Thursday, February 19, 2009
Eleven pit bulls and two rottweilers are now in care of the Tri-county animal shelter in North Carolina.
Some of the dogs have wounds and scars all over their bodies. One has a broken leg - all of them underfed.
The Gates County Sheriff says it's all part of an illegal dogfighting ring. Tonight, sheriff deputies are still looking for Jackie Parker, the man they believe is responsible.
Sheriff Edward Webb says one of his officers went to this home on Kellogs Fork Road and first noticed a rottweiler chained up on the side of the home with a noticeable broken leg. The officer then went to the back of the home and found 12 other dogs in chains.
"It has the barrels and the chains tied around to the different trees and around in the lot they would have to keep the dogs separated, but they had them spread out throughout the lot", says Webb.
Deputies say the dogs all belong to Jackie Parker, who lives in this home. Webb says the home was loaded with things like steriods and syringes. Police believe Parker was using it to run a large scale dog fighting operation. They even found a book listing some of the dogs fights and other dog fighting tools including a home-made treadmill.
"What we have here... this is what's left of an old deer leg... deer foot and what they would do is hook up the dogs and slide this back and forth, and the dog of course is hungry so of course he's going to run."
Sheriff Webb also says he believes all of the dogs were tortured and taught to fight.
Now, all thirteen dogs are fighting to stay alive at the Tri-county animal shelter. Animal control Officer Lacey Wilkins says most have scratches and cuts all over their bodies. One dog was so malnourished that it doesn't have enough skin on his back.
"These red marks... are actually from his hip bones protruding out of his back," Wilkins says."They were living off peanut butter mixed with dog food. Peanut butter is not enough to sustain a dog."
Wilkins says the dogs are just happy now to have a roof over their head and access to clean water and food.
Sheriff Webb says Jackie Parker told him he will turn himself in Thursday morning. Parker is facing 17 charges which include animal cruelty and dog fighting charges.
So what's next for the dogs that survived this abuse? The Sheriff's Office says they will probably stay at the shelter for the next six to eight months, even though the shelter is at capacity.
Animal control says it's up to veterinarians to decide if these dogs can be saved or if they are too vicious and will have to be put down.
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