Many investigations start with a tip.
The rescue of six injured pit bulls used in a possible dogfighting ring was no exception, and the ongoing investigation could very possibly save the lives of those rescued dogs, an investigator said.
Chuck Simmons, a private investigator who works pro bono for the Humane Society of the United States, said he generally will check out a complaint and then try and build a case and turn it over to authorities to prosecute.
But Tuesday’s visit to Rome was different.
“I got a tip on the place, but there were dogs dying,” he said.
Since it was implemented in February, a tip line has been effective and resulted in around 10 to 15 arrests for animal cruelty since May, said Simmons.
He said Tuesday’s seizure is the 10th raid or seizure in the Northwest Georgia area since early May.
“This is the first action in Floyd County though,” Simmons said. He is continuing to investigate a number of cases in the Northwest Georgia area.
Simmons is employed by Greg Norred of Norred and Associates, a security firm based in Atlanta, which has agreed to help the Humane Society cover the vet bill.
“We want to stop this in the Floyd County area,” said Simmons. “These guys are thugs — they do it for money under the table and are often involved in other criminal activities.”
Floyd County police and animal control officers arrived at the scene Tuesday near a wooded lot on Jones Road and confiscated the injured animals.
Detectives are still investigating the case, and no arrests had been made by Wednesday afternoon. Sgt. Dan Bickers of the Floyd County Police Department said those responsible could face felony charges.
Floyd County Animal Control Director Jason Broome said right now the priority is to get the dogs seen by the vet because infection could be a problem in a number of the injuries.
At this point, animal control will hold the dogs until all possible charges are disposed of in court because they are considered evidence. The dogs will also receive medical treatment.
In the meantime they will try to determine whether the dogs can be socialized and later adopted out to families.
“But in any case these dogs are not going back to the owners,” said Broome.
Of the six dogs rescued two were in bad shape, one with a badly damaged face and the other with serious eye damage.
Anyone who with evidence of dogfighting or animal cruelty can leave a tip at 877-327-6911.