seized in dog-fighting operation
Feb 09, 2013 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested two men after seizing 27 pit bulls in what authorities are calling one of the largest dog-fighting operations they've ever investigated.
Melvin Smith, 46; and Lefonze Williams, 42; were each charged with felony training of animals with the purpose of dog fighting and baiting. They were being held early Saturday in the Mecklenburg County jail.
The seized dogs are considered evidence in the case, but they will be observed and officials will work to have them adopted or sent for rehab, said Capt. Chris Dozier of Animal Care and Control. He said while some dogs had scaring, the animals were fairly healthy.
The fighting operation was discovered after police said they received a call Friday morning about several pit bulls in the backyard of a residence in the 7800 block of Carelock Circle in east Mecklenburg.
Officers responding to the scene heard dogs barking from behind a large privacy fence on the property, and then saw several pit bulls chained to spikes that were driven to the ground, according to a news release.
Animal Care and Control was called to the scene and its officers found evidence "consistent with training dogs for the purposes of fighting," according to the CMPD release. Aerial footage also showed more evidence of a fighting operation, police said.
Officers said they set up a perimeter around the residence while they obtained a search warrant and waited for the people who lived there to return.
After getting the warrant, officers found the 27 dogs, a dog fighting arena and other evidence such as tethers, supplements and antibiotics for the animals, said Hickory Grove division Lt. J.D. Thomas.
In addition to the dogs seized, at least two puppies were found dead on the property, Dozier said. He said the dogs were less than a few weeks old.
Friday's discovery came about two weeks after police found 15 pit bulls, including one that was dead, and evidence of a dog-fighting operation at a home on Grier Avenue in northwest Charlotte. Two men were arrested in that case.
On Saturday, Dozier said that at this point, there is nothing to suggest the Grier Avenue and Carelock Circle cases are connected.
Stay tuned for more on this story.
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